User guide

There is a lot of information on the website and some interesting features. These screenshots and notes summarise the main aspects. NB This user guide is now slightly out of data but there is nothing misleading on it (Oct 2016).


The content is divided into three modules.


The core content in the system is presented on species pages, the amount of data varies greatly but the basic organisation is as shown in this example.

  1. Menu-bar: links to switch between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic modules and to other parts of the site, please explore these links
  2. Navigation : links from the current taxon to its parent taxa and siblings
  3. Images of the taxon: Typically a carefully selected set of high quality SEM images, with each specimen illustrated in spiral side, umbilical side and edge view.
  4. Taxonomy fields: The full formal citation, basionym, synonyms and discussion
  5. Links to catalog of described species: Links to the catalog entries for the taxon and its heterotypic synonyms.
  6. Images of type specimens: Type images of the taxon and its synonyms from the catalog of described species
  7. Morphology and other fields: These include Diagnostic characters; Wall type; Test morphology; Size; Geographic distribution; Isotope paleobiology; Phylogenetic relations and Similar Species. This data is rather complete for Paleogene taxa, less so for Neogene and Mesozoic taxa.
  8. Geological range: A record of the stratigraphic unit or zone in which the first and last occurrence of the taxon occurs (and conversion to Ma), often also notes on the strtigraphic range.
  9. Occurrence records from the Neptune database: The Neptune database is a large compilation of data from the DSDP and ODP programs and the data plotted here provides an indication of the range of the taxon and how commonly it is recorded (but note the caveats about this data). NB The display has been updated now and a range-bar summaring the range data from this database has been added
  10. Character matrix: A systematic summary of the morphology of the species. This matrix is also used for advanced search.
  11. References : A list of references cited on the page.
  12. Search options: A search box for rapid search for a taxon name and a link to the advanced search page, which provides a wide range of search options (there is also now a search box at the top of page)
  13. Citation notes: Notes on how to provide links to this page and how to cite it.
  14. Translation options: A Google Translate menu allows translation of the page into virtually any language. If you would like to improve the translation for your language (e.g. for teaching) please contact us, as the system can be trained.
  15. User-comments: Comments can be made on every page - and these comments are also aggregated onto a Recent Comments page (from the comments menu). Please do use this, for anything from correcting typos to recoding alternative opinions taxa. We will read all comments.



When a species page image is clicked an enlarged version is shown together with metadata on the specimen in the image. [NB we plan to introduce searching for images based on the metadata].

You can navigate through the images on a page by using the keyboard laft/right arrow keys.



The key feature of the higher taxon pages is a table summarising the sub-taxa it is made up of. Each row provides data on one sub-taxon - a genus in the example above and includes representative images (the default is three images but you can change this on the Preferences & Time Control page). The sub-taxon name is then given and short notes on the features which distinguish the taxa will be added here. Finally grand-daughter taxa are listed (i.e. the sub-taxa of the sub-taxa). This system has the advantages of providing both a browsable summary of the taxonomy for non-experts and rapid navigation for experts. Finally colour-coding of taxa shows which of them are within the selected age window....



Various preferences can be set from this page, which is accessed from the tools menu. The time control slider lets you select an age window - Santonian to Cenomanian in the example above. Then when you browse the site taxa which are within this age window will be shown in blue, whilst those outside are shown in olive green - see the higher taxon page above for an example. This can be very useful if you know the approximate age of a sample and want to focus on species rom that interval.



The advanced search page allows you to use morphological characters to search the database for the subset of species which meet your criteria. Results are shown as images with a link to the relevant page. This can help identify an unknown species and also can be used to help learn the descritptive terminology. You can also restrict search by using an age window and search for parts of citations (e.g to find all species described by Bolli).



The range chart tool allows you to plot customisable range charts of species. The options are:

  1. Select taxa to plot - any species can be plotted, simply list them separated by semi-colons. Truncated names are allowed and all matching names will be plotted.
  2. Plot interval - select a time interval, there is also an option to show stages as coloured bars (using ICS standard colours).
  3. Data to plot - choose whether to plot mikrotax ranges and/or neptune occurrence data, there also is an option to show summary diversity plots of the number of taxa per time unit.
  4. Sorting - the order taxa appear in can be changed so as to sort by first or last occurrence or alphabetically.
  5. Plot options - the separation of taxa an be changed and the vertical scale for the neptune plots, also the entire graph can be made wider.
Links and tips