Knowledge of the taxonomic characteristics and systematic classification of major groups of marine microfossils. The contribution of each group of microfossils for the development of relative time scales and to understand the characteristics of environments and their evolution over geologic time. The importance of micropalaeontology in the research of natural resources.
The student should be able to:
- mastering techniques of field and laboratory.
- recognize the distinctive morphological characteristics of each group microfóssil.
- use treatises to determine the taxonomic classification of microfossils to the level of genus and species.
- determine the possible age or paleoenvironment by the study of genera and species present and their abundance in assemblages of microfossils.
- prepare high-resolution biostratigraphical and paleoecological frameworks in order to document patterns of development of sequences, such as those used in the research of oil and gas.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo Alexandre Rodrigues Roque Legoinha


Weekly - 3

Total - 51

Teaching language



Available soon


Howard A. Amstrong & Marin D. Brasier (2005, second edition) - Microfossils. Blackwell Publishing, 296p.

Legoinha, P. (2001) - Biostratigrafia de Foraminíferos do Miocénico de Portugal (Baixo Tejo e Algarve). Dissertação de Doutoramento, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 241 p., 24 est.

Nascimento, A. (1988) - Ostracodos do Miocénico da bacia do Tejo: sistemática, biostratigrafia, paleoecologia, paleogeografia e relações Mediterrâneo-Atlântico. Dissertação de Doutoramento, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 305 p.

Murray, J. W. (1991) - Ecology and paleoecology of benthic foraminifera. Longman Scientific & Tecnhical, 397 p.

IUGS – International Commission on Stratigraphy: http://www.stratigraphy.org/
Radiolaria – http://www.radiolaria.org/
The International Nannoplankton Association - Higher Classification of calcareous nannofossils: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/ina/taxcatalog/INTRO.HTM

Teaching method

The methods used to promote continued involvement of students in the development of the syllabus and try to follow the learning of the general aspects related to micropaleontology and its applications in biostratigraphy and paleoenvironmental interpretation.

Evaluation method

Continuous assessment.
Preparation of monographic work (50%)
Oral presentation on stratotype (30%)
Portfolio of practical assignments (20%)

Subject matter

The systematic study of the major groups of microfossils (foraminifera, ostracods, calcareous nannoplankton, radiolaria). Stratigraphic distribution and ecology. Biostratigraphical (biozones, biostratigraphic scales) and paleoecological importance. The microfossils as proxies (indicators of physical and chemical conditions of the environment and its evolution in space and time).
Laboratory techniques for treatment of samples, preparation and study of microfossils.
Topics of scientific research in micropalaeontology (case studies, involving sequential stratigraphy and in particular the definition of chronostratigraphic boundaries, paleoceanography, paleogeographic reconstructions, and biological evolution).


Programs where the course is taught: