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Qualitative and quantitative analyses of planktonic foraminiferal assemblages from Deep Sea Drilling Project site 532 shed light on hydrographic changes over the Walvis Ridge during the past 500,000 years. From changes in distribution of foraminiferal assemblages, two major hydrographic regimes (coastal and geostrophic branches of the Benguela Current and the Angola Current) can be distinguished at site 532. It is suggested that the hydrographic situation on the northeastern Walvis Ridge was characterized by intensified upwelling and a westward expansion of the coastal upwelling cells during several global cooling pulses. During glacial stages 2–4, the middle part of stage 6, sporadically from the lower stage 8 through upper stage 10, and during stage 12, site 532 was located beneath the coastal branch of the Benguela Current because faunal distribution patterns indicate intensified upwelling. The Angola Current probably intruded the area of study during the lower stages 5, sporadically 6–8, and 11, as documented by the increased abundance of Neogloboquadrina dutertrei.