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Foraminifera of siliciclastic and mixed siliciclastic–carbonate continental margins are sensitive to changes in sea level because of the complex biological, chemical, and physical oceanographic variables that help to shape foraminiferal niche space. Data on foraminiferal distribution and abundance provide useful proxies for paleoenvironment. Here we emphasize the importance of salinity, temperature, seasonality, food supply (productivity), and dissolved oxygen in controlling the nature of marginal marine, neritic, and upper bathyal foraminiferal biofacies. We also elaborate on the paleoecologic significance and utility of using planktic:benthic ratios, diversity indices, and similarity coefficients for interpreting changes in relative sea level. The recognition and correlation of the systems tracts that define sequence stratigraphic architecture reliably hinge on multi-proxy micropaleontologic evidence, particularly that provided by benthic and planktic foraminifera, coupled with sedimentology and geochemistry.

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