The fossil register is an invaluable source of non-renewable information that gives a glimpse into the history of the planet and the evolution of life. Both global and local environmental changes leave their mark on the geological record.
Marine ecosystems are very sensitive to these changes. Therefore, the study of the diversity of marine species is key to understanding the impact of changes in the biosphere. Observing the patterns of extinction and diversification of organisms over geological time is, in itself, essential knowledge that helps to gauge the consequences of future environmental changes on the planet, whether they be local or global in scale.
This stable line of research by the Museum’s Department of Palaeontology focuses on characterising the diversity of marine fossil species, especially protists and invertebrates, as well as their distribution in time (biostratigraphy) and space (palaeobiogeography) and their application in palaeoecological studies. The scope of the work focuses on the fossils in these biological groups accumulated in the sedimentary rocks found in the Tethys Sea—an ancient ocean, part of which corresponds to the present-day Mediterranean—and their relationship with other surrounding marine domains.
This line of research is mainly concerned with the study of macro-foraminifera.