An attempt has been made to understand the Pleistocene bottom water history in response to the paleoclimatic changes in the northern Indian Ocean employing quantitative analyses of deep sea benthic foraminifera at the DSDP sites 219 and 238. Among the 150 benthic foraminifera recorded a few species show dominance with changing percent frequencies during most of the sequence. The dominant benthic foraminiferal assemblages suggest that most of the Pleistocene bottom waters at site 219 and Early Pleistocene bottom waters at site 238 are of North Indian Deep Water (NIDW) origin. However, Late Pleistocene assemblage at site 238 appears to be closely associated with a water mass intermediate between North Indian Deep Water (NIDW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW).
Uvigerina proboscidea is the most dominant benthic foraminiferal species present during the Pleistocene at both the sites. A marked increase in the relative abundance ofU. proboscidea along with less diverse and equitable fauna during Early Pleistocene suggests a relative cooling, an intensified oceanic circulation and upwelling of nutrient rich bottom waters resulting in high surface productivity. At the same time, low sediment accumulation rate during Early Pleistocene reveals increased winnowing of the sediments possibly due to more corrosive and cold bottom waters. The Late Pleistocene in general, is marked by relatively warm and stable bottom waters as reflected by low abundance ofU. proboscidea and more diverse and equitable benthic fauna.
The lower depth range for the occurrence ofBulimina aculeate in the Indian Ocean is around 2300 m, similar to that of many other areas.B. aculeata also shows marked increase in its abundance near the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary while a sudden decrease in the relative abundance ofStilostomella lepidula occurs close to the Early/Late Pleistocene boundary.