Marine Micropaleontology

Welcome to Marine Micropaleontology


Prof. Wolfgang Kuhnt

Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 14
24118 Kiel
Tel.: +49 431 880 2824
Fax: +49 431 880 4376

           Photograph of Prof. W. Kuhnt

Research Profile


The Kiel Marine Micropaleontology Research Group focuses on the evolution, taxonomy and ecology of Recent, Cenozoic and Cretaceous planktic and benthic foraminifers (marine prostists that build tests from calcite or foreign agglutinated particles) and their application for understanding climate evolution and ocean circulation over the last 100 million years. Foraminifers provide crucial tools for paleoceanography, because their carbonate shells can be analyzed for their elemental composition (i.e. Mg/Ca) and stable isotopes of oxygen, carbon, calcium and boron. These geochemical and isotopic data are fundamental to derive estimates of past sea surface temperature, salinity and pH and to reconstruct productivity and water column structure.

Current projects include:
(1) Neogene cyclostratigraphy and paleoceanography based on ODP and IODP sites from the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and South China Sea.
(2) Mid-Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events with focus on carbon isotope stratigraphy, biostratigraphy and foraminifer and geochemistry based productivity and oxygenation reconstructions including scientific drilling and field expeditions in France and Morocco. 
(3) Monsoonal climate variability in western Pacific marginal seas, using sediment cores and hydrographic data recovered by RV ”Sonne” and “Marion Dufresne”.
(4) Australasian monsoon evolution since the Miocene
Members of our group sailed on ODP Leg 159 (Equatorial Atlantic), ODP Leg 182 (Great Australian Bight), ODP Leg 184 (South China Sea), ODP Leg 185 (Western Pacific), ODP Leg 202 (Eastern Pacific), IODP Expedition 321 (Equatorial Pacific), IODP Expedition 346 (Asian Monsoon), IODP Expedition 353 (Indian Monsoon) and IODP Expedition 363 (Western Pacific Warm Pool).
Teaching includes introductory micropaleontology and stratigraphy through lectures and practical classes as well as advanced lectures on applied micropaleontology (temperature and productivity reconstructions, transfer function techniques, foraminifer ecology). Field courses and individual mapping training are offered to graduate students in spectacular Mesozoic and Cenozoic localities in Central Europe and the Alps.


Facilities at the University of Kiel include a micropaleontological preparation laboratory, clean laboratory for geochemical preparation, and dedicated microscope and computer laboratories. We also house a comprehensive micropaleontology research library and extensive collections, including one of the largest collections of Recent seafloor samples (raw sediment, residues and picked slides). This collection includes several thousands core top, box-core and multicore samples with special emphasis on the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, equatorial Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean.