Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011). TimeScale Creator Evolutionary Tree. Corrected Version, July 2018. Five datapacks for Java software package.

TitleCenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011). TimeScale Creator Evolutionary Tree. Corrected Version, July 2018. Five datapacks for Java software package.
Brief TitleAze & others (2011) Evolutionary tree datapacks; Corrected Version, July 2018
Collection TypeDataset
Access PrivilegesStratophylogenies
DOI - Digital Object Identifier10.25911/5b8df4ddb9497
Website Addresshttps://timescalecreator.org/datapack/datapack.php
Metadata LanguageEnglish
Data LanguageEnglish
Significance StatementThe unique macroevolutionary dataset of Aze & others has been transferred onto the TimeScale Creator visualisation platform while, as much as practicable, preserving the original unrevised content of its morphospecies and lineage evolutionary trees. This is a “Corrected Version” (not a revision), which can serve as an on-going historical case example because it is now updatable with future time scales. Both macroevolutionary and biostratigraphic communities are now equipped with an enduring phylogenetic database of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminiferal morphospecies and lineages for which both graphics and content can be visualised together. Key to maintaining the currency of the trees has been specification of time scales for sources of stratigraphic ranges; these scales then locate the range dates within the calibration series. Some ranges or their sources have undergone mostly minor corrections or amendments. Links between lineage and morphospecies trees have been introduced to improve consistency and transparency in timing within the trees. Also, Aze & others’ dual employment of morphospecies and lineage concepts is further elaborated here, given misunderstandings that have ensued. Features displayed on the trees include options for line styles for additional categories for range extensions or degrees of support for ancestor–descendant proposals; these have been applied to a small number of instances as an encouragement to capture more nuanced data in the future. In addition to labeling of eco- and morpho-groups on both trees, genus labels can be attached to the morphospecies tree to warn of polyphyletic morphogenera, and the lineage codes have been decoded to ease their recognition. However, it is the mouse-over pop-ups that provide the greatest opportunity to embed supporting information in the trees. They include details for stratigraphic ranges and their recalibration steps, positions relative to the standard planktonic-foraminiferal zonation, and applications as datums, as well as mutual listings between morphospecies and lineages which ease the tracing of their interrelated contents.
Brief DescriptionThe Timescale Creator platform is an interactive user environment in which the chart, in our case the evolutionary tree [1, see p. 22–25, 88–92], can be refreshed as options are selected (such as stratigraphic or Earth-history columns) and, given its vector graphics design, unlimited zoom and pop-ups can be employed on the fly. For example the morphospecies and lineage trees of the 2011 study can now be displayed against a time scale comprising not only standard epochs but a comprehensive gamut of Earth-history columns, not just the standard chrono- and bio-stratigraphic units figured in the 2011 paper. And interactively, mouse-over pop-ups allow display of further details of these units (e.g., access to their up-to-date internationally agreed definitions).

At the broadest view, the Timescale Creator versions of the 2011 trees can displayed against a monochrome background or projected against a background coloured by stages, the latter especially useful to keep track of the time interval while zooming in. A cursory look over the original 2011 and Timescale Creator versions of the whole trees reveals some variation in tree shape: for both sets of trees, spacing of clades is specific to each manifestation of a tree, it being determined by graphical programming algorithms dependent on, for example, the length of labels within the tree. A similar artifactual effect on tree shape to note (again, applicable to both sets of trees) is the left- or right-hand positioning (rotation) of descendant clades relative to ancestors.

1. Ogg JG, Gradstein FM, Chunduru NV, Gangi P, Lugowski A, Ault A. Manuals for Timescale Creator use, and for making TSC datapacks. West Lafayette (Indiana): Geologic TimeScale Foundation Inc., 2012 https://timescalecreator.org/download/TSC_Manuals_April2012.pdf.

