UCL Earth Sciences


Marcin Latas

“Microfossils might be tiny but it is often the smallest things that make a big difference in science”

PhD project title:

Recalibration and revised biochronology of Pliocene - Pleistocene tropical planktonic foraminifera datums – IODP Expedition 363.

Marcin Latas
Project description:

The evolution and extinction of fossil species of planktonic foraminifera are used extensively to date and correlate Cenozoic marine sediments. However, the timing of many planktonic foraminiferal evolutionary and extinction events is still poorly constrained. Recently a number of apparent deficiencies in the tropical planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy and zonal schemes have been discovered, showing that there is a critical need to test new calibrations in open ocean sediments with well-defined magneto- and cyclo-stratigraphy.

New deep-sea drill cores from the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 363 have recovered Cenozoic sediments, with abundant and diverse assemblages of planktonic foraminifera, excellent recovery and clear magneto-stratigraphic and cyclo-stratigraphic age control. Four of these drill cores contain well preserved and diverse planktonic foraminiferal assemblages, coupled with magnetostratigraphic age control throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene time interval, which covers the last 5 million years. These cores give us the opportunity to re-address and re-calibrate many bioevents, improve Plio-Pleistocene biochronology and study biotic evolution. The refined record of evolutionary and extinction events from Indo-Pacific sites can be correlated with Atlantic Ocean events and the results will be directly linked with palaeoclimate records to determine biotic response to climate change.