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Study foraminifera as a non-scientist

    

Binocular, 25cm high


Celka Microslide black, with 4 holes
to store foraminifera
   
Equipment
Equipped with a simple binocular of 40x magnification (at 50 Euro,65 USD) you will be able to work on many samples. A double-eyed, trinocular microscope with 100x magnification (used at 200 EURO, 280 USD) will be sufficient later, if you want to go deeper. Still the simple binocluar will be very handy and helpful in the field.

A flat black tray of about 5x5inch (10x10cm) is needed to disperse material. Use a fine brush (0/0) to pick single items such as foraminifera from the tray. You will need small containers called microslides to store your findings. They may be stored in slabs, which may be piled. Pack stuff alike together. Stores selling geological equipment will provide those articles, such as Celka, Krantz, UKGE and others. They ship worldwide.

a coarse cretaceous sample before washing and sieving containing hundreds of forams


   
Samples
Foraminifera may be found in great abundance in all marine sediments. Start with coarse material from the beach and shallow waters. Read the short guide on how to sample at the beach.
As a hobby-palaeontologist analyse the dust attached to your macro-fossils. Ask others for such waste-material. 100g is more than enough to get an impression, whether something is in it. After looking at several samples, you will get an idea what is rich and poor material.



    

an Artemia sieve, also found as set










   
Washing, Sieving, Ultrasonic cleaning
Most samples need to be washed with fresh water to wash away salt, mud and attached particles. Only stuff smaller than 50-100 mikrons should be washed away, so use an according sieve. You may find a cheap set of small sieves at aquaristik- shops for breading artemia as fish-food. A big sieve though expensive allows easy washing and drying as the waterflow is much better. Ultrasonic cleaning should be applied carefully in order not to destroy fragile foraminiferal tests.


Classification and Understanding
Classifying you findings on a genus-level may be done with the help of our "Key to Genera", where you may choose the features you observed from a selection of drawings. Our key though contains only 300 of about 5000 genera.
Learn more than naming. Read the Short Treatise on Foraminiferology and get to know, how foraminifera live and what they are used for.

Further sections
Microslides - how to store your foraminifera

It is time to practise. Go to a local beach or fossil site !
Read the story "Bram explores the Foram World"