Files -

for visualisation (File, Add Datapack) by TimeScale Creator, available from timescalecreator.org

- morphospecies coloured and labeled by ecogroup
- morphospecies coloured and labeled by morphogroup
- morphospecies coloured and labeled by genus
- lineages coloured and labeled by ecogroup
- lineages coloured and labeled by morphogroup

starting settings for the datapacks (Settings, Load), after adding some or all of the datapacks
- TSCEvolTree_Aze&2011_CorrJul2018_5dpks.tsc

snips of entire tree
- against white background
- against Chronostrat background
- against white background
- against Chronostrat background
Full DescriptionTimescale Creator–database customization

Features provided by Timescale Creator enhance the information which can be gleaned from the 2011 trees. These features can be provided either from functions already built into Timescale Creator, or via “in-house” programming within the database which has exploited the built-in functions to provide data and information on key issues of interest to the case study. It is this flexibility provided by the combination of Timescale Creator functions and datapacks programmed from the back-end relational database which is showcased below.


Colours were used in the original 2011 trees [1, Appendices 2, 3 ], and now in the Timescale Creator trees, to display eco- and morpho-groups (respectively). The Timescale Creator trees also add coloured group labels (rather than colouring the range labels as in the original trees), and this allows identification of groups without recourse to the legend. These group labels are positioned on ancestor–descendant branches, but have here been programmed to display only when the group membership changes from ancestor to descendant. As a result, they have the added advantage of highlighting origins and reappearances of the selected groups or properties in a phylogenetic context. A handy use of this feature is when, for example, this is programmed to apply to the generic assignment of morphospecies, making polyphyletic morphogenera, intentioned or otherwise, easy to spot.

Lineage labels

To label range lines on the lineage tree, the Timescale Creator version has been programmed to augment each lineage code with its list of contained morphospecies, e.g., the listing appended to Lineage N1-N3 is “H. holmdelensis > G. archeocompressa > G. planocompressa > G. compressa“. The morphospecies series in these listings is ordered by lowest occurrence, and so the >’s denote stratigraphic succession. (The >’s do not necessarily represent ancestor–descendant relationships; of course only a single line of descent could be expressed in such a format.) This allows the lineage and its proposed morphological succession to be grasped much more easily, including a ready comparison with the morphospecies tree.


Pop-ups provide the most ample opportunity within Timescale Creator to provide access to supporting information for trees. Because pop-up windows are flexibly resizable and are coded in html, textual content has in effect few quota limitations and, in fact, can be employed to view external sources such as Internet sites and image files without the need to store them in the pop-up itself. They can also be programmed to follow a format tailored for the subject matter, as is done here.

Pop-ups for the morphospecies tree display the contents of the 2011 paper’s summary table [1, Appendix S1, Table S3], including decoding of eco- and morpho-group numbers, range statistics from the Neptune portal, and tailoring the reference list to each morphospecies. They also incorporate the ancestor [from 1, Appendix S5, worksheet aM], specify the type of cladogenetic event (all are, in fact, budding for this budding/bifurcating topology [2]), and level of support for the ancestor–descendant proposal (see § Branches). Lineages containing the morphospecies are listed, along with their morphospecies content and age range (for details, see § Linkages between morphospecies and lineage trees [3]). Also included are the binomen’s original assignation and, where available, links to portals, Chronos [4][5-7] and the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) [8].

Range lines

Range-line styles have been used for the Timescale Creator version of the 2011 trees to depict four levels of confidence for ranges. Apart from accepted ranges (lines of usual thickness), two less-confident records of stratigraphic occurrence are depicted: “questioned” (thin line) and “questioned-and-rare” (broken line). For extensions to ranges that are not based on stratigraphic occurrences but are hypothesized (for various reasons), a “conjectured” range is separately recognised (dotted line) to ensure that stratigraphic and hypothesized categories are not conflated. There is an option to attach age labels (in Ma) to range lines, providing the chart with an explicit deep-time positioning throughout.


Similarly to ranges, branch-line styles have been used to depict three levels of stratophenetic support for ancestry. Almost all ancestor–descendant proposals for the 2011 study are presumed to be “Well Supported” (correspondence between detailed stratigraphic sequences and plausible phyletic series; drawn as a broken line). A small number have been categorised as less or better supported than the usual: “Not Well Supported” (only broad correspondence between stratigraphic order and suggestive phyletic series; drawn as a dotted line); or “Strongly Supported” (detailed morphometric–stratigraphic sequences from ancestor to descendant; continuous line).

