Micropalaeontology research opportunities

Heron Allen micropalaeontology slides

Slides from the Heron-Allen collection

Are you interested in using our collections for your research?

We can help you investigate a new area of research using the micropalaeontology collections.

We are always open to collaborative research opportunities, especially if they have the potential to enhance our understanding of materials within the Museum collections.

There are vast numbers of potential projects within the collections beyond those listed below, and we encourage the development of postgraduate studentships to work on these.

The Museum is not an awarding body, so an affiliated university for the studentship will be needed. We are currently looking into possible partnerships regarding funding and studentships with partner universities, so if you are interested please contact us.

Middle Eastern foraminifera

There is huge potential to undertake further research on the former Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) collection.

Previous studies of the former Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) collection focus on Mesozoic foraminifera species as an analytical tool for identifying potential petroleum source rocks in the Middle East.

SEM of Pfenderina trochoidea

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of Pfenderina trochoidea


During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, much of the Middle East was located within a shallow marine carbonate platform environment, yielding conditions that were favourable for larger benthic foraminifera to thrive.

Sediments deposited during the Mesozoic contain much of the Middle East's oil and gas. An understanding of Mesozoic foraminifera species present in this region is therefore a valuable tool for identifying potential petroleum source rocks.

Contact the curator.

A review of Mesozoic IPC forams

In 1998, Scientific Associates John Whittaker and Bob Wynn Jones co-authored the publication Key Mesozoic Benthic Foraminifera of the Middle East,  a review of Mesozoic foraminifera in the IPC collection.

The paper provides a detailed review of around one hundred of the most important Mesozoic species, including light microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of each species.

The publication includes species range charts summarising the temporal variation in foraminifera during the Early-, Middle- and Late Jurassic and the Early-, Middle- and Late Cretaceous. An updated version of the publication is in development.

We are interested in undertaking further research into the IPC collection, in order to maximise its academic and commercial potential. 

We are particularly keen to assess the potential value of further research into the Palaeozoic and Cenozoic foraminifera species.

Contact the curator.

Climate and environmental change

We curate a number of collections that may be of interest for researchers of climate change, including microfossil collections that date back to the late 19th century.

Globigerina prasaepis nano CT

Nano-CT prescan picture of a paratype of the planktonic foraminifera,Globigerina prasaepis (Blow, 1969)


We curate a number of collections relevant to this area, many of which have considerable academic potential. 

Many of these collections include microfossils that date back to the late 19th century, providing valuable ecological and/or geochemical records of climatic conditions prior to the expansion of 20th century industry.

Contact the curator.

Former British Petroleum collection

With a wealth of rarely studied specimens and unpublished information, this vast micropalaeontological collection has great potential for further study.

Access the former British Petroleum micropalaeontology collection database.

Contact the curator.


This unique and valuable palaeopalynomorph card index is particularly valuable for researchers focusing on particular palynological taxa, time periods or locations. 

Palaeopalynology collections.

Contact the curator.

Origins, evolution and futures research

We study the Earth's origins and environment, and the evolution of life.

Economic and environmental earth sciences research

Researching the formation, discovery and sustainability of Earth's resources.

Micropalaeontology collections

Discover our large collections that make it globally important.