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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Paleobiology

All published distributional data (presence or absence) on the living and dead Recent benthic foraminifera around North American was gathered from papers published since 1886. The data were digitized and manipulation of the data produced 6 volumes of catalogs with maps (Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Pacific-Oregon to Alaska, and Pacific- California to Baja) originally published by Culver & Buzas between 1980 and 1985. Each volume consists of 5 catalogs - Catalog 1 lists alphabetically species names with publication and locality information as recorded in the literature (i.e., unsynonymized); Catalog 2 lists synonymized species names with publication and locality information; Catalogs 3 and 4 list alphabetically all unsynonymized and synonymized species names, respectively; Catalog 5 lists synonymized names by increasing latitude and longitude. Computer-generated maps were drawn for the most commonly recorded species. Species were grouped by depth and geographic (latitudinal) distribution through visual examination of the maps.

Distribution Map

Distribution of Foraminifera

The original data were saved onto mag tape in the 1980’s. With the rapid advances in computer technology, these tapes became obsolete long ago. In the early 2000’s it was decided to try to re-capture the data and make it available online. The original publications are available as pdfs through the Smithsonian Libraries. The original data were scanned and transferred to Excel Spreadsheets and then to an Access Database. After cleaning up and adding to the original data various projects were undertaken to utilize the data. The first was a Google Earth mapping of the Atlantic Data (Link will download a Google Earth KML File). Currently there is a Master’s student working on a GIS project to map the data and make them available online.