Statistical modelling of ecological signals: A new method for biostratigraphy
Published:January 01, 2005
B. Dale, A. L. Dale, I. Prince, 2005. "Statistical modelling of ecological signals: A new method for biostratigraphy", Recent Developments in Applied Biostratigraphy, A. J. Powell, J. B. Riding
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Research over the past few decades has shown that recent marine dinoflagellate cyst assemblages are strongly influenced by environmental factors, and statistical modelling of ecological signals (SMES) therefore has potential application for interpretation of fossil dinocysts in biostratigraphy. Towards this end a global database of recent cyst distributions from known environments has been developed using statistical methods that most accurately reflect and quantify the ecological signals expressed by the cysts. The first test is reported here of the application of SMES to industrial biostratigraphy using a palynology dataset from four wells along an onshore-offshore transect from the Norwegian North Sea provided by Statoil. The wells were part of a larger study on palaeoenvironments previously completed by Statoil on approximately 48 wells, where some of the traditional multivariate statistical methods had been tried but without success. The palaeoenvironment was thus partly understood, allowing the SMES method to be tested against a control.
Correspondence analysis on the dinocyst data from each well allowed the identification of the statistically most important species, and the relative positions of these species along the two most important axes suggested ecological trends (the coastal/oceanic being most dominant). Tracking these down-hole showed two major shifts in each well that could be correlated between all wells; the shifts corresponded to major flooding surfaces previously identified, and suggested orientation of the well sites relative to a palaeo-shoreline. This first test strongly suggests that these methods offer a much quicker, and more robust application for palaeoenvironmental interpretations from the dinocysts in biostratigraphic datasets.
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Recent Developments in Applied Biostratigraphy
In recent years the application of biostratigraphy to hydrocarbon exploration and development has become increasingly important both scientifically and economically. The demand for higher stratigraphical resolution in field development studies has resulted in the utilization of new approaches. However, in under-explored areas with little reliable primary biostratigraphical data, conventional methods using relatively coarse biozonations still have relevance. The aim of this volume is to encourage an exchange of ideas and to seed new research initiatives particularly within integrated multidisciplinary teams. The papers are divided into four main themes which cover a broad range of modern applications of biostratigraphy. The first three themes are: UK North Sea field development; outcrop analogues; and international exploration and development. The final section discusses new methodologies, such as the application of correspondence analysis and multivariate correlation of wells, and palynological processing techniques applicable to the wellsite.