Cutting Edge > Oceanography > Teaching Activities > Biostratigraphy for fun and profit

Biostratigraphy for fun and profit

David Watkins, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
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Students use the evolutionary distribution of oceanic phytoplankton fossils to date the age of pelagic and hemipelagic sedimentary rocks. They correlate this section to another as an exercise in oil prospecting.



introductory oceanography course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

basics of biostratigraphy and stratigraphic principles.

How the activity is situated in the course

towards the end, after the basic material about marine sedimentary rocks has been covered.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

biostratigraphic principles and relative age dating

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

analysis of data and evaluation of alternating hypotheses

Other skills goals for this activity

can be done working in groups or individually.

Description and Teaching Materials

Biostratigraphy of Miocene phytoplankton (Acrobat (PDF) 850kB Jun13 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips


see assignment

References and Resources

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