For 30 years the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) have been drilling the ocean floors and retrieving sediment cores. This study presents a relational micropaleontological and stratigraphic database, Neptune, where a selection of the published studies made on these sediments is available. The selected sites and their stratigraphic extent represent a statistically reproducible subset of the whole DSDP and ODP data set as of 1995 (up to Leg 135). Cenozoic sediments from 165 globally distributed holes were dated with age/depth plots using biochronology of four marine plankton groups (diatoms, nannofossils, foraminifera, and radiolarians). Each hole’s location is available with paleogeographic coordinates. A taxonomic revision of the 8000+ reported species names was also made. The database is searchable and a variety of routines are available. Data can be exported to produce age range charts, geographic distribution maps, and occurrence charts.
A rigorous evaluation of the database potentials and limitations is presented together with a summary of the published studies that have been carried on with the data. These include stratigraphic studies (diachrony of Neogene plankton, hiati distribution in Cenozoic sediments) and evolution studies (cladogenesis and evolution of one foraminiferal lineage). Unpublished data on macroevolutionary patterns (species longevity and richness, speciation and extinction rates) are presented as example of Neptune’s potential for paleobiological research. Finally, some suggestions are presented as to how Neptune can be more fully exploited through the addition of sedimentologic and isotopic data. A variety of critical sedimentologic and paleoceanographic questions could be addressed with this extended database.
Cinzia Spencer-Cervato, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Geologisches Institut, ETH Zentrum, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
[Mailing address: P.O. Box 23, 1312 Slependen, Norway]
KEY WORDS: Cenozoic, relational database, plankton, evolution, age models
Copyright: Paleontological Society, 22
Submission: 5 April 1999, Acceptance: 7 October 1999