Definition of foraminifer in English:



  • A single-celled planktonic animal with a perforated chalky shell through which slender protrusions of protoplasm extend. Most kinds are marine, and when they die thick ocean-floor sediments are formed from their shells.

    Order Foraminiferida, phylum Rhizopoda, kingdom Protista

    See also globigerina
    • ‘In a Swedish fjord sediment where G. pseudospinescens is the dominant foraminifer, the intracellular nitrate pool in this species accounted for 20% of the large, cell-bound, nitrate pool present in an oxygen-free zone.’
    • ‘The Gracisce packstones contain a rich foraminiferal assemblage, composed of larger and planktonic foraminifera along with authigenic glauconite.’
    • ‘These taxa consist of a broad array of organisms, including foraminifers, corals, bryozoans, mollusks, echinoderms, and fish.’
    • ‘It has been estimated that a large 150 micron wide shell of a foraminifer may take as long as 10 days to sink to the bottom of the ocean, whereas smaller ones would probably take much longer.’
    • ‘Far from land in the deep sea, where little material comes from erosion of the land, the bottom sediment is made up mainly of shells of planktonic organisms, especially foraminifera.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin foramen, foramin- (see foramen) + -fer ‘bearing’ (from ferre ‘to bear’).