Foraminifera Database - illustrated catalog

This foraminifera database provides an illustrated catalog run by the lab.
It is searchable on taxonomy, morphology, geological time and geography.

to the Database Query

Online 24th of July 2024: 22.511 illustrations of foraminifera (2.002 genera)

News and background:

West Florida Shelf

July 2024: Foraminifera from the West Florida Shelf

We have started to work on foraminifera from the Caribbean Sea and adjacent areas. Prof. (assoc.) Dr. Michael Martínez-Colón from Florida A&M University, School of the Environment gave us samples from the West Florida shelf to start with. Please consider to contribute images and/or samples from the Caribbean Sea. See more ....
Kimmeridge Clay Formation

June 2024: Sampling in the Kimmeridge Clay Formation

In the first two weeks of June main sampling will be done with support of The Etches Collection. From our feasibility study based on single samples we have already photographed a number of species. See more ....

May 2024: Miocene Foraminifera from Twistringen

The Miocene clay pit in Twistringen was reopened on the 5th of April 2024. We started to work on the material from this classical site. Until now 61 specimens are integrated in the database. The clay is of Langhian to Serravallian age. See more ....
Greater North Sea foraminifera

January 2024: Catalog of modern Greater North Sea Foraminifera.

In the last three months we added another 400 images to our catalog, which now contains 830 illustrated specimens representing 257 species. We still lack material from the Norwegian Trench, England and the southwestern North Sea. .... to the catalog.
22000 foraminifera

December 2023: 22.000 entries in the database

As of December 2023 we have passed the line of 22.000 entries in our data-base. We thank all contributors of raw material, picked specimens and images. We ourselves did a lot of photographing and fieldwork.
Each entry in the database consists of an image and accompanying data. The database is searchable on 24 criteria at the database query.
Foraminifera, Spiroloculina
Foraminifera from the Schwarz gravel pit

November 2023: Lower Cretaceous Glacial Erratics

were found by Frank Wilcke in the gravel pit of Schwarz, north of Berlin. I visited him and took several samples from these marly to sandy finds back to our lab. We now started to extract the forams and made first images. The preservation of the tiny planktic specimens is rather good as can be seen in the SEM-images. Based on our identifications of the planktics we place the material into the Upper Albian, Lower Cretaceous. This is work in progress. .... to the images.

Mauritania foraminifera

March 2023: Paper on Mauritanian Foraminifera published.

Read my open access paper Hesemann, M. et al., 2023: Benthic foraminiferal assemblages from the Mauritanian shelf and upper slope and their association with cold-water coral habitats. It contains 31 plates. .... to the paper.

A Citizen Science Project

The Lab (FEULAB) is run by a team of avocational scientists, who gets great support by professionals and amateurs. We want to foster the interest in foraminifera as an important but mainly neglected form of life. By documenting the many species we want to rise the awareness for the biodiversity crisis in general. Our freely accessible database is a major outcome. We work out of natural enthusiasm on a strictly non-commercial basis. ... read more
Rosalina, Foraminifera, Forams
Foraminifera Database

The Database (FEUDAT)

FEUDAT contains to date 22.000+ datasets each with an image. It is freely searchable on a range of criteria, which are on taxonomy, morphology, geography, geological time, collection, fauna and more. The result is presented as a plate with up to 500 images. Contributors may find their collection of foraminifera better accessible than ever. to the database // It is described in Hesemann, M. 2015: The database: concept and status. Palaeontologia Electronica 18.3.48A: 1-14 to the PDF
Flosculinella, Foraminifera, Forams
Foraminifera Projects
With you, our contributors we work on projects. We extract, photograph, identify forams and interpret assemblages biologically and/or stratigraphically. We work with amateurs and professionals on simple to high levels. To process a beach sample from a school is easily done (see Greek Schools Project). Working on core or deep-sea material is complex and may result in a peer reviewed paper (Hesemann, M. 2020: Foraminifera in the glacial erratic rock Heiligenhafener Kieselgestein of northern Germany in MP 66(5):397-418 Abstract). Please contact us with your proposal.
Citharina, Foraminifera, Forams
Foraminifera in glacial erratics

Foraminifera in glacial erratics

Northern Germany is covered by glacial erratics brought to us during the ice ages. Foraminifera may be found in sedimentary erratics of marine origin. They are often well preserved and may be used to date the erratics. We thank the many contributors of the glacial erratics society for their help. We have extracted, photographed and identified so far 650+ specimens.
Publications were made on forams in Cretaceous and Eocene erratics and papers on Oligocence and Upper Jurassic material are in the making.
Palmula, Sternberger Gestein
North Atlantic Foraminifera

Modern North Atlantic foraminifera

Based on hundreds of samples ranging from the beach to abyssal plains we are constantly working on foraminifera from the North Atlantic. In 2023 we are focussing on our catalog of Modern Greater North Sea foraminifera. A peer reviewed paper on benthic forams associated with cold water corals off Mauritania was published. A submitted paper on deep sea forams is under review. Our work on samples from the Reykjanes Ridge resulted in 240+ photographed specimens and that on the Mediterranean Sea in 700+ datasets.
Foraminifera, Glaphyrammina
Upper Cretaceous Foraminifera, Forams

