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      Application of foraminifers in ecotoxicology: retrospect, perspect and prospect.

      1 , ,
      Environment international
      Elsevier BV

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          In view of the extensive use of foraminifers for the pollution monitoring especially their unmatched utility in deciphering the temporal variation in the type and concentration of pollutants at a given location, the literature dealing with the application of foraminifers for pollution studies has been reviewed. The pollution monitoring through foraminifers started with attribution of peculiar foraminiferal features at any location to the circumstantial presence of pollutants at that site. These peculiar features of the foraminifers in polluted areas included, variation in the abundance of total, calcareous and agglutinated foraminifers, species diversity, abnormal tests, etc. The abnormalities of tests included stunted growth, abraded margins, dissolved ornamentations, etc. Initially, much attention was paid to the effects of sewage pollution on the foraminifers but later on all kinds of human induced as well as natural pollutants came under the preview of foraminiferologists working on pollution aspects. The advantage of application of foraminifers, over other chemical and biological techniques, for pollution monitoring lies in their potentiality to decipher temporal variation in type and concentration of pollutants at any site even in the absence of pre-pollution studies, based on the recovery of foraminifers from the sediment core samples. Realizing the potential application of characteristic foraminiferal features from the polluted areas to decipher the variation in introduction and concentration of pollutants at any given location with time, efforts were made to characterize the specific types of foraminiferal features to the specific pollutants. It was at this point that the need of culture studies was widely felt which resulted in numerous lab and field culture studies where foraminifers were subjected to specific pollutants in order to document their response to these pollutants and to develop effective foraminiferal proxies for pollution monitoring through time. Such studies are still going on and it is felt that culture studies need to be supplemented with advanced crystallographic and molecular studies in order to find the mechanism through which foraminifers respond to the pollutants.

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          Environ Int
          Environment international
          Elsevier BV
          Feb 2006
          : 32
          : 2
          [1 ] Micropaleontology Laboratory, Geological Oceanography Division, National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula-403 004, Goa, India. nigam@darya.nio.org


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