The Star*Sand Project

USING star*sand

Star*sand as a collection

At the most basic level, star*sand is a free-standing database of information about forams. At the present time, most of the information exists as images with descriptive captions. As the database infrastructure develops, other information about the species will be included: GPS coordinates of collection sites, geologic period, known environmental preferences, available PCR primers that target that species, etc. If you have suggestions for useful pieces of information to include, please write.

New information is being added to star*sand on a weekly basis. If you are willing to contribute images or data (published or not), please contact the Curator.

Searching within star*sand

Search by name: Use this form to search for any taxon. When the results appear in the new window, select the name you want and click the "Jump" button.


Browse foram species: Begin at the front page of the collection. Images are listed alphabetically by species name; to access a record, click on the thumbnail image. (There may be several images associated with a single species.)

Browse by taxonomy: Begin at the top-level hierarchy for the Granuloreticulosea. Explore the taxonomy to find individual species. The taxonomy is currently based on Loeblich and Tappan's Foraminiferal Genera and their Classification, with some updates as required.

As you move through the taxonomy, you will see a sample of the images and other information available for members of the current taxon.

Using star*sand to search other online resources

Star*sand and the micro*scope platform include search tools for other databases, such as PubMed and NCBI.

Using any method described above, navigate to the taxon of interest: one of the foraminiferal Orders or Families, a specific genus or species, or the entire Granuloreticulosea. The LinkOuts box on the right offers more than 20 different database searches for that taxon. Just click on the link for a database, and a new window will appear with the results of that search. It's a very fast and convenient way to gather information.

Other Foram Resources

We are in the process of adding specialized LinkOuts to other online foram resources. We are working with the database managers of these sites to enable searches from within star*sand, to allow visitors to access a wide sampling of foraminiferal information from one convenient interface.

The resources under development are listed below. To search them, click on the illustrated icon after you have completed your initial search from within star*sand/micro*scope. Due to differences in the structure of these databases, the search methods are still being fine-tuned; notes on the current status of each tool are included.

If you maintain a Webpage or online database of foram information, and would like a LinkOut tool created for you within star*sand, please contact the curator.

Current foraminiferal LinkOuts:

The BioStrat Gallery, at the University of Western Australia. This site contains information on modern and fossil foraminiferal taxa. Several LinkOuts are available which search the different collections within the Gallery. Limitations: Searches only work at the Genus level.

National Foraminiferal Type Collection (database and SEM images), at the Smithsonian. This resource includes the Cushman Collection as well as many other type specimens. Limitations: Searches only work at the Genus level.

University of California Museum of Paleontology, UC-Berkeley. Allows searches on the paleontology collections of the Museum, including information on stratigraphy and collection site. Limitations: Searches work at Genus or Linnean binomial level.

Microfossil Image Recovery And Circulation for Learning and Education, University College, London. Includes useful information about foram life cycles and several images. Limitations: Search is implemented as a Google search of the page.

These tools are still under development, but the data can be accessed through the sites' homepages:

Electronic Microfossil Image Database System, at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich.

Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America, University of Iowa. Includes a collection of Benthic foraminiferal images.


Coming soon: specialized searches within star*sand

Additional tools are being developed for star*sand. Current plans include: