ABSTRACT: The upper Albian exposed near the Imbrication Zone of northern Tunisia is composed of a pelagic sequence that includes organic-rich beds. High-resolution biostratigraphy based on planktic foraminiferal bioevents across marker beds (i.e., organic-rich beds), allows revision of the lithostratigraphic subdivision and zonal scheme in comparison with late Albian time equivalents recorded in the northern Tethyan margins. In the present study, we proposed a new subdivision of the upper Albian lithostratigraphic section that now includes the Mellegue horizon as an equivalent of theAmadeus Segment rhythmic marl/limestone interval (central Italy). Three studied sections are subdivided into five biozones with the abundance and morphological trends of planktic foraminifera and inferred paleoenvironments: 1) The Biticinella breggiensis Total Range Zone is characterized by the appearance of ticinellids with pinched chambers (i,e., Ticinella praeticinensis) and is recorded a few meters above the first occurrence of Biticinella breggiensis. Agradual increase of trochospiral thick-walled (B. breggiensis, T. roberti, T. raynaudi) and Globigerinelloides taxa, reflecting mesotrophic conditions. 2) The Pseudothalmanninella subticinensis Interval Zone includes the first appearance of keeled forms (Ps.subticinensis), associated with abundant ticinellids with flattened chambers (B.breggiensis, T. roberti) below the base of the organic-rich Mellegue horizon, indicating an oligotrophic environment. 3) The Pseudothalmanninella ticinensis Interval Zone. The continuous occurrence of T. primula and the scarcity of Globigerinelloides throughout the lower part of this zone indicates an oligotrophic to weakly mesotrophic environment. The occurrences of radiolarian-rich horizons and abundant forms with elongated chambers (T. raynaudi) in the lower part of this zone indicate an abrupt shift to enhanced eutrophic and dysaerobic conditions. 4) The Thalmanninella appenninica Zone, which shows a decrease in abundance preceding the extinction of ticinellids, and a gradually increasing number of specialized keeled forms (i.e., Th. appenninica), indicates oligotrophic conditions. 5) The Planomalina buxtorfi Total Range Zone is characterized in its lower part by an increasing abundance of clavate forms with radially elongated chambers (i.e., Clavihedbergella) above the organic-rich bed of the Mouelha Member, indicating low-oxygen, oligotrophic to mesotrophic conditions.
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