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

international school foraminifera:

The Course

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ISF: The Course Information

Course Description
The 10th Course on Foraminifera 2017 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.

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.

11 June Sunday  Icebreaker Party

Foraminiferal Introduction

Day 1 (12 June Monday) 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 (13 June Tuesday) 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 (14 June Wednesday) 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 (15 June Thursday) Hohenegger &Geslin
Biology of foraminifera
Ecology and taphonomy of foraminifera
Lab 1: Statistical analyses for ecological and paleoecological studies
Lab Task 1: Using statistical program packages

Day 5 (16 June Friday) Pawlowski
Introduction to molecular genetics of Foraminifera
Lab 1: Observations of living foraminifera & culturing techniques
Lab 2: Samples preparation for DNA extraction
Lab 3: Sampling methods for living foraminifera

Day 6 (17 June Saturday) Hohenegger, Papazzoni & Briguglio
Biology, bauplan and functional morphology, carbonate production (recent)
Most important groups of LBF in the Phanerozoic
Carbonate production and taphonomy (biostratinomy and diagenesis), accumulation (inclusive nummulite banks)
LBF morphology using loose specimens, thin sections, microCT (Lab 1)
Upper Palaeozoic shallow water Fauna: the Fusulinina Suborder
Lab 1: Fusulinina in thin sections

Day 7 (18 June Sunday) Papazzoni & Briguglio
Shallow water K/T boundary and Palaeocene LBF associations
The Eocene biodiversity (I): the genus Nummulites
The Eocene biodiversity (II): the genus Alveolina
Lab 1: Palaeocene, Alveolina & Nummulites

Day 8 (19 June Monday) Hohenegger, Papazzoni & Briguglio
The Eocene biodiversity (III): the Orthophragminids
Oligo-Miocene LBF associations
Lab 1: Orthophragminids, Lepidocyclinids and Miogypsinids
LBF biostratigraphy, Oppel zones and applications   
Modern LBF: ecology, distribution (now and future), applications
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 (20 June Tuesday) 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 (21 June Wednesday)


Day 11 (22 June Thursday) 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 12 (23 June Friday) Kucera
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 13 (24 June Saturday) 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

Day 14 (25 June Sunday) Petrizzo
Paleogene Planktonic Foraminifera
Notes on Paleoceanography
Lab 1: Paleogene index species
Task 1: Morphology of Paleogene PF
Task 2: Identification of biozones

Day 15 (26 June Monday) 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 16 (27 June Tuesday) Kaminski & Gooday
Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of monothalamous foraminifera including deep-sea, freshwater and terrestrial species
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 17 (28 June Wednesday) 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

Day 18 (29 June Thursday)  Cetean & Alegret
Biostratigraphy and Paleoecology of benthic foraminifera
The ODP record, Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Eocene hyperthermals and late Eocene
Lab: A review of late Cretaceous to Paleogene faunas and index taxa
Task 1: Paleodepth estimation based on upper depth limits of SBF
Task 2: Paleoproductivity/paleoxygen estimation based on SBF

Day 19 (30 June Friday) Kaminski & Foy
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 Micropalaeontology


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 any lecture different tasks will be assigned to participants to reinforce the knowledge learned. Course materials include numerous reprints of classic papers, distributed on digital format.

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.