Sand full of mysteries

It is much harder than I thought. I am no expert in marine biology but I would really like to know what my sand samples contain. I have turned to several biologists and paleontologists but so far I have received very little useful insight.

Well, now I am turning to You. If you happen to be a marine biologist or know someone who could help me, please let them know of me or my blog. I have some nice material and I am willing to share it here but pictures without explanations are not much worth.

Here are some biogenic fragments picked from a fine-grained sand sample collected in Zakynthos, Greece. I know most of them are foraminifera but there is some other stuff too.

Biogenic grainsZakynthos biogenous sand grains
Biogenic grains from a sand sample collected in Zakynthos, Greece. The width of the view is 7 mm.

1. Spiroloculina (foraminifera)
2. Clam or gastropod shell. Pelecypod?
3. Elphidium (foraminifera)
4. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
5. Ostracoda
6. Sorites (foraminifera)
7. Agglutinated foraminifera? Clavulina or Bigenerina.
8. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
9. Foraminifera
10. Calcareous coralline algae
11. Cibicides (foraminifera)
12. Elphidium (foraminifera)
13. Echinoid spine
14. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
15. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
16. Sorites (foraminifera)
17. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
18. Gastropoda
19. Foraminifera. Homotrema?
20. Echinoid spine?
21. Peneroplis (foraminifera)
22. Gastropoda
23. Mollusk shell. Clam?

6 comments to Sand full of mysteries

  • Howard

    Hi, Siim–

    Nice photos! Some day you should write a post on how you make your sand photos: equipment, lighting, etc.

    Here are some of my identifications/guesses:

    2. I agree, probably a pelecypod (clam) shell fragment (or gastropod?)
    5. Ostracode
    7. Probably one of the agglutinated forams, such as Clavulina or Bigenerina.
    10. Possibly a fragment of calcareous algae (“coralline algae”)
    13. For sure an echinoid spine.
    18. Probably a gastropod shell fragment.
    19. Probably a foram, such as Homotrema (one of the attached, pink/red forams)
    20. Probably an echinoderm fragment, perhaps from a starfish or echinoid
    22. Gastropod for sure.
    23. Can’t tell–probably a mollusc shell of some kind.

  • Thanks, Howard. Your comment takes me a big step forward. My photo equipment besides camera is mostly homemade improvisation. There is really nothing fancy and I am a bit embarrassed to demonstrate it (cardboard box with black paper glued inside, broken piece of window glass, etc.). But maybe soon I’ll write something although it may be a bit early because I am still learning new things all the time.

  • v.r.madghusudan

    nice mysteries of sand nice collection

  • Tadesse

    Nice Pics. We were trying to take some pictures of Forams (older, tertiary), but couldn’t get such a quality like yours. I really want to Know more on how you took those pictures. That will be very helpful.


  • Dr Milind

    Hi I am a Marine Biologist and I can work on the identification if it comes as a small project.