Beyond Biostratigraphy - Information retrieval from coccoliths

One day TMS/INA workshop, Angers, France, Thursday 23rd June 2016


Coccoliths have an exceptionally complete and well-preserved fossil record that has been widely exploited by biostratigraphers and paleoceanographers since the 1960s. More recently, research has increasingly focused on coccoliths as a tool that can provide information on past ocean conditions, and on understanding coccolithophore cellular responses to environmental changes. The development of methods to extract coccoliths from sediments, and parallel advances in laboratory culture studies, ocean sampling, and microscopy have paved the way for the application of new geochemical and morphological proxies in coccolith studies. This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on modern and fossil coccolithophores to integrate our understanding of coccolithophore cellular processes, community interactions, and responses to environmental forcing across multiple time scales and how these can be diagnosed in the fossil record. In turn, we aim to identify priority areas for our research community's on-going work.

Workshop organisers


The Foraminiferal and Nannofossil working groups (FNG) of the Micropalaeontological Society have organised a joint annual meeting in early summer since 2004 (a memorable event in Copenhagen). This has become a very successful event for presenting research on these groups, especially at the biology/geology interface. Nannofossil participation has been lower in some years but we ran a very successful and well attended workshop last year on Discoasters and have decided to follow up this year looking at how a range of different approaches are opening up new ways of studying fossil coccoliths.

Participants will be very welcome to contribute to the main FNG meeting (see website for more details http://www.tmsoc.org/foram-nanno-2016/) and/or participate in the field trip led by our charismatic host Frans Jorissen to the rather lovely Ile de Noirmoutier. Alternatively it would be possible to just participate for the workshop day.

Proposed Format

The workshop is anticipated to have a participation of 15-25 nannoplankton researchers including both a group of specialists with expertise in certain fields and others with more general interest. The workshop will take the form of a series of about six review/discussion presentations by the invited specialists with plenty of time for discussion after each presentation and the opportunity to continue discussions informally - we will find somewhere nice for dinner. Initial invited contributors (not confirmed, but we thought you would like to know which of your friends we are trying to encourage - of course anyone else is welcome to attend)
  1. Optimising methods of extracting coccoliths for geochemical analysis (Fabrice Minoletti)
  2. Geochemical indicators of cellular processes (Heather Stoll)
  3. New techniques for deep-time coccolith geochemistry (Tom Dunkley Jones)
  4. Advances in coccolithophore culturing (Gerald Langer + Ian Probert)
  5. Modern real-ocean coccolithophore studies (Alex Poulton)
  6. Seasonal to multi-decadal coccolithophore studies in relation to changing carbonate chemistry (Patrizia Ziveri)
  7. Morphological approaches to look at evolution in relation to changing environment (Paul Bown)

Update (June 2016) - finalised list of talks

  1. Tom Dunkley Jones - New techniques for deep-time coccolith geochemistry
  2. Patrizia Ziveri - Seasonal to multi-decadal coccolithophore studies in relation to changing carbonate chemistry
  3. Fabrice Minoletti - Optimising methods of extracting coccoliths for geochemical analysis
  4. Ian Probert - Advances in coccolithophore culturing & molecular genetics
  5. Sarah O'Dea - Using coccosphere geometry in the fossil record.
  6. Gerald Langer - Recent work on coccolithophore physiology and biomineralisation
  7. Heather Stoll - Geochemical indicators of cellular processes