What you can expect: Hands on practical fieldtrips with indepth lectures

international school foraminifera:

The Course

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ISF: The Course Information

The 14th ISF School 5th -24th June 2023.

The registration for the upcoming course is now closed. All the places on the course are now fully booked.

Looking forward to meeting all participants in Urbino in June

See you soon,
The Scientific Directors of the ISF Fabry and Mike

Course Description
The Course on Foraminifera is designed to provide an overview of the Taxonomy, Ecology, Biodiversity, and Geological History of Benthic and Planktonic Foraminifera. This intensive course is intended for students interested in Micropalaeontology, Palaeoceanography, Palaeoecology, Climate History, Biology, and Environmental applications. The aim is to provide a primer on the study of foraminifera and examples of how foraminifera can be used as (paleo)environmental and (paleo)oceanographical proxies. We review the current classification schemes of the foraminifera, discuss their ecology and life history, review their usefulness for biostratigraphical applications, and use case studies to investigate the geological history of the group with lab and practical sessions. The entire course consists of approximately 60 hours of lectures and 60 hours of practicals. The course is organized by the Institute for Climate Change Solutions.

Course Structure

The course comprises of four distinct parts. There is an Icebreaker: Meet&Greet event on the evening preceding the 1st day of teaching.

5 June Sunday  Icebreaker Party

Foraminiferal Introduction

Day 1 (6 June) Kaminski & Frontalini
Welcoming speech and course presentation
Famous Names and Milestones in the Study of Foraminifera
Introduction to Foraminifera & Review of Foraminiferal Suborders
Sample Preparation Techniques
Lab Task 1: Identification of foraminiferal wall composition, coiling, chamber arrangement, and apertures of benthic foraminifera
Lab Task 2: Dividing forms by wall structure, coiling and chamber arrangement
Material: Nova Scotia Agglutinated Foraminifera & Mediterranean Sea

Day 2 (7 June) Kaminski, Cetean & Frontalini
Morphology and Classification of Benthic Foraminifera
Miliolids, Buliminids and small Rotaliids
Collecting modern foraminifera
Lab Task 1: Identification of benthic foraminiferal genera: wall composition, coiling, chamber arrangement and shape, and apertures
Material: Arabian Gulf and Adriatic Sea

Day 3 (8 June) Kaminski & Cetean
Introduction to Planktonic Foraminifera and their Classification
Morphology and Classification of Planktonic Foraminifera
Lab task 1: Identification of wall structures, coiling and chamber morphology
Material: Sargasso Sea and South Atlantic

Day 4 (9 June) Pawlowski and Gooday
Biology of Foraminifera
Introduction to molecular genetics of Foraminifera
Lab 1: Observations of living foraminifera
Lab 2: Samples preparation for DNA extraction
Lab 3: Sampling methods for living foraminifera

Day 5 (10 June) Hohenegger & Gooday
Ecology and taphonomy of foraminifera
Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of monothalamous foraminifera including deep-sea, freshwater and terrestrial species
Lab 1: Statistical analyses for ecological and paleoecological studies
Lab Task 1: Using statistical program packages

Day 6 (11 June) Hohenegger, Papazzoni & Briguglio
Biology, bauplan and functional morphology, carbonate production (recent)
Most important groups of LBF in the Phanerozoic
LBF morphology using loose specimens, thin sections, microCT (Lab 1)
Upper Palaeozoic shallow water Fauna: the Fusulinina Suborder
Shallow water K/T boundary and Palaeocene LBF associations
Lab 1: MicroCT; Fusulinina in thin sections; Paleocene LBF

Day 7 (12 June) Papazzoni & Briguglio
The Eocene biodiversity (I): the genus Nummulites
The Eocene biodiversity (II): Orthophragminids
The Eocene biodiversity (III): Alveolinids
Lab 1: Nummulitids, Orthophragminids, Alveolinids

Day 8 (13 June) Hohenegger, Papazzoni & Briguglio
LBF biostratigraphy, Oppelzones and applications
Oligo-Miocene LBF associations
Modern LBF: ecology, distribution (now and future), applications
Lab 1: Lepidocyclinids and Miogypsinids
Lab 2: Paleodepths estimation by means of LBF

Evening Session: “Foraminiferal Party”. Slide presentations by ISF participants - five minutes each: five photos, five PowerPoint slides.

Day 9 (14 June) Hughes
- Early Carboniferous foraminifera and their use for paleoenvironmental interpretation
Lab and Task 1: Asbian foraminiferal identification using thin sections (paleoenvironment study)
- Late Permian foraminifera of the Middle East and their biosteering application
- Triassic micropalaeontology of her Middle East: age application
Lab and Task 2: Triassic foraminiferal identification using photomicrographs (age determination)
- Jurassic foraminifera of the Middle East: age, paleoenvironment and implications for cycle definition
Lab & Task 3: Jurassic foraminiferal identification using thin sections (age determination)
- Jurassic foraminifera of the Middle East (Oxfordian): age and paleoenvironment
Lab & Task 4: Jurassic (Oxfordian) foraminiferal identification using photomicrographs: paleoenvironment exercise
Late Jurassic hypersalinity events: foraminiferal & associated microfaunal/floral responses
Lab & Task 5: Jurassic hypersaline foraminiferal identification using photomicrographs: paleoenvironment study
- Cretaceous foraminifera of the Middle East: age, paleoenvironment and implications for cycle definition
Lab & Task 6: Cretaceous (Aptian) foraminiferal identification using photomicrographs: age and paleoenvironment exercise
- Neogene foraminiferal applications in the Red Sea hypersaline-associated succession

