AAPG Foundation 2019 Grants-in-Aid Projects

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Morphometric Analysis of Biostratigraphically Significant Fusulinid Foraminiferan genus Triticites in the Central and Southwestern United States


Repeatable taxonomic identifications are necessary to obtain accurate biostratigraphic ages and correlations among strata and across basins. Fusulinid foraminifera are consistently used to correlate late Paleozoic strata, however, species descriptions are often qualitative and subjective to taxonomic worker, leading to taxonomic disagreements and age uncertainty. To exploit the highest estimated recoverable unconventional oil reserve in the US in the early Permian Wolfcamp Formation, we need improved fusulinid biostratigraphy. To achieve this, I will develop a quantitative classification scheme for the biostratigraphically important fusulinid genus Triticites across the Pennsylvanian-Permian boundary. Using morphological measurements of identified museum specimens collected in the Central and Southwestern United States, I will perform morphometric analyses to test the hypothesis that congeneric species can be differentiated quantitatively and identify morphological characters important for species differentiation. In addition, I will determine the taxonomic differences based on regional location and taxonomic worker. This taxonomic model will enable identification of unknown Triticites specimens based on morphology by novice taxonomists.