Benthic foraminifera linking past and present

  • Description of the research topic

    “Foraminifera (Protozoa, Rhizopoda) are a well-known group in environmental studies both concerning the present or the past environment. Since the onset of our circulation regime of the global ocean in the Middle Miocene (e.g. Zachos et al., 2001), benthic foraminifera species did not change much. The majority of species and genera are more or less identical with the Miocene forms, and also their ecological preferences concerning environmental needs remained mostly unaltered. This combined with their small size (50-500 µm), commonness, and easily fossilized tests, makes foraminifera an ideal group to link past and present. Even the highly cited paleoclimate reconstruction of the Cenozoic of Zachos et al. (2001) is based on data measured on the calcareous tests of foraminifera. It is proposed to study the Middle Miocene sediments of the epicontinental Central Paratethys (16 Ma-11 Ma) rich in various environments concerning salinity, depth, or eutrophicity.
    Linking the past and present with foraminfera will be carried out two ways in the project:
    1. the present day distribution patterns and ecological preferences of taxa applied to reconstruct paleoenvironment. There are numerous quantitative methods to estimate paleowater depth, paleosalinity, or paleoproductivity (e.g. Báldi, 2006, Báldi & Hohenegger 2008, Báldi et al 2002, Milker et al 2017).
    2. distinguishing natural stressors from anthropogenic is a recurrent problem in coastal waters (Barras, et al 2014). The shallow environments of the Middle Miocene Paratethys is rather analogues to coastal waters of the present day sea, especially the Mediterranean. The available Miocene data of previous publications together with new data can serve as a robust dataset of pristine environment without anthropogenic effect to set baselines.
    According to pilot studies in the Hidas Coal Basin area (Mecsek Mts), sediments contain exceptionally well preserved foraminifera of stressy shallow environment, making it an ideal choice to carry out quantitative ecological analyses of their assemblages. Furthermore, Hidas Basin, as a coal basin, has numerous high resolution logs and seismic sections available as a result of natural resource exploration in the past. Thus, three independent methods are at hand to confirm observed environmental changes: 1/ the quantitative ecology with multivariate statistics based on foraminifera, 2/ the geochemical analyses of calcareous tests, and 3/ the facies recognized on seismic sections. Foraminifera can help in the interpretation of geophysical logs by dating horizons and recognizing paleoenvironment.
    The project heavily builds on generating data by picking foraminifera from sediments under the stereomicroscope and handling data. In case of Miocene sediments a rigorous laboratory procedure is applied to disintegrate sediments with H-peroxide to gain the necessary statistically significant number of foraminifera.
    Consultations and material and/or data on living foraminifera for the PhD project are made available by Frans Jorissen (University of Anger, France).
    Báldi, K. and Hohenegger, J., 2008. Paleoecology of benthic foraminifera of the Baden-Sooss section (Badenian, Middle Miocene, Vienna Basin, Austria). Geologica Carpathica, 59(5): 411-424.
    Báldi, K., Benkovics, L. and Sztanó, O., 2002. Badenian (Middle Miocene) basin development in SW Hungary: Subsidence history based on quantitative paleobathymetry of foraminifera. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 91(3): 490-504.
    Báldi, K, 2006. Paleoceanography and climate of the Badenian (Middle Miocene, 16.4-13.0 Ma) in the Central Paratethys based on foraminifera and stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) evidence International Journal Of Earth Sciences 95 : 1 pp. 119-142. , 24 p. (2006)
    Barras, C., Jorissen, F. J., Labrune, C., Andral, B., & Boissery, P. (2014). Live benthic foraminiferal faunas from the French Mediterranean Coast: Towards a new biotic index of environmental quality. Ecological Indicators, 36, 719-743.”

    Thesis supervisor: Katalin Báldi

    Required language skills: English
    Further requirements: Aptitude to work with the stereomicroscope.

    How to Apply?

    If you are interested apply here:[PhD] Doctoral School of Environmental Sciences – Eötvös Loránd University (elte.hu)

    For more information visite the following website:Doctoral School of Environmental Sciences (elte.hu)

  • Funded: Not Funded

    Master Degree: Required

    Duration: 4 Years

    Full/Part Time: Full Time

    Starting Date: 06 September 2021

    Deadline to Apply: 31 May 2021

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