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Biostratigraphy and palaeogeography of the Mesozoic foraminifera of Tethys and the Middle East
Fossil larger benthic foraminifera, found in shallow marine carbonates, are used extensively in biostratigraphical applications, and to determine palaeoceanographic and palaeoclimatological context. Their role as markers for biostratigraphical zonation and correlation underpins most of the interpretation and exploration of the major hydrocarbon-bearing marine sedimentary basins. My work on the larger benthic foraminifera of the Lower Jurassic of Oman and Yemen has enabled us to recognise the Toarcian stage in the Middle East for the first time. A study based on benthic foraminifera and calcified microflora (such as algae), described for the first time from the Gibraltar Limestone Formation of the Rock of Gibraltar, has revealed that the foraminifera compare closely with taxa described from the Balearic Islands (Spain), and are consistent with an Early Jurassic (Sinemurian) age for the upper part of the section. The biota is characteristic of the inner carbonate platform environments widespread along the rifted margin of the Early Jurassic Tethys, notably those recorded from Morocco, Italy and Greece as well as Spain. Ongoing work on the Middle East (Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates} has provided a basis tool for mapping the Mesozoic limestone of the Middle East which was not possible until now as it needed the very special expertise of studying and identifying larger benthic foraminifera and their associate algae in thin section.
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