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Ostracodes, calcareous bivalve microcrustaceans, are the only metazoan organisms commonly preserved as microfossils in deep-sea sediments in sufficient quantities for detailed paleoceanographic studies. Detailed investigations of modern and recent regional distribution of ostracode species from shelf, slope, bathyal, and abyssal environments indicate that their distribution is strongly influenced by the physico-chemical characteristics of water masses (e.g., temperature, salinity, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, etc.), as well as substrate type and food supply (Benson et al., 1983; Dingle et al., 1989; Dingle and Lord, 1990; Corrège, 1993; Cronin et al., 1994, 1995, 2002; Whatley et al., 1998; Ayress et al., 1997, 2004).

Recent paleoceanographic reconstructions of Arctic and North Atlantic environments during the last glacial–interglacial climatic cycle using ostracode assemblages imply that their taxonomic composition can be a good environmental indicator and provides an effective tool for a broad range of paleoceanographic and paleoenvironmental analyses (e.g., Jones et al., 1998; Cronin et al., 1999; Didié and Bauch, 2000; Yasuhara et al., 2008a). By analyzing and comparing ostracode assemblage changes to modern and recent analogies from different water masses, these researchers were able to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation, bottom temperature, salinity, and oxygen content during the late Quaternary.

In this report I focus on the taxonomic composition of the late Quaternary deep-sea benthic ostracode assemblages found at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1314 in the subpolar North Atlantic and illustrate most of identified species with high-quality scanning electron microscope (SEM) images. This report complements a recently published manuscript by Alvarez Zarikian et al. (2009), which examines the significance of glacial and interglacial variability in the ostracode assemblage composition and provides a paleoceanographic interpretation based on known ecological preferences of the taxa.