John Wiley & Sons Paleobiology of the Polycystine Radiolaria Cover Polycystine radiolaria are exclusively marine protists and are found in all ocean waters, from polar.. Product #: 978-0-470-67144-3 Regular price: $139.25 $139.25 In Stock

Paleobiology of the Polycystine Radiolaria

Lazarus, David / Suzuki, Noritoshi / Ishitani, Yoshiyuki / Takahashi, Kozo


1. Edition February 2021
504 Pages, Softcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-0-470-67144-3
John Wiley & Sons

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Polycystine radiolaria are exclusively marine protists and are found in all ocean waters, from polar regions to the tropics, and at all water depths. There are approximately 600 distinct described living species and several thousand fossil species of polycystines. Radiolarians in general, and polycystines in particular, have recently been shown to be a major component of the living plankton and important to the oceanic carbon cycle. As fossils radiolarians are also fairly common, and often occur in sediments where other types of fossils are absent. This has made them very valuable for certain types of geologic research, particularly estimating the geologic age of the sediments containing them, and as guides to past oceanic water conditions. As our current understanding of the biology, and even taxonomy of the living fauna is still very incomplete, evolutionary studies based on living polycystines are still rare. However, the common occurrence of numerous specimens for many species, and in a wide variety of oceanic environments, provides an excellent opportunity to study the processes of biologic evolution in the fossil record.

Paleobiology of the Polycystine Radiolaria is the first major book on radiolarians to appear in the western literature since 2001. Focusing on living and fossil siliceous shelled radiolarians, it is notable for its emphasis not upon morphologic or taxonomic detail but on concepts and applications. The book attempts to provide a balanced, critical review of what is known of the biology, ecology, and fossil record of the group, as well as their use in evolutionary, biostratigraphic and paleoceanographic research. Full chapters on the history of study, and molecular biology, are the first ever in book form.

Written for an audience of advanced undergraduate to doctoral students, as well as for a broad range of professionals in the biological and Earth sciences, Paleobiology of the Polycystine Radiolaria summarizes current understanding of the marine planktonic protist group polycystine radiolaria, both in living and fossil form.



1. History


Scientific context

Early Studies (first half of 19th Century)

Second half of the 19th Century to ca 1920

Legacy of early studies

Early 20th Century (ca 1920-1940)

The Early New period (ca 1940-1970)

The origins of radiolarian biostratigraphy: 1940s to 1950s

Deep Sea Drilling



Mid New Period 1970-2000

Current Period 2000-Present

2. Biology

General characteristics of planktonic protist biology

Physical characteristics of the pelagic ocean

Plankton Taxa

Ecologic and Behavioral Constraints due to Small Body Size

Basic radiolarian cellular structure


Skeleton formation and growth


Colonial forms

Life cycle





Abundance and Role in Carbon Cycle




3. Ecology



Vertical distribution

Tropical submergence

Longitudinal gradients and upwelling assemblages

Latitudinal gradients

Coastal gradients

Seasonal variability

Interannual variability

4. Genetics


Molecular phylogenetic position of 'radiolarians' within eukaryotes

Molecular studies of radiolarian's position within eukaryotes

Relationships of radiolarian clades

Origination times of Radiolarian clades

Family level phylogeny

Spumellaria (shell-bearing radiolarians)

Collodaria (colonial or naked radiolarians)



Microevolution of Radiolaria

Diversity of pico-radiolarian material

Transcriptomics of Radiolaria


DNA Extraction

Reproductive cell method

Dissecting cell method



5. Taxonomy and Fossil Record


PART 1 - Radiolarian Taxonomy

Principles ofSpecies-Level Taxonomy

Rules for describing and naming species

Current Status of Descriptive Radiolarian Taxonomy

Principles of Higher Level Taxonomy

Haeckel and the Beginnings of Higher Level Radiolarian Taxonomy

Biologic Systematics

Higher-level Taxonomy in Radiolaria

The Observational Basis of Taxonomy: Structures of the Radiolarian Shell

Higher Level Taxonomy in this Book

Formal classification of Polycystina

Cenozoic Taxa

Mesozoic and Paleozoic Taxa

Species-level Variation in Radiolaria

PART 2 - Summary of the Radiolarian Fossil Record

Cambrian and Ordovician

Silurian to the Lower Carboniferous

Late Paleozoic to late Mesozoic siliceous sedimentation

Mass extinctions at the end of the Paleozoic Era

Basal Mesozoic Scarcity of Radiolarian Fossils and Faunal Turnover (Early Triassic)


Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass extinction


Early and Middle Jurassic Radiolaria

Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous


The K/T Extinction Event and early Paleocene


6. Preservation and Methods



Geographic Variation in Preservation


Loss of rock record

Differences between Modern and Ancient Oceans

Quality of Radiolarian Fossil Record


Collecting material from the water column

Collecting sediments

Collecting lithified material from sections on land

Recovering radiolarians from samples

Extracting radiolarians with intact protoplasm

Extracting radiolarian skeletons

Separation of radiolarians from other chemically resistant similar sized components of residue

Mounting radiolarians

Live preparations

Dissection and serial sectioning

Imaging radiolarians

Visualisation (enhanced imagery)


Automatic Indentification

7. Paleoceanography


Radiolarians as tracers of water masses

Assemblage-based methods of paleoceanographic analysis

Non-temperature uses of assemblage analyses

Radiolarians in bulk: summary indices and non taxonomic uses of radiolarians in paleoceanography

8. Stratigraphy


Biostratigraphy in shallow marine rocks: general aspects

Biostratigraphy in deep-sea sediment sections

Other types of geochronologic information

Radiometric dating and absolute age

Paleomagnetic stratigraphy

Stable isotope stratigraphy


Quantitative biostratigraphy

Cenozoic radiolarian stratigraphy

History of Development

Tropical Cenozoic radiolarian stratigraphy

Subtropical North Atlantic to Arctic

North Pacific

Southern Ocean



Important Sections

Important Species

Mesozoic Radiolarian Stratigraphy


Europe and southwest North America

Low-latitude western part of Mesotethys

Mid-latitude northern part of Mesotethys

Russian epicontinental seas

East margin of the mid-latitude Pacific

Northwest Pacific

Other regions

The Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary (Tithonian-Berriasian boundary)


Middle and Late Jurassic

Lower Jurassic

Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary


Latest Triassic (Rhaetian)

Carnian and Norian

Late Olenekian to Ladinian

Basal Triassic (Induan) and Permian-Triassic (P-T) boundary

Paleozoic Radiolarian Stratigraphy



Devonian and Silurian

Ordovician and Cambrian

9. Evolution

Introduction and general principles

Features of the deep-sea microfossil record relevant to the study of evolution


Pattern and processes

Examples of microevolution






Definitions and Theory

Theories of diversity and evolution

Macroevolutionary Patterns in Radiolaria

Origin of radiolarians

Origin of Collodaria and Colonial Radiolaria

Origin of higher taxa within radiolaria - general comments

Diversity history of radiolarians

Methods of diversity reconstruction

Other problems of diversity reconstruction

Data for diversity reconstruction

Global Phanerozoic diversity



Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary


Other aspects of Cenozoic radiolarian macroevolutionary change

Phanerozoic diversity - a more modest view

Summary Discussion


"Paleobiology of the Polycystine Radiolaria is well worth the purchase price and should be in the personal library of all protistologists working on marine forms." Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology

"A welcome addition to the literature in a field that is rich in potential for interdisciplinary research." Journal of Plankton Research
About the Editors

David Lazarus has studied the paleobiology and earth science applications of Cenozoic radiolaria for more than 40 years, formerly holding research positions at Columbia University/Lamont Earth Observatory, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. He is currently Curator for Micropaleontology at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.

Noritoshi Suzuki has studied the taxonomy and species diversity of radiolarians thoughout the Phanerozoic. He started his career in field geology, switched to Devonian radiolarians for his Masters degree, and received his PhD degree for a study of Cenozoic radiolarians from Tohoku University, Japan. He has co-published a monograph on the radiolarians of the Ehrenberg Collection (Berlin), and has published integrative studies of radiolarian morphology and phylogenetics. He is currently Associate Professor at Tohoku University.

Yoshiyuki Ishitani is a paleobiologist, focusing on the evolution of radiolarians. He is currently a researcher at the University of Tsukuba, and was formerly at Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Glasgow University, and the University of Tokyo.

Kozo Takahashi has studied the distribution and ecology of radiolarians and other siliceous plankton collected from ocean waters for several decades. Following an early career of staff scientist positions at the Woods Hole and Scripps oceanographic institutions he held multiple professorships in Japan, including universities in Sapporo and Kyushu University in Fukuoka.

D. Lazarus, Museum fur Naturkunde, Germany; N. Suzuki, Tohoku University, Japan; Y. Ishitani, University of Tsukuba, Japan; K. Takahashi, Kyushu University, Japan