Florisphaera profunda

Ancestry: Coccolithophores -> Nannolith families inc sed -> Nannolith genera inc sed -> Florisphaera -> Florisphaera profunda
Sister taxa: F. profunda, F. sp.,

Short diagnosis: same as genus, monospecific

Daughter taxa (blue => in age window 0-300Ma)
Distal edge of liths facetted and striations parallel to length of liths over about 2/3 of their width
Distal edge of liths facetted, 2-6µm long
Distal edge of liths flat or rounded, 2-4µm long
Distal edge of liths flat with short spine (or horn) on anterior right margin
Liths broad, distal edge flat with central spur


Citation: Florisphaera profunda Okada & Honjo, 1973
Rank: Species
Variants: Modern F. profunda is rather variable, there are three formally described varieties, and several undescribed forms so it may in fact be a plexus of several species. See Quinn et al. (2005) for a longer review and much new data.

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Florisphaera profunda *

Short diagnosis: same as genus, monospecific

Morphology remarks: Coccospheres artichoke-like, formed of numerous plate-like, slightly curved, nannoliths. The nannoliths are single calcite crystals with c-axis parallel to the length.
Typically the nannoliths are slightly tapered and terminated at the broader end by a pair of crystal faces. They are easily overlooked in the light microscope but can be reliably identified and have yielded very strong palaeoceanographic signals.

Ecology & Biogeography: Florisphaera profunda is an exclusively deep-photic species, usually occurring below the deep-chlorophyll maximum and is most abundant below oligotrophic surface waters. It occurs in sediments at much higher abundances than classic surface oligotrophic taxa such Umbellosphaera or Discosphaera and so is more reliable as an indicator of surface water oligotrophy.

Geological Range:
Notes: Abundant in Quaternary sediments. They are also readily observable in well-preserved Pliocene and Late Miocene sediments, with unambiguous occurrence at least to NN10 and less certainly to NN5.
Last occurrence (top): Extant Data source: present in the plankton (Young et al. 2003)
First occurrence (base): within NN10 zone (8.29-9.53Ma, base in Tortonian stage). Data source: Young 1998

Plot of occurrence data:


Okada, H. & Honjo, S., (1973). The distribution of oceanic coccolithophorids in the Pacific. Deep-Sea Research, 20: 355-374.

Okada, H. & McIntyre, A., (1977). Modern coccolithophores of the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Micropaleontology, 23(1): 1-55.

Quinn, P.S.; Bollmann, J. & Cortés, M., (2005). Morphological variation in the deep ocean-dwelling coccolithophore Florisphaera profunda (Haptophyta). European Journal of Phycology, 40(1): 123-133.

Young, J.R., (1998). Neogene. In: Bown, P.R. (Editor), Calcareous Nannofossil Biostratigraphy. British Micropalaeontological Society Publications Series. Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 225-265.

Nannotax3 - Coccolithophores - Florisphaera profunda by: Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 26-3-2017

Search term: in module

AphiaID: 235952 Nomenclatural data on WoRMS

Comments (1)

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AN Baizheng
Sir, I am not sure if the 3 small coccoliths in part A of this picture are Florisphaera profunda or not.When I do my reserch about the living coccolithophores in South China Sea,I found some even small coccoliths looks like the small ones in part A, so I am confused. I have taken some photographs in which both normal F. profunda and small (not sure) ones are present. I will give you that photos if you need. May you do me a favor to help me make sure it? Thanks, AN

[This comment refers to the color light micrograph \Young_unpubl_FlorisphaeraE"with four sub-images, included in the colletion of images at the top of this page - JRY March 2014] """
Jeremy Young (NHM, UK)

Dear AN Baizheng
Thank you for the query, and yes those small specimens in fig A are F. profunda coccoliths. F. profunda does produce rather varaible coccoliths/nannoliths and the smaller ones can be difficult to consistently identify, especially in sediments.

AN Baizheng

Dear Jeremy,
Your reply is very helpful to my research.
Thank you, Sir.


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