Foraminifera collections

The Museum has a strong tradition of foraminifera research, going back to the late 1800s. As a result, these are the most extensive of our micropalaeontological collections, with approximately 250,000 slides, and the most requested by visitors. 

Our foraminifera collections consist of both fossil and recent specimens.

  • Challenger specimen jar with microfossils.
    HMS Challenger collection

    The HMS Challenger collection is of historical and taxonomic importance for studying foraminifera. Holding samples dating back to the early period of the industrial revolution it provides a valuable resource for current and future research.

  • Former BP collection localities.
    Former British Petroleum micropalaeontology collection

    The collection includes microfossil assemblage slides and residues from over 120 countries worldwide.

  • Microslide cabinet of microfossils.
    Former Aberystwyth Microfossil Collection

    A teaching collection built by researchers at Aberystwyth University. Includes foraminifera, ostracods, coccoliths and conodonts.

  • Former IPC collection specimen.
    Former Iraq Petroleum Company collection

    The former IPC collection contains benthic foraminifera from the Middle East, covering the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. The collection is particularly important for reconstructing environmental change and the geological history of the area.  

  • Scanning electron microscope image showing the spiral side of a planktonic foraminifer
    Buckley collection

    Discover the collection of Henry Buckley, a valuable resource for the study of global change on recent planktonic foraminifera.

  • Specimen of an orbitolite specimen, Orbitolites complanata
    Heron-Allen slide collection

    Learn about Edward Heron-Allen’s vast collection of foraminifera type slides. It includes specimens gathered from samples from a number of notable research voyages.

Find out more
Scanning electron microscope image of a fossil foraminifera, Globorotalia sp.

Foraminifera occur in a wide range of marine environments. Learn more about these organisms.

Useful references

Jones RW (1994) The Challenger Foraminifera. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 150pp.

Holbourn A and Henderson A (in press) Paleobase: Deep-Sea Benthic Foraminifera. Blackwell Scientific: Oxford.