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Foraminiferea at depth[edit]

Foraminifera found on the top centimetre of sediment at Challenger Deep, 10,896m below the surface. [1] One diffrence is these foraminifera have a soft shell, unlike those found in shallow depth which has hard shell. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wk_muriithi (talkcontribs) . 00:48, 5 February 2005‎ (UTC)

Organic-walled forams can be found at shallow depths as well. The people who study forams were excited about the Challenger Deep discovery because their study organisms now have the distinction of being some of the deepest-dwelling creatures!
Safay 20:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Their role in the formation of sand[edit]

Could someone please explain how these forams contribute to the formation of sand? Some information on the subject can be found at

Thanks for the Susan Scott article link.

In tropical places where there is not a lot of input of terrestrial material, the white sand is made of calcium carbonate. That calcium carbonate comes from broken up coral, broken shells of molluscs, echinoderms, and othermarine animals, calcareous algae like Halimeda, and the tests of foraminifera. The tests of foraminifera sometimes makes up a significant proportion of the sand. In Kudaka Island in Japan, the sand on the backreef is almost entirely made up of foram tests. So these tiny creatures, which live on the reef or on the surface of the sand, die and leave behind their tests.

Foraminifera have been refered to as "Living Sands" by John J. Lee, in my estimation the greatest living contributor to foram biology. If you have access to academic journals, he has written an excellent general introduction to endosymbiont-bearing forams: John J. Lee, 1995. Living Sands. BioScience 45(4):252-60.

Safay 20:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Not all forams are marine[edit]

Not all modern forams are marine, although all planktic ones (and all testate benthics) are. Modern molecular work groups numerous 'naked' non-testate benthic forms inside the foraminiferal clade, some of which are freshwater.Badgerpatrol 04:32, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Can you provide a reference? Various non-testate amoebae used to be considered forams, but last I heard molecular work only supported the inclusion of Reticulomyxa, and that was only two or three years ago. Josh

Hi Josh- The ones I was particularly thinking of were Nature 399, 27, 1999 'Naked foraminiferans revealed', Pawlowski et al., and 'The evolution of early Foraminifera', Pawlowski et al., PNAS, 2003, 100, 20, 11494-11498 (full text here), but a quick glance at the web also reveals Pawlowski et al. 'Molecular evidence that Reticulomyxa filosa is a freshwater naked foraminifer' J Eukaryot Microbiol. 1999, 46(6):612-7. (abstract here), 'Molecular phylogeny of Foraminifera a review' Pawlowski and Holzmann European Journal of Protistology, 38, 1,2002,1-10 (abstract) and especially 'Freshwater Foraminiferans Revealed by Analysis of Environmental DNA Samples' The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 50, 2, 135-139 (abstract). Although all of these come from the same research group (largely because few others are working in this area, I think), the evidence for placement of FW protists within the foram clade seems now to be quite strong. I must stress that my knowledge of benthic forams is very scant and it is very likely that you will have a greater familiarity with the literature! Cheers, Badgerpatrol 00:06, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I didn't realize Reticulomyxa was freshwater or know about the environmental samples, but I should have remembered some of the simple-shell forams are, given that I mentioned such another page. Thanks. Josh

Note here that there is a disjunct between the systematics and phylogenetics - the evidence so far says that the reticulomyxa nest within the (clade including all) foraminifera, but I don't think there has been a revision to the taxonomy. I think everyone is waiting for more data to come in before shaking up the taxonomy - the papers you cite above, as far as I remember, only include sequence data from a single locus. I'd say that more loci need to be sequenced and more exemplars need to be included in the analysis before anyone is ready to "definitively" revise the taxonomy. Safay 06:09, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

On a similar note, my understanding was that planktic forams, unlike benthics, were (I think...) exclusively sexually reproductive?Badgerpatrol 00:11, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Plain English[edit]

I think this article is a bit to technical for the neophyte. I would love to see it broken down a bit more into plain English, for the rest of us! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Margareta (talkcontribs) .

I agree. It is important to have the technical information included, but I think it would be nice if the introduction was limited to discussion the layman could understand. Pafferguy (talk) 17:52, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Cite references[edit]

In-text citations in general and introductory artcles may be nice to have, but are superfluous. End of article references in this case should suffice. In-text citations are only critical in professional, academic, (and original) works of science.

I noticed you don't have a reference for the number of extinct or fossil forams.

I don't know how to add references (yet), and haven't taken the time (yet) to track down the original article, but I ran across this website:

"Evolution at Sea - a Complete Fossil Record from the Ocean Upholds Darwin's Gradualism Theories" adapted from an article that first appeared in Research in Review, published by Florida State University, on-line article revised Oct. 1997

and it has this statement in it:

About 330 species of living and extinct planktonic forams have been classified so far. After thorough examinations of marine sediments collected from around the world, micropaleontologists now suspect these are just about all the free-floating forams that ever existed.

They have also classified them and tracked their evolution for over 500,000 years with a virtually complete record of the transistions. Good reading.

