During the 19th century studies of ostracods of the British Carboniferous were promoted by the extraction of coal, iron and other minerals. As described in more detail later, this was a period of great activity resulting in numerous publications concerned with ostracod taxonomy but few with stratigraphic applications.
Despite renewed economic importance of the Carboniferous in the latter part of the 20th century resulting from the exploration for oil and gas, further publication on British Carboniferous ostracod faunas was rather limited as the biostratigraphic application of other groups (miospores, foraminifera and conodonts) gained precedence. Compared to some other Periods, ostracods have consequently played a fairly insignificant role in industrial biostratigraphy in the Carboniferous.
The most significant work towards the end on the century was by Robinson (1978a), in a forerunner to this publication. That account stands out as a work of importance in our understanding of British Carboniferous ostracod faunas. In the present chapter we have drawn heavily upon Robinson's work but expanded its scope by including entomozoids from the Courceyan marine basin facies and Westphalian species from non-marine deposits and marine bands. We hope, therefore, the result will be a useful synthesis of our knowledge of British Carboniferous ostracods as it stands at the beginning of the 21st century, even though there is still considerable scope for future work in the fields of taxonomy, palaeoecology and stratigraphy.
Figures & Tables
This book charts the stratigraphical distribution of ostracods in the Cambrian to Pleistocene deposits of Britain and outlines their utility for dating and correlating rock sequences, as well as indicating aspects of their palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographical significance. These small bivalved crustaceans are the most abundant arthropods in the fossil record. Indeed, the stratigraphy of Britain, which embraces many type-sequences, provides a particularly rich and full record of them, from at least the basal Ordovician, and from the British Cambrian there is a biostratigraphy based on their ‘relatives’, the bradoriids and phosphatocopids. Ostracod distributions demonstrate the ecological success story of the group, occupying as they do marine, non-marine and even ‘terrestrial’ habitats. Written by current specialists in the field, this book is an authoritative account and will be welcomed by all micropalaeontologists and applied geologists in the industrial and academic world alike. It is richly illustrated with over 80 plates of electron micrographs and specially drawn maps, diagrams and range-charts.