Foto personale

Cesare Andrea PAPAZZONI

Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences

Content class: Applied Micropaleontology

  • CFU: 6
  • SSD: GEO/01


The study course aims at introducing students to the knowledge of microfossils, past oceans inhabitants, and of their applied utility in geology. Major emphasis will be given to index microfossils and their use in biostratigraphy.


This course has no formal prerequisites, and all topics will be taught assuming no prior training. However, the basis of both geology and paleontology will be helpful to better understand the lecture topics.

Course Syllabus

Lectures: major microfossil groups. Their use in paleoecology and biostratigraphy. Biostratigraphical units and correlations. Integrated biostratigraphy. Practical Part: Getting acquainted with all common microfossil groups of the Phanerozoic, based on a rich collection of original fossil material. Applying biostratigraphic concepts. Final verification: oral examination. To contact the teacher: monday 11-13, after appointment by e-mail: Where is the teacher: Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra L.go S. Eufemia 19 - 41121 Modena (second floor). Website - personal page (with curriculum):

Reference texts

Dispense del corso e selezionate letture che verranno suggerite durante il corso. Lecture notes and other supplementary materials will be given by the teacher.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures. Practical exercises in the laboratory. Fieldtrip with sample collection. Sample examination under the microscope.

Verification of learning

Report about the fieldtrip and the microfossils recognized in the collected samples. As an alternative, test to recognize microfossils randomly selected among the course material. Oral interview about the lecture topics and the results of the fieldtrip.

Expected results

1) Knowledge and understanding: - knowing the main groups of microfossils and be able to distinguish them; - knowing the main literature necessary for the identification and stratigraphic distribution of microfossils; - understanding the importance of an integrated approach to biostratigraphy, including palaeoecological and taphonomic data; 2) Applying knowledge and understanding: - correctly apply the methods of collecting and processing the samples for the study of microfossils; - use the microscope as a tool for taxonomic and paleoecological analysis; - correctly identify the microfossils to the lowest possible taxonomic level; - interpret the data collected from the biostratigraphic, palaeoecological, and taphonomic viewpoints; - display the results obtained both textually and graphically by producing a complete and articulated document. 3) Making judgments: - assessing the importance of fieldwork and data collection for a correct interpretation of the data themselves; - to develop a personal way for interpreting the information collected; - critically evaluate the data and interpretations both personally collected and reported in the literature; 4) Communication skills: - communicate the results of a micropaleontological study in a logical, concise, and rigorous way; - interact constructively with the various professionals who interact with the micropaleontologist; - effectively communicate technical information in English language; - use computer tools to collect and process data, information and results achieved. 5) Learning skills: - independently deepen the topics taught during the lectures; - identify the main points of the texts analyzed during the study; - actively seek the specific literature useful to increase their knowledge.