pforams@mikrotax - Introduction to the Palaeogene Database


This part of the site aims to provide an authoritative guide to the biodiversity and taxonomy of Palaeogene planktonic foraminifera, a group of microscopic protists whose shells can be found in ocean sediments today and whose fossil record extends into the Jurassic Period (~170 million years ago). Their accurate identification is key to determining sediment age, reconstructing past climate and ocean conditions and past extinction and speciation events. This is especially so in the Cenozoic where planktonic foramnifera have played fundamental roles in both establishing the basic stratigraphy and in developing paleoceanography as a key modern science. This database is intended as both a working tool for specialists and an accessible reference source for anyone looking for information on planktonic foraminifera.

Who are we?

To date, the Palaeogene database primarily has content developed by the Paleogene Planktonic Foraminifera Working Group , and published in the Atlas of Paleocene Planktonic Foraminifera (Olsson et al., 1999; Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 85, 1-252.) and the Atlas of Eocene Planktonic Foraminifera (Pearson et al., 2006 Cushman Foundation Special Publication 41, 514 p.)

In 2016 a grant was awarded to Profs Paul Bown and Bridget Wade of University College London by the UK Natural Environment Research Council to develop a new website of planktonic foraminiferal taxonomy based on migration of the Chronos content into the mikrotax system, as developed by Jeremy Young for the nannotax website.

Future plans for the Palaeogene content - with the new system in place it is planned to exand the content to include the Oligocene using content from the Atlas of Oligocene Planktonic Foraminifera (submitted, ed. B. Wade et al.) when it is published. We anticipate this will be possible in late 2017 or early 2018. At the same time the neogene and palaeogene databases will be merged to provide a single comprehensive Cenozoic database.