On the beginnings of palaeoceanography: Foraminifera, pioneers and the Albatross Expedition
Wolfgang H. Berger, 2013. "On the beginnings of palaeoceanography: Foraminifera, pioneers and the Albatross Expedition", Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development, A. J. Bowden, F. J. Gregory, A. S. Henderson
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The field of studies labelled palaeoceanography integrates research on foraminifers and other microfossils within their environment on deep-sea sediments raised by cores taken from ships. The first large-scale project deserving the label was the Swedish Deep-Sea Expedition, which used the sailing vessel Albatross and the then newly developed Kullenberg coring machine to raise hundreds of long cores from around the world during 1947–1948. Thus, just as the Challenger Expedition (1872–1876) serves as a marker point for the beginnings of oceanography, the Albatross represents the beginnings of palaeoceanography. The unique defining element – the link of micropalaeontology to ocean circulation and climate – came to dominate discussions in the 1950s with the reports by Gustaf Arrhenius and Cesare Emiliani. At the same time, important steps in the evolution of the new field depended on the expansion of the inventory of cores by major oceanographic institutions (especially Lamont Geological Observatory in Palisades, New York), and on the introduction of new dating methods. Subsequently, the field benefited from the increased use of various statistical techniques, as well as of numerical modelling, all of which profited greatly from the rapid growth of computing power.
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This TMS Special Publication comprises a collection of 23 papers with an international authorship reflecting on landmarks in the history and development of Foraminiferal micropalaeontology. The volume is prefaced by an introductory overview that provides a brief and selected historical setting, as well as the intended aims of the book. Selected developments in Foraminiferal studies from a global perspective are presented from the time of Alcide d’Orbignyand the founding of the Paris MNHN collections in the mid-nineteenth century to the use of foraminifera in industry, other museum collections, palaeoceanography and environmental studies, regional studies from the Southern Hemisphere and the riseand fall of significant research schools. The book concludes with a chapter on the modelling of foraminifera. Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development will be of particular interest to micropalaeontologists, other Earth scientists, historians of science, museum curators and the general reader with an interest in science.