Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter


John E. Whittaker
John E. Whittaker
Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
David J. Horne
David J. Horne
Department of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK and Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK (e-mail:
Search for other works by this author on:
January 01, 2009


Although their value as palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic proxies is widely acknowledged, ostracods have traditionally been considered to be of only limited use in British Pleistocene biostrati-graphy. To some extent this is due to the patchy and fragmentary nature of most onshore Pleistocene deposits, precluding the establishment of long, continuous records on which to base species ranges. It is also a result of taxonomic continuity; the majority of British Pleistocene species are still alive today and relatively few extinct taxa, such as might provide stratigraphical markers, have been recognized. Examples of the latter were discussed by Griffiths (2001) in his review of the use of European freshwater ostracods as biostratigraphic indicators, including Scottia browniana (Jones, 1850), Ilyocy-pris quinculminata Sylvester-Bradley, 1973 and Amplocypris tonnensis Diebel & Pietrzeniuk, 1975. The presence or absence of species in any particular stratigraphical or geographical location is usually best explained, however, in terms of local environmental conditions and/or climate. This is true not only of Britain, but of the rest of the world in general. An excellent and comprehensive recent work, Holmes & Chivas’ (2002)The Ostracoda: Applications in Quaternary Research, covers palaeoceanography and palaeoenvironmen-tal analysis (including trace-element and stable-isotope techniques) in detail but has no chapter on biostratigraphy.

Perceptions of the biostratigraphical value of Pleistocene ostracods are changing. Studies carried out on ostracod assemblages from new excavations of Pleistocene sites in Britain, coupled with taxo-nomic revisions, are revealing a growing number of taxa with limited chronostratigraphic ranges. At the same time, multidisciplinary

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables


The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications

Ostracods in British Stratigraphy

Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2009




Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal