Proposed Special Publication – The History of Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology
A note from our new editors.
As you may know, we (John Gregory and Mark Williams) are the current TMS Special Publications editors, following several years fine work by Malcolm Hart, Jeremy Young and Daniela Schmidt. The transfer of special publications to the Geological Society Publishing House has worked very well. They have produced our latest volumes, Deep-Time Perspectives in Climate Change and Recent Developments in Applied Biostratigraphy to very high standards, and they are supplying excellent support to editors.
We will of course continue to support Stratigraphical Atlas special publications, indeed the ostracod atlas is very near completion. We have also, however, spent some time thinking about other types of special publications we could usefully encourage in order to help promote our science and support its role in modern earth science research and petroleum geology. In fact, a minimal amount of brainstorming has resulted in a wide range of possibilities:
There has been an immense amount of research recently on the biology of microfossil groups, often largely driven by the need for better understanding of them in order to improve their use in micropalaeontology. In consequence classic guides such as the Coccolithophores book of Winter & Siesser (1994) or Hemleben’s Planktonic Foraminifera are increasingly out of date. We envisage that for any of the groups we specialise in there is potential for a new guide aimed at graduate students and researchers working with them. These might include review chapters by appropriate experts on topics such as – Organismal biology; test structure and formation; Physiological ecology; Classification and phylogeny; Extant biodiversity (with some kind of checklist or atlas); Biogeography; Study in sediment traps; study in core-top sediments; Geochemical studies; fossil record overview.
Micropalaeontology plays a key role in stratigraphy and we could take a lead in developing syntheses of the stratigraphy and biostratigraphy of key basins or formations. Such books might include synthesis chapters on the lithostratigraphic framework; sedimentary environments and facies; cyclostratigraphy and geochronology; macrofossil biostratigraphy; calcareous microfossil biostratigraphy; palynology, nannofossil biostratigraphy. Obviously these should be focussed on formations or basins of current industrial and/or academic research interest.
A few possibilities:
Plio-Pleistocene of NW Europe;North Sea Early Paleogene; The Chalk; The Paratethys, The Messinian of the Mediterranean
As micropalaeontology has become ever more diverse in scope and in applications the range of techniques we are using has grown considerably but there are few good manuals or information for new students. We do not think a single methods in micropalaeontology volume could be practical but do think volumes focussed on a sub-set of techniques could be invaluable. Possibilities might include:
Actuomicropalaeontology (methods in biologcal study of microfossil groups)
Palaeoproxies from microfossils (methods used in palaeoceanographic applications of microfossils)
Field & laboratory methods in Micropalaeontology
Morphometric study of microfossils
Statistical Techniques in Micropalaeontology
Automated identification of Microfossils
The Heroes of Micropalaeontology theme at the last AGM showed how rich the history of micropalaeontology is and a volume on the History of Foraminferal Micropalaeontology is being developed. There almost certainly is the potential for more volumes with an historical focus, which might be focussed on particular fossil groups, or on individual scientists (e.g. Haeckel and the study of radiolaria) or on particular episodes (e.g. The Deep Sea Drilling Project and the invention of palaeoceanography).
Numerous palaeoceanographic or palaeoclimatic projects involve large amounts of micropalaeontology and so provide potential for special publications. This could certainly include any IODP Leg or other research cruse with a strong palaeoceanographic focus but also EU Research Projects or other larger research projects.
The recent climate change book (full title Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies) is an impressive example of micropalaeontologists taking the lead in synthesing results from a multidisciplinary field with a mix of review and research articles. Other topics which might be suitable for this type of coverage with a strong but not exclusive focus on micropalaeontological aspects include:
Biosteering of horizontal wells
Cyclostratigraphy and recalibration of the geological timescale
Biomineralization by eukaryotic protists
The evolution of eukaryote diversity
Biogenic fluxes to the deep sea.
Microfossils as provenance indicators in archaeological and forensic science.
How to implement this?
As series editors we intend to play a supporting role in this, encouraging proposals and supporting editors, but keeping as light a touch as possible. We will be proactively encouraging likely editors of a few of the possible topics, but we would very much like TMS specialist groups and individual members to propose taking on any of these topics. The basic process would be first to informally contact either of us to suggest working up a concept (so we can ensure there is no duplication of endeavours). We would then ask editors to develop a book proposal for approval by the TMS committee and Geological Society Publishing House. The typical length of books should be 200-400 pages.
We are not interested in loosely focussed collections of research papers from open meetings, but there is a very strong case for using focussed research meetings or special sessions of large conferences (e.g. EGU, AGU, NAPC) as benchmarks in the development of publication projects. A very effective model is to require submission of manuscripts at the time of the meeting.
Advantages of publishing through the TMS special publication series are, that this provides strong support for our society and science; that the society will provide support and encouragement; that the publishing house will provide professional copy editing, high quality publication, and effective marketing of the book.
We feel TMS has established a really valuable relationship with the publishing house and that this provides great potential to develop a series of publications which promote and enable micropalaeontology. We will be very happy to hear from any of you.
John Gregory (PetroStrat Ltd. and the NHM, UK)
Mark Williams (University of Leicester, UK)