Day 10 (15 June) Day off

Day 11 (16 June) Kaminski
Morphogroups and functional morphology of smaller benthic foraminifera
Ecology and distribution of benthic Foraminifera
Lab: Databases, Taxonomy of benthic foraminiferal suborders
Task 1: Water depth estimation based on SBF
Task 2: Identification of SBF morphogroups

Day 12 (17 June) Kaminski & Frontalini
Community Structure, Life History, and Reproduction
Oceanographic proxies, benthic foraminiferal microhabitats, and productivity/oxygenation
Benthic foraminifera and water mass properties
Atlantic and Mediterranean shallow water benthic Foraminifera
Lab: Modern smaller benthic foraminifera: Foraminiferal genera and assemblages
Task 1: Productivity/oxygen estimation based on SBF
Task 2: Environmental Interpretation
Keynote lecture by Laia Alegret: Deep-sea drilling and the JOIDES Resolution

Day 13 (18 June) Speijer
Stasis, gradual change and abrupt extinctions in late Cretaceous to Paleogene SBF
SBF based Paleocene-Eocene sea-level reconstructions and taphonomy
Lab: Late Cretaceous to Paleogene assemblages and key taxa for dating and environmental reconstruction.
Task 1: Identification of depth marker taxa
Task 2: paleodepth reconstruction

Day 14 (19 June) Kaminski & Cetean
Cenozoic Paleoceanographic events and SBF
Neogene of West Africa, and Gulf of Mexico: The ACEX Arctic Drilling Expedition
Lab: The Paleogene record; North Sea, Trinidad, Angola, Carpathians, Gubbio
A review of Jurassic to late Cretaceous faunas, Bering Sea Pleistocene faunas
Task 1: Flysch type fauna identification – index taxa
Task 2: Oxygen minimum zone fauna
Rigs and Stuff
Wellsite Micropaleontology

Day 15 (20 June) Kaminski & Frontalini
Morning field excursion to the Gubbio area
Cretaceous-Paleogene sequence at Contessa Highway and Contessa Road
Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and other hyperthermals at Contessa Road
Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 “Bonarelli” at Contessa Quarry
K/Pg boundary at Bottaccione Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a “Selli” at Gorgo a Cerbara
Afternoon tourist visit to Gubbio
Social Dinner

Day 16 (21 June) Meilland
Modern Planktonic Foraminifera
Taxonomy of modern planktonic foraminifera
Structure of cytoplasm, Feeding, Symbionts, Ontogeny
Reproductive and seasonal cycles, Depth habitats
Origin of Planktonic Foraminifera
Biogeography of Planktonic Foraminifera
Faunal Provinces, Climatic Zones and Water Masses
Lab 1: Recent assemblages - wall texture - shell morphology
Task 1: Identification of latitudinal zones based on PF

Day 17 (22 June) Kaminski
Neogene Planktonic Foraminifera
Miocene and Pliocene Planktonic Foraminifera
Pleistocene Planktonic Foraminifera
Biochronology and Zonal schemes
Lab 1: Miocene index species - Pliocene-Pleistocene index species
Task 1: Identification of biozones
Task 2: Identification of glacial and interglacial assemblages

Day 18 (23 June) Petrizzo
Paleogene Planktonic Foraminifera
Notes on Paleoceanography
Lab 1: Paleogene index species
Task 1: Morphology of Cretaceous PF
Task 2: Identification of biozones

Aperitif, Graduation ceremony

Day 19 (24 June)  Petrizzo
Mesozoic Planktonic Foraminifera
Notes on Paleoceanography
Lab 1: Upper Jurassic to Maastrichtian index species
Task 1: Morphology of Cretaceous PF
Task 2: Identification of biozones
Industry Applications of Micropaleontology


Teaching Format
The course consists of lectures and practical classes covering the taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and paleoecology of foraminifera. Microscope lab sessions provide the opportunity for participants to learn the foraminiferal genera and species, and view Cretaceous to Neogene foraminiferal assemblages from Petroleum Exploration areas and ODP sites as well as Quaternary and modern assemblages. At the end of each lecture session, different tasks will be assigned to participants to reinforce the knowledge learned. Course materials include the pdf lectures and numerous pdf reprints of classic papers.

The course is primarily intended for young researchers at the PhD or MSc stages of their careers and industrial staff working with Foraminifera, Meiofauna, Micropalaeontology, Paleoceanography, Paleoecology, Climate History. Applicants will primarily be selected on the basis of the relevance of the course for their current work.

Code of Conduct
The course recognises and adheres to the Code of Conduct of The Micropalaeontological Society.