Advances in planktonic foraminifer research: New perspectives for paleoceanography

Ralf Schiebel, Sandi M. Smart, Anna Jentzen, Lukas Jonkers, Raphaël Morard, Julie Meilland, Elisabeth Michel, Helen K. Coxall, Pincelli M. Hull, Thibault de Garidel-Thoron, Tracy Aze, Frédéric Quillévéré, Haojia Ren, Daniel Mikhail Sigman, Hubert B. Vonhof, Alfredo Martínez-García, Michal Kučera, Jelle Bijma, Howard J. Spero, Gerald H. Haug

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Planktonic foraminifer tests are major archives of environmental change and provide a multitude of proxies in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology. The application of such proxies is contingent upon a collaborative effort to better understand how the living organisms record the properties of their environment and how the resulting signals are recorded in marine sediments. In this contribution, we provide a review of the rapidly developing sub-fields of research, where new advances have been made possible by technological developments, and by cross-disciplinary work of the scientific community. Following brief historical overviews of the sub-fields, we discuss the latest advances in planktonic foraminifer research and highlight the resulting new perspectives in ocean and climate research. Natural classification based on consistent species concepts forms the basis for analysis of any foraminifer-derived proxy. New approaches in taxonomy and phylogeny of Cenozoic planktonic foraminifers (Section 2) are presented, highlighting new perspectives on sensitivity and response of planktonic foraminifers to the changing climate and environment (Section 4). Calibration of foraminifer-specific data and environmental parameters is improving along with the technical development of probes and the access to samples from the natural environment (Section 3), enhancing our understanding of the ever-changing climate and ocean system. Comprehension of sedimentation and flux dynamics facilitates maximum gain of information from fossil assemblages (Section 5). Subtle changes in the physical (e.g., temperature), chemical (e.g., pH), and biological (e.g., food) conditions of ambient seawater affect the abundance of species and composition of assemblages as well as the chemical composition of the foraminifer shell and provide increasingly-detailed proxy data on paleoenvironments (Section 6).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-138
Number of pages26
JournalRevue de Micropaleontologie
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Palaeontology


  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Sedimentation


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