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Geoscientist Online

Foraminifera and their Applications

yutThere is a periodic need for fields as mature and vibrant as foraminiferal micropalaeontology to take stock of their progress.  This job usually falls to one dedicated person with the enthusiasm and funds to scour the recent literature and synthesise their findings succinctly.  In this instance, that individual is Bob Wynn Jones, who spent three decades working in the oil industry until retiring from BG Group PLC.  Throughout his career, Bob maintained an active interest in academic research, writing over a hundred publications.  In Foraminifera and their Applications he has drawn on his experience to review developments in foraminiferal micropalaeontology since J. R. Haynes’ (1981) Foraminifera.

The scope of Bob’s latest book is wide and invigorating.  He commences with a chapter on past research, including an interesting sidebar on the far-sighted Henry Bowman Brady (1835–1891), author of the Report on the Foraminifera Dredged by the HMS Challenger and the first to suggest an abyssal palaeoenvironment for the Oligocene Oceanic Formation of Barbados.  A short, useful chapter on sample acquisition and processing is followed by 60 pages on foraminiferal biology and taxonomy.  This is replete with drawings of selected genera that indicate the wide variety of foraminiferal morphologies. 

Ecology and palaeoecology are covered in two chapters (51 pages), while biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy are covered separately.  There follows an extensive chapter on applications in petroleum geology and short but useful chapters on applications in mineral geology, engineering geology, environmental science and archaeology.  The book is rounded out by eighty pages of references, most from the 21st Century and some as recent as 2012.   Each chapter has a useful list of recommended papers that is subdivided into sections covering specific topics. 

This book shows that foraminiferal micropalaeontology, although not taught as widely as it once was, remains a relevant and developing field in both academia and industry.  Summarising a lifetime of devotion to the field, it shows that the author did not slow down as he approached retirement, but redoubled his efforts to make micropalaeontology accessible to the interested.  Both handy and practical, this book will for many years prove a vital resource for graduate students, interested amateurs, and academic and professional micropalaeontologists, and should be read also by anybody else who uses the results from foraminiferal studies. 

Brent Wilson

FORAMINIFERA AND THEIR APPLICATIONS by ROBERT WYNN JONES, Published by Cambridge University Press, 2013 ISBN: 9781107036406 401pp Hardback List price: £45.00,