The Oligocene (33.9–23.0 Ma) has historically proven to be a difficult interval to examine with respect to planktic foraminifera; the tendency for many of the taxa to be basically globigerine in shape, with 4 or 5 chambers in the final whorl means differences between species are limited. Recently, an international working group has attempted to clarify the Oligocene planktic foraminiferal taxonomy, with the goal of establishing phylogenetically-consistent generic and species concepts. A relatively expanded and continuous Oligocene section recovered at Ocean Drilling Program Site 803 in the western equatorial Pacific was previously studied by Leckie et al. (1993) using fairly conservative species concepts. Since 1993, foraminiferal biostratigraphic datum age calibrations have changed, and so revised sedimentation rates for the 220-m thick Oligocene sequence are actually more constant than previously thought. As a part of the recent taxonomic revision, this site was reevaluated and numerous additional taxa are recorded at this location. Macroevolutionary rates are calculated from the occurrences, and increased extinction is found within the late Oligocene, counter to the expectations laid out in broader-scale macroevolutionary studies. An effort is made here to describe the diagnostic features, which can be used to distinguish all taxa under a standard binocular microscope. Finally, several figures of scanning electron microscope photomicrographs (from Site 803 and tropical Atlantic Ocean ODP Site 628) depict features used to describe and differentiate important, but difficult or homeomorphic taxa, with the hope that these figures can be used by other workers at the microscope attempting to do Oligocene taxonomy-based studies.

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