A Colorful Foram: Globigerinoides ruber

Colorful layers of a microscopic foram.
(Howard J. Spero/University of California, Davis)

This foraminifera was collected as it floated about 3 meters below the surface off the coast of Puerto Rico. The central dark area is the shell surrounded by spines. The tiny yellow dots are symbiotic algae, which live in the protoplasm of the host organism. When the foraminifer dies, the spines fall off and only the shell is preserved in the fossil record. Shell building animals like forams will be affected by ocean acidification and warming sea temperatures