A Living Specimen

Now that you've been inundated with pictures and descriptive analyses of foraminifera you might wonder, so what's the point behind studying these little guys anyway. To be brief, their global distribution and heterogeneity of visible morphological types provide excellent paleoenvironmental indicators for micropaleontologists. Morphological groups, ie. families and species, tend to occur under statistically well defined conditions. From these statistical groups one can infer what specific environment a given foraminiferal assemblage existed in during its life mode. Environments can include defined depths, temperatures, latitudes, chemical or energy conditions, and a variety of other specific conditions. These have applications for paleoenvironmental interpretation, modern sea-level fluctuation analyses so important to understanding climate change, recent event analysis such as prehistorical earthquake periodicity to provide new models for earthquake prediction, and many other areas of research vital to understanding both the past, present and future global environment.