A phylogeny of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera from fossil data

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2011 Nov;86(4):900-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00178.x. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


We present a complete phylogeny of macroperforate planktonic foraminifer species of the Cenozoic Era (∼65 million years ago to present). The phylogeny is developed from a large body of palaeontological work that details the evolutionary relationships and stratigraphic (time) distributions of species-level taxa identified from morphology ('morphospecies'). Morphospecies are assigned to morphogroups and ecogroups depending on test morphology and inferred habitat, respectively. Because gradual evolution is well documented in this clade, we have identified many instances of morphospecies intergrading over time, allowing us to eliminate 'pseudospeciation' and 'pseudoextinction' from the record and thereby permit the construction of a more natural phylogeny based on inferred biological lineages. Each cladogenetic event is determined as either budding or bifurcating depending on the pattern of morphological change at the time of branching. This lineage phylogeny provides palaeontologically calibrated ages for each divergence that are entirely independent of molecular data. The tree provides a model system for macroevolutionary studies in the fossil record addressing questions of speciation, extinction, and rates and patterns of evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Extinction, Biological
  • Foraminifera / genetics*
  • Fossils*
  • Genetic Speciation
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Phylogeny*
  • Plankton
  • Species Specificity