Foraminifera (forams for short) are minute single-celled marine organisms that produce elaborate chambered shells.
The hard shell may be formed by secretion of calcium carbonate (CaCo3), or accumulation of sediment grains from the surrounding environment.
Forams occur in a wide range of marine environments:
Early Cambrian to present day. This group has living relatives.
Forams are extremely common in the fossil record. They are especially useful in the study of:
As with most micropalaeontology groups, their usefulness is down to their abundance, rate of evolution and preservation potential in sediments and rocks.