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Index Foraminifera

Basic Idea
Foraminifera are commonly used as index, marker of guide fossils for biostratigraphical zonation of sedimentary rock and sediments. This zonation permits the establishment of a relative age, a chronostratigraphy, for a sedimentary section. Micropaleontologists have established a wide-spanning net of biozones in space and time based on the first and last occurrences of selected species. From its foraminiferal content samples may be precisely placed into an according biozone. Hundreds of scientific publications are available on biozonation with foraminifera but an overall and easy to use catalogue of index foraminifera is hard to get. With these pages we want to build such easy to use catalogues of index foraminifera.

Co-Workers: To cover as much regions and geological times as possible, co-workes are needed. We are happy, that in May 2012 Siegfried Müller who worked for the German Stratigraphical Subcommission on the Tertiary joined in to work on the Paleogene of Northern Europe. Consider to join in with your expertise. Contact us via email: michael at

Index Foraminifera
          Qualification as index fossil
According to Bellier et al. 2010, Page 19 and by personal remark of Robert Speijer species with biostratigraphic value should have the following characteristics:
  • Be identifiable without question (easily recognized)
  • Be common
  • Having clear datums of appearance and/or extinction
  • Having an extensive geographic dispersion achieved rapidly
  • Be largely facies-independant
  • Be resistant to taphonomic processes
As our compilation aims to be an easy to use tool for everyone we consider only easy recognition and common frequency in the designated area as the important criteria. We add also species with a long stratigraphic range as their first and last occurence dates are seen as useful time-marks. Applying extensive dispersion and facies-independancy would exclude benthic foraminifera. They though are much easier to recognize than planktonics. The obstacle of limited occurence of benthics shall be overcome by adding many.

Avalaible Ranges    all under construction, January 2013
Paleogene of Northern Europe
Upper Cretaceous of Northern Europe
Lower Cretaceous

Other free resources on Index Foraminifera: