Microfossils from the Circum-Arctic

UNIS PhD candidate Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir hunting for microfossils in Agardhbukta in Svalbard. Photo: Maayke Koevoets.

Top image: UNIS PhD candidate Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir hunting for microfossils in Agardhbukta in Svalbard. Photo: Maayke Koevoets.

UNIS PhD candidate Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir has carried out the first study of foraminifera (microfossils) from the Carolinefjell formation in Svalbard and describes six new species from Slottsmøyleddet in the Agardhfjell formation. Hjálmarsdóttir will defend her PhD thesis on 8 April 2021.

31 March 2021
Press release from the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

If you ever find yourself on a white sandy beach, take a small sample and look at it under a microscope. If you are lucky, you could discover microfossils called foraminifera. There are commonly hundreds and sometimes thousands of foraminifera in each sample, divided into tens of genera and species. The numerous specimens enable the researcher to perform various statistical tests which can provide information that larger and less abundant fossils cannot.

Fossil foraminifera are useful in biostratigraphy, palaeoecology, and palaeobiogeography, in addition to oil exploration which developed as early as towards the end of the 19th century. The interest in foraminifera applications intensified after the middle of last century because of growing hydrocarbon exploration, requiring more insight into the stratigraphy and palaeoenvironments of sedimentary basins all over the world.

Hjálmarsdóttir’s thesis focuses on the Circum-Arctic, a part of the world under-researched for foraminifera. Six new beautifully preserved species from the Jurassic to Cretaceous Slottsmøya Member in Svalbard have been described, and the first foraminiferal study on the Early Cretaceous Carolinefjellet Formation in Svalbard is presented.

The state-of-the-art research in the thesis therefore provides an important link in information between the basins of Siberia and the North American Arctic.


PhD candidate Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir will defend her thesis “New insight into the Taxonomy, Biostratigraphy, and Palaeoecology of Jurassic – Cretaceous Arctic Foraminifera” on 8 April 2021 at 14:00 on Zoom at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo.

More information on the disputation (Natural History Museum)

The adjudication committee consists of:
Professor Emeritus Claudia Schröder-Adams, Carleton University (Canada); Professor Emeritus Malcolm Hart, University of Plymouth (UK); Professor Elisabeth Alve, University of Oslo (Norway). Leader of the public defense is Acting Head of Research Hugo de Boer, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo.

Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir has been supervised by Professor Øyvind Hammer, Natural History Museum, UiO; Professor Emeritus Snorre Olaussen, UNIS; Professor Emeritus Felix M. Gradstein, Natural History Museum, UiO and Associate Professor Maria Jensen, UNIS.

PhD candidate Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir
Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir. Photo: Private.

About the candidate

Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir is originally from Ísafjörður, Iceland, and completed her BSc degree in Geology at the University of Iceland in 2010, after taking the last semester as an exchange student at UNIS. Hanna then completed her MSc degree in Palaeontology and Stratigraphy from the University of Oslo in 2012.

After working in the industry in England for three years, Hanna returned to Svalbard in 2015 to start her PhD work at the Arctic Geology department at UNIS. She is a part of the team at the Natural History Museum in Oslo, and her project is sponsored by the LoCrA collaboration – Lower Cretaceous basinal studies of the Arctic. She is currently self-employed in her biostratigraphy consultancy company, HH Biostrat AS.

Contact information:
Phone: +47 941 77 489
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/foramhanna

Labrospira lenticulata
Labrospira lenticulata, an excellently preserved specimen and a new species of foraminifera, from the palaeoseeps of the Slottsmøya Member in Svalbard. Photo: Hanna Rósa Hjálmarsdóttir/UNIS.






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