Micropaleontolgy and Laboratory

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Knowledge and understanding: the students will learn how to identify the microfossils and apply them in biostratigraphic analysis and how to perform paleoenviromental and paleoceanographic recontructions using microfossils in both petroleum exploration and scientific research.
Expected learning outcomes
Applying knowledge and understanding: the knowledge acquired will allow the student to solve stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental problems through correlation and calibration of microfossils with other stratigraphic tools and fossil groups and evaluate the interactions with the ecological and paleoenvironmental factors in a successful interdisciplinary context.
Making judgements: the practical exercises at the microscope are designed to acquire the necessary knowledge on data acquisitions and data interpretation considering the type of material, and to develop the ability to evaluate the significance and the implication of the obtained results in the geological/environmental topics under examination.
Communication skills: the identification of the microfossils, and their biostratigraphic, paleoecological and paleoceanographic significances, together with the methodology of data acquisition and the integration with other geological tools, will enhance the communication skills with specialist and non specialist audience in a multidisciplinary context.
Learning skills: lectures and practical exercise at the microscope are focused on learning the theories and on directly apply them in problem solving scenarios and, therefore, help to acquire autonomy skills in learning and in improving the own knowledge on specialized professional and research topics.
Course syllabus and organization

Insegnamento erogato ad anni alterni, non erogato nell' aa 2021-22

Prerequisites for admission
Basic concepts of paleontology
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will take place orally and will be aimed at ascertaining the achievement of the objectives in terms of knowledge and understanding, verifying the student's autonomy of judgment through case studies discussed during the course and ascertaining the ability to use the specific language and present the topics in a clear and orderly way.
Course syllabus
The micropaleontology applied to stratigrafic researches and paleoenvironmental, paleogeographical and paleoceanographical reconstructions. Practical use of micropaleontology in petroleum exploration.
Order Foraminifera: biology, morphological characters and principles of classification. Superfamilies and Genera of Benthic Foraminifera assigned to the Suborders Textulariina, Fusulinina, Involutinina, Spirillina, Miliolina, Lagenina, Rotaliina. Superfamilies and Genera of Larger Benthic Foraminifera from the Paleozoic, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene assigned to the Suborders Fusulinina, Involutinina, Miliolina (Alveolina), Textulariina (Cuneolina, Orbitolina), Rotaliina (Orbitoides, Siderolites, Nummulitidae, Amphisteginidae, Miogypsinidae).
Classification at genera and species level of Cretaceous to Recent Planktonic Foraminifera.
Ecology and paleoecology of Benthic Foraminifera, Larger Benthic Foraminifera and Planktonic Foraminifera: the main controlling chemico-physical parameters on taxa latitudinal and vertical distributions, paleobathymetric and paleoceanograhic recostructions.
Stratigraphic distribution of Benthic and Larger Benthic Foraminifera and their biostratigraphic resolution and correlations at regional and global scale.
Biostratigraphy of Planktonic Foraminifera, definition of biozones and stratigraphic distribution from the Cretaceous to Recent. Application for correlations and calibration with other biostratigraphic tools (magnetostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy and other fossil groups).
Ostracoda: biology, morphological characters and principles of classification. Ecology and paleoecology, geographic and stratigraphic distribution.
Calpionellids and Tintinnids: morphological characters and principles of classification. Ecology and paleoecology, geographic and stratigraphic distribution.
Radiolaria, Diatoms, Silicoflagellates, Ebridids: biology, morphological characters and principles of classification. Ecology and paleoecology, geographic and stratigraphic distribution. Paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic reconstructions based on siliceous taxa.
Dinoflagellates, Acritarcs: biology, morphological characters and principles of classification. Ecology and paleoecology, geographic and stratigraphic distribution.
Calcareous Nannofossils: biology, morphology, principles of classification. Ecology and paleoecology, geographic and stratigraphic distribution.
Conodonts: classification and stratigraphic distribution.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Handouts in paper and digital form with texts, explanatory figures, stratigraphic distribution maps of microfossils, biostratigraphic, paleoecological schemes, etc.
Course syllabus
Preparation techniques in laboratory: thin sections from hard rocks and smear slides of nannofossils for the study at the optical microscope; sediment washing for obtaining residues to study foraminifera and ostracods at the stereomicroscope.
Analysis at the microscope: identification of Larger Benthic Foraminifera in thin section using atlases and biostratigraphic and paleonviromental interpretation.
Analysis at the stereomicroscope: identification of organic and inorganic components in single slides and description of the washed residues. Picking of foraminifera from residues on the basis of their type of walls, identification of the main taxonomic characters of the picked specimens using practical keys, large-scale foraminiferal moulds, atlases. Paleoenvironmental significance and paleobathymetry of a benthic foraminiferal assemblage.
Cretaceous to Recent Planktonic Foraminifera: identification of marker species and of biozones on the basis of the planktonic foraminiferal assemblage present in the washed residues using atlases and distribution charts. Biostratigraphy, paleoecological and paleoceanographic interpretation of the foraminiferal assemblages.
Teaching methods
Practical exercises in classroom at the optical and stereo-microscope.
Teaching Resources
Didactic collection of Micropaleontology (washing residues and thin sections) for the exercises under the optical microscope and stereomicroscope, taxonomic keys, taxonomic atlases in paper and electronic form of the groups of microfossils examined.
GEO/01 - PALEONTOLOGY AND PALEOECOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
GEO/01 - PALEONTOLOGY AND PALEOECOLOGY - University credits: 3
Practicals: 36 hours