Image Analysis of Paleogene Calcareous Nannoplankton: Phylogenetic, Biochronologic and Paleoceanographic Applications

Project: Research project

Project Details


An image analysis system attached to a scanning electron microscope will be utilized to obtain morphometric measurements of selected Paleogene calcareous nannoplankton. This technology will open up a new method in studying nannoplankton phylogeny, which has hitherto been hindered by the small size of these fossils. The combination of scanning electron microscopy and image analysis enable detailed measurements of several morphological parameters to be made on a large number of specimens, leading to data set which can be statistically evaluated in terms of phylogenetic trends. The simple shape of nannoplankton lends itself to shape analysis using uncomplicated and unambiguous parameters. The intention of this study is to construct a morphometric/phylogenetic scheme which is largely independent of previous taxonomic complications. Construction of this scheme will allow: 1) Quantitative assessment of the evolutionary mode and tempo of the calcareous nannoplankton through the Paleogene, 2) Correlation of evolutionary trends with paleoceanographic and paleoenvironmental events, and 3) Development of a 'morphometric biochronology' in which an age and error bar can be obtained from morphological measurements on a small number of specimens.

Effective start/end date1/1/926/30/94


  • National Science Foundation: $49,994.00


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