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Onderzoeksgroep Biogeologie (KULeuven)

English name: Biogeology research group
Parent institute: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Departement Aard- en Omgevingswetenschappen; Afdeling Geologie (KULeuven), more

Celestijnenlaan 200E
box 2408
3001 Heverlee
Type: Scientific

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The Biogeology research group (Division of Geology) studies the links between environmental and biotic changes during the last 70 million years, through the analysis of marine microfossils and the sediments containing them. We particularly focus on key time intervals of enhanced faunal turnover, extinction, recovery and diversification in response to severe global disruptions of the geobiosphere:

• Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (66 Ma) – mass extinction related to the Chicxulub impact in the Gulf of Mexico
• Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (56 Ma) – rapid global warming, deep-sea extinction and decline of coral reefs
• Latest Danian Event (62 Ma) and the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (54 Ma) – restructuring of deep-sea ecosystems in response to milder global warming events

Much of this research is carried out in collaboration within the global Paleogene community. The foundation for our research is provided by core material retrieved through the US Geological Survey, and international drilling programs (DSDP, ODP, IODP) and by outcrop studies in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Our key study material consists of microfossils of Foraminifera, ubiquitous marine single-celled organisms with a fossil record extending as far back as the Cambrian, over 500 million years ago. We combine research on Foraminifera with other microfossil groups (e.g. calcareous nannofossils, Ostracoda) and geochemical, mineralogical and sedimentological analyses in order to understand key moments of earth history and to provide insight into the possible consequences of future global warming on marine life.

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