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Isabella Premoli Silva

Isabella Premoli Silva
Isabella Premoli Silva

The 2014 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal is awarded to Isabella Premoli Silva in recognition of her contributions to the study of Mesozoic and Cenozoic foraminifera, for her leadership in the fields of micropalaeontology, stratigraphy, palaeoceanography and scientific ocean drilling, and for her role as a mentor for young geoscientists.

Isabella Premoli Silva has been one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of micropalaeontology and stratigraphy for over 50 years. Silva has been an indefatigable and ardent practitioner and proponent of the use of foraminifera in many aspects of biostratigraphy and palaeoceanography. She has been associated with some of the most important discoveries in the last decades. Premoli Silva’s paper with Hans Peter Luterbacher led Alvarez and colleagues to look carefully at the Gubbio section in Italy for the mass extinctions and bolide impact evidence at the Cretaceous/Palaeogene (K/P) boundary. The discovery and description of Parvularugoglobigerina eugubina as a ‘disaster fauna’ offered new insights on the K/P boundary event. Premoli Silva’s biostratigraphic studies on the Gubbio section provided the first calibration of the Upper Cretaceous to Eocene reversal polarity scale.

Premoli Silva’s pioneering study of the stratigraphy and palaeoenvironments of Alpine and Apennine sequences has led to major advances in understanding the origin of Cretaceous black shales and their link to orbital cycles. Silva has been able to bring new insights in the study of ancients carbonate platforms as well as the pelagic realm in the Palaeogene and Neogene, demonstrating causal links between processes occurring at the surface and at the seafloor by investigating both planktonic and benthic fauna.

Premoli Silva has authored or co-authored more than 200 papers concerning micropalaeontology, stratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, palaeobiogeography, and palaeoceanography from the Palaeozoic to recent epochs, with emphasis on Cretaceous to Miocene planktonic foraminifera, and contributed to four major taxonomic atlases of planktonic foraminifera. Further, she has been highly active in numerous Italian, European and international committees and has served on the editorial boards of several palaeontological and geological journals. For all these reasons, Premoli Silva is a worthy recipient of the Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal.

PDF document (6.9 MB) of the Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal Lecture given at the EGU General Assembly 2014.