pforams@mikrotax - Orbulina universa pforams@mikrotax - Orbulina universa

Orbulina universa

Classification: pf_cenozoic -> Globigerinidae -> Orbulina -> Orbulina universa
Sister taxa: O. universa, O. suturalis, O. sp.


Citation: Orbulina universa d’Orbigny, 1839
taxonomic rank: species
Basionym: Orbulina universa d’Orbigny, 1839

Catalog entries: Orbulina universa, Globigerina bilobata, Coscinosphaera ciliosa, Orbulina gemina, Orbulina imperfecta, Globigerina (Orbulina) acerosa, Globigerina (Orbulina) continens, Orbulina parva

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Orbulina): Spherical terminal chamber:
This taxon: final chamber enveloping earlier test

NB These concise distinguishing features statements are used in the tables of daughter-taxa to act as quick summaries of the differences between e.g. species of one genus.
They are being edited as the site is developed and comments on them are especially welcome.


Test spherical composed of a single spherical chamber, final chamber entirely enveloping the early part of the test, which is usually reduced. In the adult, an internal Globigerina stage may be enveloped by the final spherical chamber. Surface densely perforate with numerous small openings of two distinct sizes

Wall type:
Spinose; Hispid [Aze 2011]


Character matrix
test outline:Circularchamber arrangement:Envelopingedge view:Equally biconvexaperture:Umbilical
sp chamber shape:Inflatedcoiling axis:Moderateperiphery:N/Aaperture border:N/A
umb chbr shape:Inflatedumbilicus:Wideperiph margin shape:Broadly roundedaccessory apertures:Areal
spiral sutures:N/Aumb depth:Deepwall texture:Cancellateshell porosity:Macroperforate: >2.5µm
umbilical or test sutures:Strongly depressedfinal-whorl chambers:1-1 N.B. These characters are used for advanced search. N/A - not applicable

Biogeography and Palaeobiology

Geographic distribution

Equatorial to subpolar. Low to high latitudes [Aze et al. 2011, based on Kennett & Srinivasan (1983)]

In modern oceans an abundant, temperate water, species [SCOR WG138]

Map of distribution from ForCenS database

Isotope paleobiology
Widely reported as a mixed layer species. [but placed by Aze et al. 2011 in ecogroup 4 - Open ocean sub-thermocline. Based on very light δ13C and very heavy δ18O. Sources cited by Aze et al. 2011 (appendix S3): Vergnaud-Grazzini (1976)]

Phylogenetic relations
Bé et al. (1973) observed that populations with large tests and highest test porosities occur in tropical areas. Those with lower porosities and which decrease in mean test diameter occur in subtropical and Subantarctic waters.

Molecular Genotypes recognised (data from PFR2 database, June 2017). References: Darling et al. 1997; Darling & Wade 2008; de Vargas et al. 1999; Morard et al. 2009; Morard et al. 2013; Ujiié & Lipps 2009; Seears et al. 2012.

Most likely ancestor: Orbulina suturalis - at confidence level 4 (out of 5). Data source: Kennett & Srinivasan 1983, fig. 11.

Biostratigraphic distribution

Geological Range:
Last occurrence (top): Extant. Data source: present in the plankton (SCOR WG138)
First occurrence (base): within N9 zone (14.24-15.10Ma, base in Langhian stage). Data source: Kennett & Srinivasan 1983 (recorded as G. aequilateralis zone)

Plot of occurrence data:

Primary source for this page: Kennett & Srinivasan 1983, p.86


Brummer, G-J. A. & Kucera, M. (2022). Taxonomic review of living planktonic foraminifera. Journal of Micropalaeontology. 41: 29-74. gs

d'Orbigny, A. (1839a). Foraminiferes. In, de la Sagra, R. (ed.) Histoire physique et naturelle de l'Ile de Cuba. A. Bertrand, Paris, France 1-224. gs

Darling, K. F. & Wade, C. M. (2008). The genetic diversity of planktic foraminifera and the global distribution of ribosomal RNA genotypes. Marine Micropaleontology. 67: 216-238. gs

Darling, K. F., Wade, C. M., Kroon, D. & Brown, A. J. L. (1997). Planktic foraminiferal molecular evolution and their polyphyletic origins from benthic taxa. Marine Micropaleontology. 30: 251-266. gs

de Vargas, C., Norris, R., Zaninetti, L., Gibb, S. W. & Pawlowski, J. (1999). Molecular evidence of cryptic speciation in planktonic foraminifers and their relation to oceanic provinces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 96: 2864-2868. gs

Kennett, J. P. & Srinivasan, M. S. (1983). Neogene Planktonic Foraminifera. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Co., Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. 1-265. gs

Lam, A. & Leckie, R. M. (2020a). Late Neogene and Quaternary diversity and taxonomy of subtropical to temperate planktic foraminifera across the Kuroshio Current Extension, northwest Pacific Ocean. Micropaleontology. 66(3): 177-268. gs

Loeblich, A. R. & Tappan, H. (1986). Some new and revised genera and families of hyaline calcareous Foraminiferida (Protozoa). Transactions of the American Microscopical Society. 105: 239-265. gs

Loeblich, A. & Tappan, H. (1994). Foraminifera of the Sahul shelf and Timor Sea. Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, Special Publication. 31: 1-661. gs O

Morard, R. et al. (2009). Morphological recognition of cryptic species in the planktonic foraminifer Orbulina universa. Marine Micropaleontology. 71: 148-165. gs

Morard, R., Quillévéré, F., Escarguel, G. & Garidel-thoron, T. D. (2013). Ecological modeling of the temperature dependence of cryptic species of planktonic foraminifera in the Southern Hemisphere. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology. 391: 13-33. gs

Postuma, J. A. (1971). Manual of planktonic foraminifera. Elsevier for Shell Group, The Hague. 1-406. gs

Robbins, L. L. (1988). Environmental significance of morphologic variability in open-ocean versus ocean-margin assemblages of Orbulina universa. Journal of Foraminiferal Research. 18(4): 326-333. gs

Saito, T., Thompson, P. R. & Breger, D. (1981). Systematic Index of Recent and Pleistocene Planktonic Foraminifera. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo. 1-190. gs

Seears, H. A., Darling, K. F. & Wade, C. M. (2012). Ecological partitioning and diversity in tropical planktonic foraminifera. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12(54): 1-15. gs

Siccha, M. & Kucera, M. (2017). ForCenS, a curated database of planktonic foraminifera census counts in marine surface sediment samples. Scientific Data. 4(1): 1-12. gs

Spero, H. J. (1998). Life history and stable isotope geochemistry of planktonic foraminifera. In, Norris, R. D. & Corfield, R. M. (eds) Isotope paleobiology and paleoecology. The Palaeontological Society Papers . 4: 7-36. gs

Stainforth, R. M., Lamb, J. L., Luterbacher, H., Beard, J. H. & Jeffords, R. M. (1975). Cenozoic planktonic foraminiferal zonation and characteristics of index forms. University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions, Articles. 62: 1-425. gs O

Stuart, A. (1866). Ueber Coscinosphaera ciliosa, eine neue Radiolarie. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie. 16: 328-345. gs

Ujiié, Y. & Lipps, J. H. (2009). Cryptic diversity in planktonic foraminifera in the northwest Pacific ocean. Journal of Foraminiferal Research. 39: 145-154. gs

Vergnaud-Grazzini, C. (1976). Non-equilibrium isotopic compositions of shells of planktonic foraminifera in the Mediterranean Sea. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology. 20: 263-276. gs


Orbulina universa compiled by the pforams@mikrotax project team viewed: 26-5-2024

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