This may be an online version of the original article:

It has much the same information and an earlier date (1995)

paul 12:49, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

There are a lot more than 330 (planktonic species- there are many thousands of recognised species overall, if benthics are included also), but the exact number depends largely on personal opinion. Different workers synonymise species as they see fit; given recent work, it's probable that there are actually (i.e. phylogenetically defined) at least several thousand planktonic species (although it may not be possible to recognise all or even most of these). Off the top of my head, I'd suggest that there are maybe 2-3 thousand described species, most of which are obviously synonymous. Loeblich and Tappan may give an exact estimate of actual planktonic diversity in one of their papers. I doubt if that particular journal is peer-reviewed (sounds like a faculty newsletter or similar) but if it is then why not put it in as a placemarker for now, if the actual printed paper can be located. Badgerpatrol 15:33, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Evolutionary significance[edit]

Someone suggested to me that this article would/should be improved with coverage of Foraminifera's unique evolutionary significance. Foraminifera are absolutely unparalleled in their ultra high resolution continuous and complete fossil record record documenting their evolutionary history, making them exceptionally important and exceptionally common subjects of research testing and examining the process of evolution in exceptional detail. The section needs work and citations (I'm not comfortable coding citations yet). If someone wants to add proper citations, take a look at this page: for some potential references to cite which cover most of the information I added. Note: I kept the section deliberately short... maybe too short. I almost didn't add the section at all out of an excess of caution *not* wanting to hijack the Foraminifera article into an evolution advocacy platform, but on careful consideration I decided that the information was specifically significant to Foraminifera and definitely did warrant coverage here. Even if one rejects evolution, Foraminifera's unique usage by in evolutionary research is undeniable and quite notable. Any evolution doubters who happen to learn that transitional fossils really *do* exist is certainly welcome gravy :), but it is not justification for putting an evolution lecture here. Alsee 15:08, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

No right-thinking person rejects evolution, it's a manifest fact. There is legitimate debate over the mechanism of evolution. I wouldn't allow fear of upsetting extremists affect your editing here on Wikipedia. Badgerpatrol 16:13, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

taxon ranks and other things[edit]

As one who studied micropaleontology and especially forams rather intensely some years back I'm not sure some of the new taxnomic perspectives (if they are that) are all that helpful. Some of the newer names such as Rhizaria and Retaria look like synonyms or quasi-synonyms for previously established names like Sarcodina and Rhizopoda.

Confusing too is the mix of ranked and unranked taxa (an oxymoron) , i.e. in groupes, out groups, up groups, and down groups. Am I getting confused with quarks? Any valid group can be a taxon. Persnickety rank is not important, but sequential position is. If an unranked but valid group comes between a class and an order, name it a subclass or superorder. If it comes between an order and a family, name it a suborder or superfamily, either one will do.

What becomes a problems is when a taxon, such as Foraminiferida, which is normally ranked as an order is suddenly elevated two steps to a phyllum. It's one thing to think of formanifera as either an order or superorder, or even a subclass. It's quite another to accept it as a superclass, subphyllum or phylllum. It doesn't work well in the greater scheme of things.

JM converse —Preceding undated comment added 00:50, 15 September 2009 (UTC).

Wrong Kingdom[edit]

Formaminifera is a taxon in the Kingdom Protozoa, alternatively Protista, or Protoctista, not Rhizaria. It may be in the Rhizaria, but Rhizaria is only an infrakingdom, as defined by Cavalier-Smith(2004), not a Kingdom.

The Wikipedia taxobox set with Rhizaria as a kingdom is in my view wrong and should be replaced with one in which the Kingdom actually follows Cavalier-Smith, Margulis, or other published expert.

For now the higher taxonomic relationships of foraminifera are misleading.

JM(talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:40, 3 October 2009 (UTC).

Well, I tried to adjust the taxobox to infer that Rhizaria is a taxon within Protista, but, then that wound up screwing up the taxobox. We may need to have the template tweaked somehow.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:55, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

08:18, 19 October 2010 (UTC)08:18, 19 October 2010 (UTC)~~

Rain forest soil[edit]

I think that the note about one species living in rain forest soil is wrong. There is a tropical rain forest termite species named Homallotermes foraminifer (Edwards et al., 1996), which probably has caused the confusion. Can someone confirm? Edwards, D.S.; Booth, W.E.; Choy, S.C. (Eds.) 1996. Tropical Rainforest Research - Current Issues. Series: Monographiae Biologicae, Vol. 74, 1996, 570 p. ISBN: 978-0-7923-4038-6 Don Richardo 08:12, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

No, nothing is wrong with it. Check Regards, Denis Barthel (talk) 20:36, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

What, no Class?[edit]

The taxobox jumps from Phylum Foraminifera to a list of foraminiferal orders, leaving out the intervening taxonomic rank. This can be solved by referring to the Foraminifera as a Class rather than a Phylum, which is commonly done, and referring the Phylum to the Granuloreticulosa. J.H.McDonnell (talk) 16:47, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Phylum or class? Most paleontologists use phylum.[edit]

