The regions studied are all of mid continental shelf depth (70–145 m) and have bottom waters of normal marine salinity. The North Sea has lower bottom water temperatures than those to the west of Scotland. However, the major difference between the two regions is one of tidal and/or wave energy: the northern North Sea is a low energy environment of muddy sand deposition whereas the sampled part of the continental shelf west and north of Scotland is a moderate to high energy environment of medium to coarse biogenic carbonate sedimentation.
The physical differences between the two main areas are reflected in the living and dead foraminiferal assemblages. The northern North Sea is a region of free-living species whereas the continental shelf west of Scotland has immobile and mobile attached species living on firm substrates. The northern North Sea is very fertile and has high standing crop values.
The dead assemblages are small in size and very abundant. To the west of Scotland the sea is less fertile, standing crop values are low, the dead assemblages are moderate to large in size and reasonably abundant due to the slow rate of dilution by sediment.
- © 1985 The Micropalaeontological Society