Advances in Earth Science ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (12): 1247-1257. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2021.118

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Methods and Applications for Identifying Living Benthic Foraminifera

Han ZHANG 1 , 2 , 3( ), Bochao XU 1 , 2( ), Xiaoyi GUO 1 , 2 , 3, Xiaojie ZHANG 1 , 2 , 3, Zhigang YU 1 , 2   

  1. 1.Frontiers Science Center for Deep Ocean Multispheres and Earth System,Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology,Ministry of Education,Ocean University of China,Qingdao 266100,China
    2.Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental Science,Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology,Qingdao 266071,China
    3.College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,Ocean University of China,Qingdao 266100,China
  • Received:2021-08-09 Revised:2021-11-22 Online:2021-12-10 Published:2022-01-20
  • Contact: Bochao XU;
  • About author:ZHANG Han (1998-), female, Taian County, Shandong Province, Ph.D student. Research area include micropalaeontology. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China "Using multi-isotopes to study the contribution of Submarine Groundwater Discharge to hypoxia formation off the Yangtze River Estuary"(41876075);The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Independent Research Project for Graduate Students of Ocean University of China "Using benthic foraminiferal Mn/Ca ratio as a proxy for coastal seasonal hypoxia in the Changjiang Estuary"(201961012)

Han ZHANG, Bochao XU, Xiaoyi GUO, Xiaojie ZHANG, Zhigang YU. Methods and Applications for Identifying Living Benthic Foraminifera[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2021, 36(12): 1247-1257.

Living benthic foraminifera have significant values in many research fields, such as indication of environmental factors of benthic ecosystem. In the study of benthic foraminifera, one of the most controversial issues is how to identify living ones accurately and quickly. Researchers have developed a variety of methods for identifying living foraminifera. Here, we summarized the advantages and disadvantages and cautions during their applications. Rose Bengal is relatively quick and inexpensive, becoming the most commonly used method for identifying living foraminifera. Sudan black B and MTT are more accurate than Rose Bengal, but their operation is slightly complicated and often overlooked as a method to distinguish foraminifera. Fluorogenic probes are not harmful to foraminiferal living activities and have higher accuracy, but complicated and expensive. They are often recommended for studies of foraminifera under hypoxic/anoxic conditions. Adenosine Triphosphate Assay and Ultrastructural Studies have high accuracy, but the operation is complicated and the equipment requirements are high. Adenosine Triphosphate Assay is widely used in estimating numerical density of living foraminifera and calculation of foraminifera biomass, and also recommended for the study of foraminifera under hypoxic/anoxic conditions. Ultrastructural Studies can analyze the adaptability of foraminifera to specific environmental conditions such as hypoxia and heavy metal pollution. Researchers should choose one or more appropriate methods according to research objectives, research costs and other conditions to obtain more reliable research results.

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