The Milan school of foraminiferal micropalaeontology
Maria Rose Petrizzo, Isabella Premoli Silva, Maria Bianca Cita, 2013. "The Milan school of foraminiferal micropalaeontology", Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development, A. J. Bowden, F. J. Gregory, A. S. Henderson
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Studies of foraminifera in Milan are dated back to the 1940s and have been carried out since the 1950s, when a formal course in micropaleontology was introduced within the Masters degree in geology. Since the early days, the school of Milan has conducted landmark research projects from the Mesozoic to the Quaternary with a multidisciplinary approach, contributing to the development of modern biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, biochronology and to the definition of the stratotypes, and playing a fundamental role in deep ocean explorations. Over the years, foraminifera, and especially planktonic foraminifera, have been extensively investigated in terms of species diversification and evolution, enhancing their validity for dating and correlating rocks, and their links to palaeoceanographic changes. An overview of the main achievements of the Milan school of micropalaeontology is presented in this paper. Among them are the delineation of the geological evolution of the Mediterranean Sea in the Neogene, including the studies that proved the Late Miocene deep-sea desiccation, the development of an integrated bio-, magneto-, chemo-and cyclostratigraphy that has provided the main basis for the geological timescale used today, and the insights into the evolution of planktonic foraminifera and into the linkages between biotic and chemostratigraphic changes that occurred during times of oceanic dysoxia and extreme climates in the Mesozoic and Palaeogene.
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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.