Historical review of New Zealand foraminiferal studies
Bruce W. Hayward, George H. Scott, 2013. "Historical review of New Zealand foraminiferal studies", Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development, A. J. Bowden, F. J. Gregory, A. S. Henderson
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The early history of foraminiferal studies in New Zealand is an example of the vagaries that beset science in a small community significantly isolated from the centre of research in Europe. As in many other countries, hydrocarbon exploration provided the eventual impetus for sustained research on the application of foraminiferal microfossils to biostratigraphy. The ‘father’ of NZ foraminiferal micropalaeontology, Harold Finlay (1901–1951), was the first NZ-based professional micropalaeontologist. He developed an NZ-specific foraminifera-based Cenozoic timescale of local stages which, although refined by his successor Norcott Hornibrook and others, has remained remarkably stable for the last 60 years. It still plays a major role in geological mapping, hydrocarbon exploration, palaeogeographic and palaeoclimate reconstructions. Hornibrook fostered the expansion of NZ micropalaeontological studies and established a national foraminiferal collection and database. Among those who he assisted in their early careers were Paul Vella and Graham Jenkins. Vella introduced foraminiferal palaeocology to NZ and pioneered its use in recognizing Cenozoic sea-level cycles in the 1960s. Using his knowledge of NZ foraminifera, Jenkins went on to develop the first planktonic zonation for the temperate regions of the world. The peak time for NZ foraminiferal studies was in the 1970s–1980s.