If it helps in this dispute over the higher levels of taxonomy, I can add that most paleontologists (like me) use "Phylum Foraminifera". You can check this in Google Scholar with a simple search of recent papers. It is a continuing discussion, though. There are professional advocates for several higher taxonomic schemes. Wilson44691 (talk) 12:04, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Just came across this. Phylum Foraminifera is perfectly OK and there are good arguments for it. However those arguments do just as well for Class Foraminifera. If Phylum is used, the appropriate class should be included before what ever Order is presented. By the way when I took micropaleo back in the early '60s it was Order Foraminiferida. J.H.McDonnell (talk) 21:37, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
That is half a century ago though, and molecular phylogenetics has radically changed the understanding of Forams.--Kevmin § 15:04, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Foraminifera as a Climate Proxy[edit]

While this article describes how Foraminifera may be used to reconstruct climate it does not use the correct term in doing so. That term is climate proxy, and should be added to this article. Though the descriptions of data analyses processes (isotopic ratios) are also covered the article does not touch on the limitations of the proxy method, and rather presents an overly awestruck view of the method. I would suggest the insertion of a segment on how, as forams can be used to reconstruct the ancient environment, they only provide data from limited oceanic contexts which must be combined with other proxies to create comprehensive models. Additionally, perhaps it would make more sense to have separate paragraphs on the forams contributions to paleoclimatology/oceanography instead of combining it all into one. While the cited article on forams as a proxy is good, here are two other peer-reviewed articles which focus more completely on studying or utilizing forams: Lastly I would also suggest the addition of a figure to illustrate the relation of isotpic concentrations in foraminifera and temperature to complement the dense wording. Would appreciate feedback, I'm new at this. LMPrudh (talk) 02:51, 23 February 2017 (UTC)LMPrudh

Foraminifera as a proxy[edit]

1) Weaknesses of the foraminifera as a proxy method are not addressed. Strengths are that they are diverse, abundant, and complex. Examination of chemical isotopes within them can reveal information for different climate aspects. Their existence gives insight to the kind of conditions they lived in when the sediments were produced. There are practically no data analyses indicating what has been found with foraminifera as a proxy. But the article does talk about how isotopes can be analyzed for information. Although the article addresses their uses as a proxy, it does not tell of the assumption that the marine sediments have not moved around throughout time therefore moving the foraminifera around. 2) Some of the peer reviewed articles are from the early 2000s whereas there have been discoveries/improvements in their uses as proxies since then. Babila, Tali Lea. Boron/Calcium in planktonic foraminifera: proxy development and application to the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. Diss. Rutgers University-Graduate School-New Brunswick, 2014.

Pak, Dorothy K., et al. "Foraminiferal proxy response to ocean temperature variability and acidification over the last 150 years in the Santa Barbara Basin (California)." Quaternary International (2016).

Here are sources from 2014 and 2016 not in the article.

3) In terms of improving the article, it seems that there should be some figures or graphs displaying the information that has been gathered from the foraminifera. Also there could be a section on how the proxy of foraminifera indicate climate change in the past and today.

Matricardi.3 (talk) 06:52, 23 February 2017 (UTC)Jenal Matricardi

Foraminifera Proxy Data[edit]

This article goes well in depth about the Foraminifera with regards to the biology and different forms. However, the article just throws the importance of Foraminifera towards climate proxy data into a small paragraph included in the "Uses" part of the article. From the small section on climate proxy use, the article describes how the various forms of Foraminifera fossils are examined in ocean sediment samples to describe the history of Earth's climate. Some analyses include the stable isotope ratios in the shells of the Foraminifera, the trace elements found within the shells, and the types of environments they are found in describe the environment they lived in millions of years ago. This article mentions the strengths of using Foraminifera as proxy data but does not include the struggles scientists encounter trying to collect samples and fossils. It also does not describe how scientists retrieve samples for scientific studies. Aside from these criticisms the article has many great pictures and illustrations of the different forms of Foraminifera. The article also has a few links that are colored red that take you to an empty page on the Wikipedia website. The recommendations that could be useful would be finding relevant references to replace these red color coded links and to include more information on how Foraminifera are retrieved from the ocean sediments.

Here are some helpful articles that could be useful to contribute to these recommendations: [1] [2]

Kevinoravecz (talk) 07:15, 23 February 2017 (UTC)


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Oceanic acidification.[edit]

There is a point in the section "Uses" which quite correctly says that "Because calcium carbonate is susceptible to dissolution in acidic conditions", acidification in the oceans is likely harmful to foraminifera. It is perfectly correct in referring to the reduction of alkalinity by carbon dioxide as "acidification". It is my understanding that the problem is worse than that. It arises from acidification to the point of pH=8.0, which is still "alkaline" to a litmus test. I suggest a change in the text in "Because calcium carbonate is susceptible to dissolution in acidic conditions" from "acidic conditions" to "insufficiently alkaline conditions". I mention this because people who deny "climate change" hold that acidification means making the oceans acidic, i.e. pH < 7.0 . DaveyHume (talk) 21:09, 3 February 2019 (UTC)