Tag Archives: foraminfera

Pretty in Pink

Beach Fact
Beach Fact

Pink Sand is thanks to a species of microscopic creatures call foraminfera

They live on the underside of reefs, and when their tiny red shells (test) wash ashore, they mix with bits of whit coral for a pretty pastel in pink.

Foraminfera are members of a phylum of amoeboid protists characterized by streaming granular ectoplasm for catching food and other uses; and commonly an external shell (called a “test”) of diverse forms and materials. Foraminifera typically produce a test, or shell, which can have either one or multiple chambers, some becoming quite elaborate in structure. These shells are commonly made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or agglutinated sediment particles. Over 50,000 species are recognized, both living (10,000) and fossil (40,000). They are usually less than 1 mm in size.

Dying planktonic Foraminifera continuously rain down on the sea floor in vast numbers, their mineralized tests preserved as fossils in the accumulating sediment. Deep Sea Drilling, have been bringing up sediment cores bearing Foraminifera fossils. The effectively unlimited supply of these fossil tests and the relatively high-precision age-control models available for cores has produced an exceptionally high-quality planktonic Foraminifera fossil record dating back to the mid-Jurassic, and presents an unparalleled record for scientists testing and documenting the evolutionary process. The exceptional quality of the fossil record has allowed an impressively detailed picture of species inter-relationships to be developed on the basis of fossils.

Etymology
foraminfera – Latin for ‘hole bearers’