Buckley collection

The Buckley collection of planktonic foraminifera contains material from around the world, and is a valuable resource for studying the effects of global change on recent foraminifera.

Henry Buckley was a curator in the Museum's Mineralogy Department for much of his life. His curatorial work focused on the ocean bottom deposits collection, and he developed a research interest in the taxonomy of planktonic foraminifera. 

He published relatively little (important exceptions are Shackleton et al. 1973 and Buckley and Johnson, 1988) but Buckley amassed a large collection of planktonic foraminifera slides and metadata over the course of his career. 

Curation and collection management

Preservation and storage:

The collection is housed in two large cabinets and bookcases. The modern part of the collection consists of:

  • 1,500 slides from 260 samples.
    Each slide contains numerous specimens of one species from one sample.
  • 71 faunal slides.
    These can be indicative of environmental, temperature, geographical and ontogenetic variation.
  • 4,200 thin sections of ocean bottom deposits and sample washings from sample locations corresponding to the slide collection.
  • Approximately 10,000 scanning electron microscope micrographs.
    Organised taxonomically in over 100 books. Each micrograph can be cross-referenced with the rest of the collection.

Each slide is well curated with:

  • collection locality details (latitude, longitude, cruise and station numbers)
  • type of sample (tow, core, dredge)
  • depth

Associated collections

The Museum holds large collections of ocean bottom deposits and residues, many of which are from the same locations as Buckley collection samples.

In many cases, research cruise station numbers from the Buckley collection database can be cross-referenced with corresponding bulk samples in the residue collection and ocean bottom deposit database.

Ocean bottom deposit collection


The Buckley collection contains material from around the globe, collected between the 1870s (HMS Challenger expedition) and the 1960s.

Around a third of the collection comes from plankton samples collected from surface tows in the 1950s and 60s.

For information on the number of slides available for each organism, download the species information list (PDF 31.0 KB).

A complete catalogue of the slide collection is available as an Excel spreadsheet. 

Complete Buckley collection database (Excel 91.5 KB)

Find out more
Specimens of planktonic foraminifera, Globigerinoides sacculifera.
Buckley collection database

Access a complete catalogue of the Buckley foraminifera slide collection.


  • Buckley, H A, Johnson, L (1988) Late Pleistocene to Recent sediment deposition in the central and western Mediterranean. Deep Sea Research, 35(5), 749-766. doi:10.1016/0198-0149(88)90028-3
  • Shackleton, N J, Wiseman, J D H, Buckley H A (1973) Non-equilibrium isotopic fractionation between seawater and planktonic foraminiferal tests. Nature 242, 177-179. doi:10.1038/242177a0