Foraminiferology in Australia, 1843–present
Studies of foraminifera in Australia can be divided into three phases: colonial, when studies were conducted on samples supplied by visitors to Australia, generally in the United Kingdom; transitional, when work was done in Australia largely by specialists who migrated; and the home-grown or modern era, when Australia produced its own students who either did the work in Australia or called upon international expertise when appropriate. Australian foraminiferologists now study samples from nearby countries that do not have their own specialists. Many specialists have been involved but few in academia have been able to develop long-lasting ‘schools’ of study. The large area, long geological record and small number of institutions and workers ensure that scope exists for an exciting future. This paper documents the Phanerozoic history of marine sedimentation and major results, and comments briefly on the main students of foraminifera in Australia. Foraminifera have been critical fossils in the evolution of an understanding of Australian marine stratigraphy, particularly from Devonian and younger sections.