Use of semiquantitative data, a compromise between the use of fully quantitative and nonquantitative terms, is proposed for the reporting of microfossil species distributions. At present, most data are reported in nonquantitative terms. Few researchers use quantitative data to which sophisticated statistical techniques can be applied. Semiquantitative data can be compiled as quickly as nonquantitative data, but are susceptible to quantitative analyses. Two quantitative data sets (one on modern Atlantic planktonic foraminifera and one on modern North Pacific diatoms) were transformed to semiquantitative (ranked-abundance) format and subjected to the same statistical techniques used on the original data sets (factor and regression analyses). The results are shown to be statistically equivalent to those produced from the original data. The great saving in time and consequent increase in the amount of data which may be produced provide strong arguments for the future use of semiquantitative data.

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