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The expansion in knowledge on foraminiferal ecology can be gauged by comparing the syntheses of Phleger 1960s, Boltovskoy 1965, Murray 1973, Boltovskoy and Wright 1976, and the present volume. New developments since the 1970s include better samplers (sealed grabs, box corers, multicorers), the use of SCUBA divers in shallow water both for sampling and the in-situ observation of the environment, stable isotope studies and biochemical techniques. Much greater use is now made of computers in the statistical analysis of data. Improved position-fixing techniques at sea have made it possible to re-sample oceanic sites far from land to build up time-series studies. There has been a greater involvement of biologists with significant advances in understanding physiological processes. Multidisciplinary studies, especially of fossil material have been actively promoted through the deep sea drilling project, international phase of ocean drilling and ocean drilling program. The aim of this book is to provide a synthesis of data on ecology as a basis for the interpretation of palaeoecology.
The dynamics of living populations and assemblages and the dead assemblages drawn from them are discussed in chapters 1 to 5. The regional distribution of faunas and the causes of the observed patterns are described and evaluated in chapters 6 to 17 while chapter 18 summarises the principal conclusions. The application of these results to palaeoecology is outlined in chapter 19 and illustrated by a series of case studies. Methods, ecological data for selected genera, a faunal reference list and a glossary are given as appendices.