High-resolution digital image acquisition and archiving of dinoflagellate cysts as a tool in palaeoecology and biostratigraphy

01 January 2014 → 31 December 2016
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Ecology
    • Environmental science and management
    • Other environmental sciences
  • Engineering and technology
    • Multimedia processing
    • Biological system engineering
    • Signal processing
archives paleo ecology
Project description

Dinoflagellates are part of the marine phytoplankton and produce so-called resting cysts during the sexual stages of their life cycle. These cysts are very small (generally between 15 and 100 um), very resistant and are abundantly present in sediments. Distributions of dinoflagellates and their cysts are determined by environmental parameters such as temperature, salinity, nutrients and ice cover, and subsequently these form excellent paleoclimate proxies. Such environmental changes are also recorded in morphological variations of the cysts. In addition, certain dinoflagellate cysts are excellent biostratigraphical indicators (relative dating of sediments) since they have a broad geographical distribution and short stratigraphical ranges. Palaeoclimate reconstructions, biostratigraphical and taxonomic studies rely on light microscopy and high-resolution image acquisition. A high-resolution digital camera for this type of research is vital since it guarantees accurate measurements and imaging. Currently there are nine researchers at the research unit (Louwye, Quaijtaal, Gurdebeke, Mertens, Verhoeven, Gelorini and three MSc students) in need of daily use of a high-resolution digitial camera, which makes the current microscopic configuration insufficient and inefficient.