Abstract

Uncertainties in availability and formulation of exotic microfossils (e.g., Lycopodium spp., Eucalyptus spp.) to be added to microfossil preparations may be resolved by the use of plastic microspheres (25.0 ± 1.0 μm), which are unaffected by standard pollen preparative treatments (KOH, HCl, HF, acetolysis, and organic solvents). The microspheres are sensitive to strongly oxidizing treatments (e.g., Schulze's reagent, H2O2: H2SO4 reflux for diatom preparation) but can be added following digestion of organic material.Preparation of microsphere suspensions in a suitable electrolyte (e.g., NaCl – formic acid – water) permits calibration by Coulter counter of suitable dilutions (e.g., 5000 ± 100 mL−1) for delivery by "Tipet" volumetric flasks.The uniformity and distinctive appearance of the microspheres not only facilitate recognition but also provide a constant reference for both size (25 μm) and volume 8180 μm3), as well as a reference standard for computerized microfossil scanning.The microspheres are inert (vinyl-coated styrene polymer), featureless, opaque, available in a variety of sizes, and of a density (SG = 1.3) similar to those of pollen grains.A stainless steel volumetric sediment sampler (0.5–5.0 cm3) that facilitates subsampling in core or bulk samples is described.

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