Nannoplankton - some essential references

Nannoplankton literature is extensive and scattered across a wide range of geological and biological journals, books and monographs. The largest online bibliography is provided by the Nannotax website, and a listing of significant monographs and special publications and books on the monographs page of this site. We recommend the following review volumes:


viennaMost INA conferences have resulted in collections of papers being published as proceedings volumes, usually as journal special issues. The information on these, including links to publishers' websites wherever possible, is now on a separate Conferences Page


ascona H. R. Thierstein and J. R. Young (eds.) 2004 Coccolithophores from molecular processes to global impact Springer ISBN 3-540-21928-5. 565pages.
Results of the CODENET project and related review articles. This is the best available overview of the field of cocccolithophore research including biochemical, biological, oceranographic, evolutionary and geological aspects. Links: book website for supplementary data, etc, contents, Publisher's website for ordering information.


medcoccos-sq Malinverno E., Dimiza M.D, Triantaphylou M., Dermitzakis M. D. & Corselli C. (2008) Coccolithopohres of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: A look into the marine microworld Ion Publishing Group, Peristeri. 188pp. ISBN 97-960411-660-7
A beautifully illustrated atlas of nannopankton from the Mediterranean, featuring spectacularly diverse oligotrophic communities of the region. A special feature of the book is inclusion of colour light micrograph illustrations of coccolithophores as well as scanning electron micrographs. Also the book is trilingual, with parallel English, Italian and Greek text. NB The publisher does not seem to be functional any more (2017), but the authors may have back issues.
INACD Young J.R., Geisen M., Cros L., Kleijne A., Sprengel C., Probert I. & Oostergaard J. (2003) A Guide to Extant Coccolithophore Taxonomy Journal of Nannoplankton Research special issue 1, 125pp.
The definitive guide to identification of coccolithophores, all species are illustrated with high quality SEMs with descriptive notes on opposite page. More information and PDF download
cros Cros L. & Fortuņo J-M (2002) Atlas of Northwestern Mediterranean Coccolithophores Scientia Marina 66 (suppl. 1): 7-182 (eds. 1994).
A beautifully illustrated monograph on extant nannoplankton of the W. Mediterranean including numerous new taxa. The only available monograph with high quality modern SEMs. Ordering information from Scientia Marina, also available free as a PDF
coccolithophores Winter S. & Siesser W.G. (eds. 1994). Coccolithophores. Cambridge University Press. 242p. ISBN 0-521-38050-2.
Reviews of modern coccolithophore biology, ecology, taxonomy and biogeography, including species level taxonomic synthesis and excellent SEM atlas. The scope and treatment is ideal for oceanographers and geologists.

Green J.C. & Leadbeater B.S.C. (eds. 1994) The Haptophyte Algae. Systematics Association Special Volume 51, 379-392. Oxford University Press. 446p. ISBN 0-19-857772-9.
Another collection of review chapters focussing, however, on cell biology and ultrastructure, molecular genetics, biochemistry, and phylogenetic data. Little for the practical biostratigraphers, but essential reading for palaeobiologists.


planktonstrat Bolli, H.M., Saunders, J.B., and Perch-Nielsen, K. (eds. 1985), Plankton stratigraphy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1006p. Nannofossils by Katharina Perch-Nielsen (two chapters, 225p.)
The nannofossil biostratigrapher's bible. Imperfect perhaps, and somewhat dated but still the closest thing to a comprehensive review. More discussion and more diagrams than Bown (1998) so still a very useful complement to it. Out of print
nanno-strat Bown P.R. (ed 1998): Calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy. British Micropalaeontological Society Series, Kluwer Academic. ISBN 0-412-78970-1, 328 p.
A species level review, with papers by Bown & Young (introductory, methods), Bown (Triassic, Jurassic), Bown & Rutledge (Early Cretaceous), Burnett (Late Jurassic), Osman (Palaeogene), Young (Neogene), Hine and Weaver (Quaternary). Treatment varies between chapters but most include major reviews of nannofossil zonation and atlases of plates illustrating all important species. This is perhaps the single most useful book for any working biostratigrapher and an ideal companion to Perch-Nielsen (1985). Out of print.
Warning: The print-on-demand version has appalling plate-reproduction and is not worth buying


farinacci Farinacci, A. - 1989: Catalogue of Calcareous Nannofossils; volumes 1-13. each about 250 p.
Edizioni Tecnoscienza. Catalogue of original taxonomic descriptions, similar to the Ellis & Messina catologue of foraminifera. Includes calcispheres and living calcareous nannoplankton. Anna Fariniacci generously transfered copyright for this work to the INA in 2009 and a CD version was prepared and included with JNR 32/2. Subsequently the catalogue has been updated and extended to 20 volumes by Rich Howe. The entire catalog is now available online as part of the Nannotax website.
aubry Aubry, M.-P. Handbook of Cenozoic calcareous nannoplankton, Micropaleontology Press, American Museum of Natural History, New York.
Species level catalogue based on original descriptions plus additional comments and illustrations and overviews of larger groups. Publisher's information
  • Book 1: Ortholithae (Discoasters). 266 p., 12 text-fig., 827 fig.
  • Book 2: Ortholithae (Catinasters, Ceratoliths, Rhabdoliths). , 279 p, 18 text-fig., 935 fig.
  • Book 3: Ortholithae (Pentaliths, and others) Heliolithae (Fasciculiths, Sphenoliths and others). 279 p., 992 figs.
  • Book 4: Heliolithae (Helicoliths, Cribriliths, Lopadoliths and others). 381 p., 1403 fig.
  • Books 5-8: possibly available as PDFs.


INACD Electronic Calcareous nannofossils was a CD-ROM produced by Woody Wise and colleagues for INA incorporating a taxonomic database, bibliography, and other content. This system has now been supersed by the nannotax online database so it has not been updated. Information on it is available here.
nannotax Nannotax is by far the largest single online source of information on both living coccolithophores and nannofossils.
algaebase Algaebase is a massive database on algal taxonomy and the prime source for most other online taxonomy listings (e.g. Encyclopedia of Life, WoRMS). Its coverage of extant coccolithophores is mostly good, although it is rather random in terms of fossil coverage.