The Micropalaeontological Society

The History of Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology

Proposed Special Publication

Alan J. Bowden

We had a successful AGM of the TMS on 7th November 2007 which also celebrated the bicentenary of the Geological Society of London by taking a historical theme to its proceedings.  Following on from this we have decided to be more ambitious and assemble a series of key articles for a Special Publication of T.M.S. It has been decided to enlarge the scope of the publication to provide a global view of the history of foraminiferal micropaleontology as we feel that the discipline is standing at a watershed in its history. Our aim as an editorial team is to produce an integrated text that will have significant international scope.

Whilst thinking about the proposed topics I and my co-editors are aware of the many impassioned debates that have occurred throughout micropalaeontology as a discipline, not the least concerning classification. The submitted articles should stress the chain of events historically, the development and modification of ideas and personalities involved. All articles will be subject to the normal peer review process. If you are interested in contributing please contact me or my co-editors: Dr Andy Henderson or Dr John Gregory.We are anticipating a book length of 400-500 pages. Below is a list of suggested topics and ideas for the book.  These are purely for guidance and all other suggestions are very welcome.

If you feel that you are able to make some form of contribution towards the volume we would be delighted to hear from you. You may have an idea for a topic that is not currently explored within the scope of the work that would be applicable. Our aim is to produce a volume that would be a valuable and significant addition to the literature which would have lasting value.

Alan J. Bowden
Curator of Earth Sciences
National Museums Liverpool,
William Brown Street,
Liverpool. L3 8EN.
United Kingdom.
t 0151 478 4367
f 0151 478 4350

The History of Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology – Book plan

Section 1: The beginning of foraminiferal studies

Early beginnings 18th – 19th century (William Boys, Walker & Jacob, Fichtel & Moll, Colonel George Montagu)
From Alcide d’Orbigny and Felix Dujardin, the rise of European Foramifera studies.

The Gentleman naturalists – Victorian microscopy, an evening’s recreation (William Benjamin Carpenter, William Crawford Williamson, William Kitchen Parker, Thomas Rupert Jones, Henry Bowman Brady and Joseph Wright)

Dredging: a Victorian/Edwardian pursuit (Royal Irish Academy, Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club, Tyneside Naturalists’ Field Club and the Berwickshire Naturalists’ Club  amongst others), role of the Quekett  Microscopical Club.

The legacy of the Challenger expedition and Brady’s 1884 monograph.

The German contribution: Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg, Johann Ludwig Rhumbler, A.E.Reuss

A Hungarian Interlude – Á. Franzenau

An American Pioneer J.M.Flint

Bridging the gap from Brady to Cushman – the role of Frederick Chapman.

Taxonomy (Lumpers and Splitters) – the British School versus Europe and the States

Section 2: The rise of professionalism

Post Challenger and the rise of industrial applications (The work of Józef Grzybowski and Joseph Cushman)
Industrial micropalaeontology – the influence of Oil Exploration and early biostratigraphic applications. The work of Williams-Mitchell, Martin Glaessner, Subbotina, Bolli, Banner, Bandy, Blow, Berger, Stainforth and others.

The role of larger Foraminifera

The role of Planktonic Foraminifera

Oil and the supply of micropalaeontologists, the rise of University research schools  such as Imperial, UCL, East Anglia, Plymouth and Aberystwyth.

Expanding the view: Deep Sea Drilling Project, deep sea sediments and Allogrominid research.

Post war twentieth century heroes: Paul Bronniman, Geoffrey Adams, Alan Bé, Hiroshi Ujiie, Fred Banner, Helen Nina Tappan & Alfred R. Loeblich, William V. Sliter, Esteban Boltovskoy, Norcot Hornibrook, Kyoshi Asano,  Fred Phleger plus many others. (This should not become a list of potted biographies but more of an integrated approach to review the significance of those foraminiferologists in the latter 20th century,, now deceased, who have made great contributions to our understanding of stratigraphy, palaeoecology, systematics etc. not covered in the other sections).

Changing directions – a modern perspective and the apparent decline of post-graduate training

Section 3: Changing Times

A change in balance – the rise of environmental micropalaeontology

The development of quantitative foraminiferal studies, morphometrics and multivariate analysis.

Issues of global climate change, isotope and trace element studies and the use of foraminifera as palaeoceanographic proxy carriers, sea level reconstructions, molecular genetics and taxonomic revision.

Section 4: Collections and Collectors

The history of foraminiferal micropalaeontology collections and collectors (Heron Allen & Earland, Fortescue William Millett ).
Institutions holding foraminiferal collections (Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Natural History Museum Vienna,  Hungarian National Museum, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, Keele University, Jagiellonian University, Buenos Aires Natural History Museum, Japanese Institutes etc).

Section 5: Depiction of Form

The development of illustration from pen and ink to SEM, from plaster models (d’Orbigny  – Zheng  Shouyi)  to computer graphics.

Section 6: Keeping alive the legacy

Retrospectives. A review of the work of early micropalaeontologists in the light of modern research (revisiting the research of early micropalaeontologists – ahead of their time, a lasting legacy).

The role of specialist scientific societies  (Histories of the Cushman Foundation, Grzybowski Foundation, Micropalaeontological Society, Quekett  Microscopical Club etc)

Section 7: Epilogue

The future of foraminiferal studies.