Foraminifera ("forams" for short) are aquatic protoctists whose cells are enclosed in loose-fitting, hard, shell-like covers called tests. Found throughout the world's oceans, tests provide clues to the past. They are key biomarkers for oil companies looking for layers from the "right age" for drilling. Their presence in the desert means an ocean once covered the area. Different species of forams are very fussy in choosing their habitats; their fossils help us "read" the nature of paleoenvironments.
Foram individuals are small, but as a group they are a mighty force. The calcium carbonate of their abundant tests affects the global carbon cycle. Forams of the past unite; their tests make up the sedimentary rock of the great pyramids in Egypt and the White Cliffs of Dover.
University of Montana--Missoula. Environmental Studies Program
© 1997 Stiftung Drittes Millennium
Digital File Format
Digital Image Number
Liebes, Sid; Mittelstadt, Laurie; Waugh, Barbara; and Brynes, Lois, "Panel 51: Fabulous Forams" (1997). A Walk Through Time - From Stardust To Us. 51.