"The eye of Sauron" and other microorganisms

Foraminifera and closely related gromiids dominate meiobenthos communities in polar regions. While foraminifera with hard shells are relatively well known, softly-shelled ones, just like gromiids, have been largely ignored. Incorrectly, because as evidenced by environmental DNA research, they have great potential as bioindicators for environmental and paleoenvironmental studies. This potential remains largely unexploited due to insufficient understanding of taxonomy and distribution of these microorganisms.

Thanks to field work led by Prof. Wojciech Majewski, during the NCN project “Response to environmental changes and post-industrial recovery of foraminiferafrom South Georgia fjords, sub-Antarctic”, it was possible to describe three new to science genera and four species of monothalamous foraminifera, as well as six species of the genus Gromia found in the fjords of South Georgia and off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

The “Eye of Sauron” - unusual foraminifer of the genus Vanhoeffenella. Photo by Jan Pawlowski

PUBLICATIONS: Gooday A.J., Holzmann M., Majewski W. & Pawlowski J. 2022. New species of Gromia (Protista, Rhizaria) from South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Polar Biology 45: 647–666.
Holzmann M., Gooday A.J., Majewski W. & Pawlowski J. 2022. Molecular and morphological diversity of monothalamous foraminifera from South Georgia and the Falkland Islands: Description of four new species. European Journal of Protistology 85: 125909.