Linkages between morphospecies and lineage trees

Many range points of the lineages of the 2011 study are herein directly linked to those of included morphospecies: not quite half of start dates and almost all of end dates. Brief details of this linkage are displayed in the “Stratigraphic Range (continued)” section of the pop-up, where the linkage will usually result in the same precalibrated Ma value between lineage and morphospecies range points, but these values will differ where there has been a correction or amendment of the original Ma value. The reason for choosing the morphospecies range point is usually briefly indicated. Where the original Ma value of the lineage range point is retained and not directly linked to a morphospecies point, the morphospecies and its time scale that are employed nonetheless for calibration are indicated.

Pop-ups are also employed to more easily appreciate the linkages between morphospecies and lineages, following from the morphospecies content of lineages. These are displayed both in terms of the lineages in which a morphospecies occurs and in terms of the morphospecies included in a lineage, along with other information to help track these interrelationships.

1. Aze T, Ezard TH, Purvis A, Coxall HK, Stewart DR, Wade BS, et al. A phylogeny of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera from fossil data. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 2011;86(4):900-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00178.x.
2. see § Data, topologies, and taxa of the 2011 study’s trees: Tree topologies, above
3. a morphospecies contained in more than one lineage is depicted in Figure 20a
4. Support for on-going activity on the foraminiferal section of Chronos [116] no longer appears viable; other portals may need to be linked in later versions e.g., pforams@mikrotax [117, 118]
5. Huber BT. Foraminiferal databases (Mesozoic Paleocene, Eocene Planktonic Foraminifera Taxonomic databases), Chronos Portal Washington (DC, USA): Consortium for Ocean Leadership for the Chronos Internal Coordinating Committee (Iowa State University and the National Science Foundation). Available from: http://portal.chronos.org/gridsphere/gridsphere?cid=foram_working_group (not updated in recent years).
6. Young J, Huber BT, Bown P, Wade BS. pforams@mikrotax (UK Natural Environment Research Council), within mikrotax.org London: University College London. Available from: http://www.mikrotax.org/pforams/index.html.
7. Huber BT, Petrizzo MR, Young JR, Falzoni F, Gilardoni SE, Bown PR, et al. Pforams@microtax: a new online taxonomic database for planktonic foraminifera. Micropaleontology. 2017;62(6):429-38.
8. Hayward BW, Le Coze F, Gross O. World Foraminifera Database, World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (Flanders Marine Institute), Oostende (Belgium): WoRMS Editorial Board; 2018 [2018-01-09]. Available from: http://www.marinespecies.org/foraminifera, http://www.marinespecies.org doi:10.14284/170
Contact Emailbarry.fordham@anu.edu.au
Contact AddressBarry G. Fordham
Research School of Earth Sciences
Jaeger 8, Building 142, Mills Road
Australian National University
Acton, ACT 2601 Australia
Contact Phone Number+61 (0)421 611 913
Principal InvestigatorBarry G. Fordham
CollaboratorsTracy Aze
Christian Haller
Abdullah Khan Zehady
Paul N. Pearson
James G. Ogg
Bridget S. Wade
Fields of Research040308 - Palaeontology (incl. Palynology)
060309 - Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
040311 - Stratigraphy (incl. Biostratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy)
040605 - Palaeoclimatology
0603 - Evolutionary Biology
Socio-Economic Objective960304 - Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts)
Keywordsevolutionary tree
timescale calibration
data visualisation
planktonic foraminifera
TimeScale Creator
relational database
Type of Research ActivityStrategic basic research
Date Coverage
Date FromDate To
Time Period2012-07
Date of data creation2012-07
Year of data publication2018
Creator(s) for Citation
Given NameSurname
Barry G.Fordham
Abdullah KhanZehady
Paul N.Pearson
James G.Ogg
Bridget S.Wade
Publisher for CitationThe Australian National University Data Commons
Related Websites
https://timescalecreator.org/datapack/datapack.phpTimescale Creator Datapacks
Access RightsOpen Access
Access Rights TypeOpen
Rights held in and over the dataCreative Commons Licence (CC BY) is assigned to this data. Details of the licence can be found at http://creativecommons.org.au/licences.
Licence TypeCC-BY - Attribution
Retention PeriodIndefinitely
Disposal DateNever
Extent or Quantity10
Data Size38.3 MB
Data Management PlanNo

Updated:  07 February 2019/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator