Foraminifera caught my interest. They are precious and their study covers so many areas: From field- to home-work, from rock-formations to photography. SEM and computer -stuff. I like the worldwide foraminiferal community - so help- and thoughtful people. Share may enthusiasm.
The University of California has issued a press release, that " Tiny foraminifera shells can help assess recovery after oil spill. Millimeter-size marine organisms called foraminifera have been used to monitor pollutants in marshes and oceans, and could help to assess recovery in the Gulf of Mexico following the three-month long Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
That was the message from a French/American team of researchers who recently reported on the health of French marshes and mudflats 32 years after the Amoco Cadiz spilled 220,000 tons of oil along the Brittany coast in 1978."
"Our key to looking at these environments was the percentage of deformed foraminifera," said report co-author Jere Lipps, University of California, Berkeley, professor of integrative biology and an expert on foraminifera. "The percentage went way up during the oil spill, and then after about two years came back down to 2 or 3 percent, and that is where we see it today."
As pointed out in an earlier post, a great number of foraminifera are affected by the Gulf oil disaster. The comparison of the affected faunas now with those of the past and those in the future may provide a deep understanding of the impact and recovery processes.
From 5th till 10th of September 2010 the Foram-World met in Bonn. 374 professional foraminiferologist plus 1 amateur (=me) met in Bonn to learn more about newest scientific results about foraminifera and their applications. Martin Langer and his team did an excellent job in organizing this event as a vivid platform for scientific and personal exchange. The opportunity was given to everbody to present his/her work as an oral and/or poster presentation. During poster sessions no oral sessions were running. The resulting richness of the scientific input is reflected in the reader of Forams2010 with more abstracts than participants.
My poster presentation
from Sunday till Tuesday was well visited by about 50 persons with 15 wanting to contribute mainly images and minilectures. Online now (8.9.) went the Short Treatise on foraminiferology offered by Bruno Granier on the 6.9. with the integration of all single images still under way. A cooperation with the eforams-project (Jaroslav Tyszka) is agreed, with foraminifera.eu as a plattform to pre-present new, not yet accepted species. Feedback: Via internet people tend to be very polite avoiding any criticsm, which is needed though to move on in a project like foraminifera.eu. So I took the chance to ask for feedback. As one result I will add an FAQ to answer the many questions. "What happens to my contribution, when you are run over by a truck ? Who finances all this ? Is your plan to add 10.000 Ammonias as they will be in many samples ? Who is reviewing the classifications ? How may I send my images ?
With Thomas Cedhagen, Miroslav Bubik and an unfortunately to me unknown retired lady from Shell I intensively talked about imaging, stacking, digitalizing of collections and the importance of drawings. Bob Jones will ask the NHML on the permission to use their scans of the Brady Challenger Expedition drawings. See a first image of Lituotuba lituiformis, taken from a different publication as indicated :)
Meeting with contributors + Urbino 09 course participants.
It was a great pleasure to meet some of the first scientific contributors, for the first time Irina Polovodova and now twice since Urbino 2009 Renata Moura Mello, Ekaterina Ovsepyan and Claudia Cetean. Alltogether 9 Urbino 2009 participants were present and presenting their work.
In July our small group of hobby-micropaleontologists heads to the chalk-quarry Laegerdorf near Hamburg: doors are open, it its collectors Sunday. While our macropaleontological colleagues are already busy with their heavy equipment and first findings of belemnites are reported we discuss the stratigrafical setting:
We soon skip our plan to match stratigrafical maps in the literature with sampling in the quarry. We do a chronological sampling and hope, that the micropaleontological content will tell us more.
After 7 hours of continous sampling we have 15 bags of 500g. Mircofossils are not observable, with a magnifying glas: 0,00. What have you got ? is the question of our colleagues with the buckets full of belemnits, starfish, sponges ... Yeah , oh my god - us ? - we don't know ...
Our field trip starts back home. After cleaning, washing, sieving of 1/3 of the first bag a residue with fraction > 63µm is left:
In three such spoons we find hundreds of foraminifera and other microfossil specimens. Cleaning needs to be improved though.
Some prominent index foraminifera for the Lower Upper Campanian/ Upper lower Campanian found are these:
Globorotalia truncatulinoides (d'Orbigny, 1839) is a planktic foraminifera.
It tolerates a broad range of sea surface temperatures and salinities and occurs in subtropical and transitional water masses. It is a deep-dwelling species which ascends to shallower depths during its reproduction period in winter. In the fossil record it is since the Pleistocene and may be used for studies on climate change of the last 2 mya.
The relative abundance of dextral coiling is higher at lower latitudes.
The specimens shown here are from a sample from the Hebridian Slope off Scotland in the North Atlantic. Northwest of the British Isles, this steep continental slope to depths greater than 2000 m separates the distinct continental shelf of Europe from the deeper Atlantic Ocean. The sample is in the repository of the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, Oban.
A classical site for (micro-) paleontological research is the area Damery - Fleury-la-Rivière in the Paris Basin. It is famous for rich fossil beds of Lutetian Age (48.6 - 40.4 mya). In the 19th century pre-evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), the author of many first descriptions of species Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny, Olry Terquem (1797-1886) and others worked on fossil foraminifera of the Paris Basin.
The foraminiferal fauna indicates shallow water, warm marine conditions such as found today in the Red Sea: a great variety, rich ornamented and big foraminifera, a substantial part being Miliolids.
The Natural History Museum London plans to close down its Micropaleontological Research due to budget cuts pronounced by the British Government.
The British Government has spend billions of pounds to help british banks in their risky business. Now they are planing a cut of expenses such as for museums. The NHM trustees and department heads reacted with a financial plan to close the Research on Micropaleontology. Collections shall not be affected.
The Gulf Oil Disaster heavily affects the foraminiferal communities in the Gulf of Mexico.
As a nutrient rich and warm part of worlds oceans the Gulf of Mexico is packed with foraminiferal communities and a high diversity is on record. The Deep Horizon explosion causes the death, migration and misbuilding of billions of foraminifera.
1. Foraminifera depending on coral reefs and mangroves will be heavily affected as the basis of their live will be harmed, diminish or vanish.
Peneroplis reported from the Gulf will be a looser, too big, too complex, living too close to the shore in shallow water.
2. Benthic Foraminifera living on and above the sediment will die in areas covered by oil.
3. The toxical chemicals used to disperse the oil and the oil flares will harm or kill all kind of foraminifera whether drifting or living and cause misbuildings as observed with heavy-pollution.
4. Near shore foraminiferal communities will heavily be affected as the oil will not be taken away as on the shore, but tends to drift to the shore.
5. Big and complex structured foraminifera, depending on better environmental conditions will be overall the loosers and some species may even die out.
1. Deep infaunal foraminifera used to nearly anoxic conditions will at first hand not be affected at all. They may even get the chance to conquer life space left empty by others. Such an effect has been recorded after the Mount Pinatubo ash covered the ocean floor in the surrounding oceans with Reophax. Reophax is in the fossil record since more than 400 Mya and has survived crises as global freezing, meteor impacts ...
30 Mio. year old Reophax from Germany looks the same as recent ones. It is also reported from the Gulf area.
2. Simple structured and less demanding Foraminifera will overcome the crisis more easily and may temporarily conquer new life space.
Total effects as derived from observations of other crises such at the K/T (=Dinosaur) extinction event
1. The bio-diversity will diminish 2. The size of individuals and richness of ornamentation will be reduced 3. The recovery process will establish new communitarial structures
Total effects due to the short impact time and local limitation from an evolutionary point of view
1. New species are not likely to evolve. The reproduction cycle in warm waters may be short like 3 months, but even over a period of 30-50 years it may not be enough time.
2. Dead areas will be invaded first by foraminifera still alive such as in the sediment or from nearby less affected areas.
3. The heavy pollution by oil and chemicals does most likely not kill all foraminiferal live in the whole Gulf of Mexico. Simple and very tolerant species will most likely take over. Coral reef and mangrove dependant species may die out.
The Miocene epoch lasted from 23.0-5.3 Mya BC and has foraminiferal faunas closely related to recent ones. The genus Florilus is common in Miocene sediments of the shelf. Some authors placed them in Nonion.
The theory of evolution wants to explain how we - meaning all living organisms - came to be in all our complexity and variation. In a group of organisms the environmental conditions will favour some individuals while others will not reproduce as well. If heritable characters are the cause a shift in the frequency of these heritable characters within a population will occur after some generations. This process is called natural selection.
