Although foraminifers have been extensively used for biochronology, no quantitative evaluation of the quality of their application is available. In this work we apply a quantitative approach – the Unitary Association (UA) method – to evaluate the relative quality of planktic and benthic foraminifers in biostratigraphy. Based on 12,321 specimens belonging to 65 planktic and 132 benthic foraminifer species in 117 samples from the Paleocene–Eocene strata of the Kharga-Baris Oases (Western Desert, Egypt), the potential stratigraphic resolution power of benthic foraminifers is quantitatively assessed and compared to planktic foraminifers. The UA method accounts for superpositional contradictions between sets of coexisting taxa and generates unitary associations, which are conceptually similar to Oppel zones. The analysis produced fifteen unitary associations for the Paleocene–Eocene benthic Foraminifera of the studied sections, instead of three classical zones; most of these unitary associations are easily identified by the restricted occurrence of a single species. Although planktic Foraminifera have a higher seriation reality leading to a more robust biozonation, benthic Foraminifera have a higher stratigraphic resolution, at least at such regional scale. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between the number of unitary associations and the number of species (R=0.78 for planktic and 0.70 for benthic foraminifers; both with p<0.001). These results corroborate that quantitative techniques may lead to a higher resolution in biochronology, even when applied to poor biochronological markers. Moreover, in contrast to simple spatiotemporal analyses, the Unitary Association method can accurately assess the stratigraphic potential of a given taxonomic group.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Planktic Foraminifera, Benthic Foraminifera, Paleocene–Eocene transition, Quantitative biostratigraphy, Unitary Association, Biochronology, Egypt
|☆|| Corresponding editor: Claude Monnet.