Martin Glaessner’s foraminiferal micropalaeontology
Brian McGowran, 2013. "Martin Glaessner’s foraminiferal micropalaeontology", Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development, A. J. Bowden, F. J. Gregory, A. S. Henderson
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Martin Glaessner (1906–1989) began publishing on fossil decapod crustaceans as a teenager, took doctorates in palaeontology and jurisprudence in Vienna, and developed his interest in foraminifera. Alpine tectonics was a central and lifelong theme. A second theme was economic geology. A third was organic evolution, and here it is important to note that, although the main evolutionary influence was Othenio Abel’s palaeobiology, Glaessner avoided the Germanic extremes such as typostrophism arising from transformational evolution, becoming instead a variational evolutionist, that is, a Darwinian. Foraminifera took him to Moscow to organize research pertaining to hydrocarbon exploration and development. An outstanding clutch of publications in the mid-1930s were both evolutionary-taxonomic and biostratigraphical, the latter including the most compelling of all pre-war publications on the planktonic foraminifera. In Port Moresby and Melbourne in the 1940s, amongst applied micropalaeontology, reviewing and synthesis, he produced Principles of Micropalaeontology. In the 1950s and 1960s in Adelaide he supervised research extending from Cenozoic to Cambrian and Neoproterozoic, foraminifera and crabs to trilobites and stromatolites, meanwhile making the transition himself from foraminifera to the Ediacarans. Combining meticulous attention to evidence and detail with wide-ranging enquiry, he was a forerunner of the modern disciplines and mindsets such as palaeoceanography and integreted biogeohistory.
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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.