Upper Cretaceous Foraminifera

The Working group of Upper Cretaceous foraminifera has created over time a catalog of 2700+ Upper Cretaceous Foraminifera. It started with own finds from Upper Campanian quarries near Hamburg and was soon substantially enlarged by contributions of images by professionals. The enlargement is ongoing and your contribution is welcome to enlarge the coverage.
... to the catalog
Pessagnoina, Foraminifera, Forams
Sitka, Alaska

Alaskan modern foraminifera

Fisherwomen Karen L. Johnson contacted us with the idea to build an illustrated catalog of foraminifera from off Sitka, southern Alaska. She found sediments attached to her fishing gear with lots of foraminifera in them. We received anchor-mud material collected by Karen and her colleagues from the waters off Sitka. You may find images made by Karen and us partly on iNaturalist and here ....
Foraminifera, Bolivina, Sitka, Alaska
Portugal Foraminifera, Forams

Catalog of Portuguese Foraminifera

The Working group of Portuguese Foraminifera has created a catalog of 800+ foraminifera from Portugal. The basis was 8 years of field work in the Algarve by Brian and Michael. Portuguese professionals contributed many SEM images. The catalog comprises specimens from recent waters and fossil foraminifera from the Miocene, Cretaceous and Jurassic. ... to the catalog
Spirillina, Foraminifera, Forams
Contribution of Foraminifera, Forams

How to contribute

We work strictly non commercial, money can"t be contributed. Raw material and picked specimens allow us to work on interesting stuff und explore new topics. With Images we may enlarge the coverage of the database. Comments and proposals often lead to improvements. Invitation to talks, field work and workshops allows us to get in touch with interested people. Provided publications preferably as PDF help us to improve our skills. Contact us
Samples of Foraminifera, Forams
Anna Waskowska Foraminifera collection


As a contributor you will get your own contributors page. It is freely online accessible to you and everyone interested. You will find your collection in our well structured database and thus made accessible over a substantial range of criteria. We add contributed images free of charge and check identifications. To a limited extent and willingness of the team we process raw material, extract forams, shoot optical images and identify specimens. ... to the list of contributors
Ammodiscus, Foraminifera, Forams
Micropaleontological slides for Foraminifera, Forams


Foraminifera should be properly stored in microslides. There are different types and manufacturers, the ones we use are described here
Plummercell for Foraminifera, Forams

Links to Foram Resources

World Foraminifera Database - part of the register of marine species.
Pformas@Microtax - major taxonomic resource for planktonics.
Organisations: Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research - The Micropaleontological Society - Micropress Europe and Grzybowksi Foundation - Microfossil Club Hamburg - just to mention a few.
What are Foraminifera and Forams

What are Foraminifera

Foraminifera, in short forams, are single-celled organisms which live in the oceans. They consist of cytoplasma, which is stabilized and protected by an inner shell called test. Either they float in the water column (planktonics) or live on the sea floor (benthics). Of the approximately 6,000 species living today, only about 50 species are planktonic. It is estimated that there are about 42.000 species, which went extinct.
Foraminifera, Forams, Bulimina

The word Foraminifera

is derived from the Latin words "foramen" (=opening) and "ferre" (=to bear). Usually they have one major opening called aperture and miniature smaller ones. Some have secondary apertures. Within the taxonomy of forams the openings only play a minor role. ...      more on apertures
Entzia, Foraminifera, Forams
Foraminifera, Forams, Habitat

Where do Foraminifera live ?

Foraminifera are abundant all over the oceans. A few species live in freshwater environments. Forams live in the deep sea, open waters, near shore and even in areas only partly covered by sea water. Each niche has a specific mixture of species, called fauna. Explore the foraminifera in todays oceans via the zoomable map of our finds or the database-query choosing an ocean, area and/or locality.
Adelosina, Foraminifera, Forams
Key to benthic Foraminifera, Forams

Benthic Foraminifera

They live on the seafloor and adapt to the local habitat. Major factors of such seafloor habitats are food supply, light, predators, water-depth, salinity, temperature and substrate. In the fossil record an assemblage of benthic foraminifera may lead to an understanding of the ancient habitat. Benthic foraminiferal species show a wide range of life styles and forms. ... to the images
Placopsilina, Foraminifera, Forams
Planktonic Foraminifera, Forams

Planktonic Foraminifera

They drift in the oceans. Their habitat are open waters from the surface to several hundred meters below. About 50 species live in todays oceans. Wide areas of the ocean floors are covered by their remains, the so called tests. They are used for palaeontological and stratigraphical studies (PDF) by Prof. Kucera.... to the images
Orbulina, Foraminifera, Forams
Taxonomy of Foraminifera, Forams

Taxonomy of Foraminifera

As single celled organisms with a nucleus, foraminifera belong to the kingdom of protists. They build an own phylum with 80.000 described species. The taxonomy is for more than 99% of the species based on the morphology of the test. The wall material of the test and the chamber arrangement are the most important features to describe benthic species. Consult our key to benthic species. For planktonics the test surface and chamber arrangement are important. Consult our key to planktonic species. Read more.
Foraminifera, Forams
Stratigraphic range of Foraminifera, Forams

Fossil Record of Foraminifera

The stratigraphic range of foraminifera extends from before the Cambrian till today. The first species had organic tests or were simple agglutinated tubes. In the Paleozoic Fusulinida dominated. In the Mesozoic an enormeous radiation of species took place till substantial extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous. The Cenozoic had a huge radiation. In total 80.000 species are described and used in the biostratigraphic studies. the fossil record
Ammobaculites, Foraminifera, Forams