Prof. Mueller, Geologisch - Palaeontologische Sammlung, University of Leipzig provided a sample from Atzendorf near Stassfurt, Germany. It dates back 30 mya to the Rupelian stage, lower Oligocene. Most foraminifera are small, below 500µm in size and lived benthic. An example is Bolivina fastigia seen to the left. See the whole collection at http://www.foraminifera.eu/atzendorf.html
Some planktonics (well preserved) are found, I classify them as Globigerina globularis (see image to the right. There are several Spiroplectinellas respresenting the agglutinating foraminifera.
I am not much familiar with faunal interpretation, but would interprete from the faunal composition: 5-10% planktonics indicate open waters, which correlate with the overall smaller sized benthonics.
A core sample from Cape Hatteras with 72 single plastic bags representing 190m in depth came in. A chart on the abundance of foraminifera at all depth-levels will help to start with the most promising parts. The core ranges from recent to probably Miocene. This valuable sample definitely needs a close investigation and processing.
Reussella - a small perforate taxa is very common in the material from Kemp Beach, Queensland. The genus with a pyramidal test is reported in the fossil record since Middle Eocene (~ 40 Mio. years). The image shows one side and the basis of the pyramid - maybe a bit confusing.
The sample send from Australia by Kirsten is very rich in diversity and total amount of foraminifera. Further images will be added.
Earlier I found a fossilized Reussella in material from Torrente Stirone , Italy in material provided by Michael - one of the first contributors. The image better illustrates the pyramidal form. It's about 1 Mio. years old from Pleistocene.
Please send me your Oligocene or Eocene Reussellas :)
The 3rd Course on Foraminifera in Urbino, Italy for 80 international participants is fully booked. The organizer Fabrizio told me, that the advert on foraminifera.eu has been a great help. Last year I participated in the 2nd course with about 25 participants. Read my personal report on this very intense course in the pretty medieval town of Urbino. Consider your participation in the 4th course 2011 :)
Dr. Fabrizio Frontalini has been the first scientific contributor for foraminifera.eu in the very beginning. He sent very nice images from the Adriatic Sea and Venice Lagoon such as this from a Bulimina marginata. Among other subjects he is working on foraminifera as indicators of pollution. Read the minilecture on foraminifera and pollution to learn more.
Onno Groß president of DEEPWAVE a NGO for the protection of the oceans has provided numerous SEM-images of benthic foraminifera found at the shelf+continental slope of the Faroe-Shetland channel. The depth ranges from 155m to 1200m. (see station-list to the right).
A prominent bathyal species for the North Atlantic is Lagenammina atlantica. This specimen has used volcanic glas to build its test.
An envelope from Michael (Louisville, Kentucky / USA) arrived with about 40 single forams from the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian: huge Fusulinids (see drawing of parafusulinid), Orbitulinas and Endothyras. See the interesting blog Louisville Fossils. Now I have first Paleozoic forams - what an excitement. Thanks a lot Michael. I will send a package with European forams back for Herb.
Kirstens material from Australia has arrived, several samples from the beaches of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia - 200-300g in total. In half of a spoon from Woolgoolga - Solitary Islands Marine Park, NSW I found about 100 forams ranging from Textularia, Miliolids, Elphidiums, Planorbulina, Cibicides to Globigerina, Globorotalia - o my God - there are about 200 spoons left, to be analyzed :) Thank you so much Kirsten.
Foraminiferologist Dr. Onno Groß has made a mayor contribution of literature, images of living and dead specimens and mini-lectures. He is president of DEEPWAVE a German environmental NGO for the protection of the oceans.
Foraminifera are heavily effected by ocean acidification and pollution. I plan to integrate the subject of proctecting the oceans to foraminifera.eu with the help of DEEPWAVE.
It will take some time though to digest this mayor contribution :).
Last year I received in a plain envelope some plummercells filled with hundreds of foraminifera from young scientist Wafaa in Sanaa, Yemen. I started with SEM images (59 so far), see www.foraminifera.eu/wafaa.html.
I think optical images are a nice addition to illustrate this diverse fauna near Socotra, Yemen in the Indian Ocean and Peneroplis planatus a nice start.
The image is taken with a simple ocular camera. Sharpness is achieved by stacking different single images
Peneroplis is very common in the East Meditteranean, Red and Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean .... You may easily get it from sand-samples.