Deciphering the History of the World's Oceans with Single-Celled Fossils, Oct. 15

katz.jpgProfessor Mimi Katz from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Ocean Leadership speaker for 2012 will be visiting campus on Monday, Oct.15 at noon in Darwin 107 to discuss single-celled fossils.

Single-celled microfossils that lived on the seafloor, called benthic foraminifera, have provided much of the foundation for reconstructions of past ocean and climate conditions, including ancient sea-level changes.

Different benthic foraminiferal species typically colonize certain water depth ranges, with key depth-indicator species providing an invaluable tool for reconstructing paleobathymetry. The paleodepth history of a site can be determined by documenting benthic foraminiferal changes.


Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 313 drilled a critical nearshore segment of the New Jersey margin transect that extends from the onshore coastal plain to the continental slope. The transect is designed to unravel the complex relationships between global sea level change and margin sedimentation.


In conjunction with sediment studies, benthic foraminifera provide the basis to reconstruct past sea-level changes and to decipher the continental margin sedimentation response to sea-level change.

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