Centre Européen
de Recherche et d'Enseignement
des Géosciences de l'Environnement

Micropaleontological Preparation Laboratory


Scientific Lab Manager : Christine Paillès, IR1 CNRS, pailles@cerege.fr, lpm@cerege.fr

Technical Lab Manager : Jean-Charles Mazur, AI CNRS, lpm@cerege.fr

Technical Staff: Sandrine Conrod, TCE CNRS, lpm@cerege.fr

The micropaleontology preparation laboratory is part of the climate thematic team at CEREGE. This platform brings together researchers who use bio-indicators present in oceanic and continental sedimentary archives to reconstruct the evolution of environmental parameters on different time scales.

Studied bio-indicators:





Benthic and Planktic Foraminifera

Samples analysed

Natural aquatic (net fishing, bottle, water-sediment interface)


Plants (field or herbarium samples)



Sedimentary (cores)





The extraction of bio-indicators is a crucial step that determines the quality of future analyses.

Extraction protocols are adapted according to the nature (carbonated, siliceous, organic) of the bio-indicators and the degree of purity required for subsequent analyses.



The bio-indicators are then analysed microscopically (optics, SEM-EDX cf. Automated Microscopy Laboratory) or geochemically (ICP-AES, ICP-MS, IRMS, nanoSIMS, 14C-AMS cf. Stable Isotope Laboratory).

Laboratory Space

The micropaleontology laboratory dedicated to calcareous and siliceous bioindicators occupies an area of 48 m2 + 2 annexes of 15 m2.

It offers 10 work stations including 6 under fume hoods.




5 fume hoods (150 x 90 cm)

1 laminair flow hood

1 ventilated cupboard for chemical storage 500 L

1 tentacular hood

2 precision balances (Sartorius, Metler)

1 ultra micro balance (Metler)

1 oven (Thermolyne, 1000°C)

1 centrifuge (Sigma, rotors 6 holders)

1 centrifugeuse (VWR, rotors 6 holders)

      1 micro-centrifuge (Eppendorf)

1 rotating agitator (GFL 3040, 16 échantillons)

1 horizontal agitator (GFL, 20 échantillons)

3 ultrasonic baths

1 vegetation grinder

1 laminar flow particle separator (PostNova) + 4 peristaltic pumps (Ismantec & Heidolf)

 Magnetic stirrer plates (18 postes)

2 sand hotplates (20x30 cm)

3 multiprobes (VWT, temp, ph, cond, potentiel redox, dissolved O2)

1 digital label machine (Dymo)

1 MilliQ water system

1 reverse osmosis water purification system


The palynology laboratory occupies a surface area of 40 m2 with 6 work stations two of which are under fume hoods.

2 fume hoods (150 x 90 cm)

2 centrifuges (Sigma, rotors 6 holders)

2 hot plates (20X30 cm)

1 fume hood with strong ventilation for hydrofloric acid storage





Services offered

  • Extraction of bio-indicators (CNRS official pricing on request)

The different bio-indicators are extracted and concentrated by :

(1) a series of selective chemical extractions consisting of removing constituents that may interfere with observation or analysis.
(2) by sieving and/or filtration.

The residue obtained after extraction is then:

  •  mounted between slide and coverslip (pollen, diatoms, phytoliths and coccoliths)
  • "picked" under a binocular microscope (foraminifera)






  • High Purity Extraction for geochemical analysis δ18O, δ17O, δ13C carbonates and silicates (CNRS pricing on request)

Obtaining high-purity concentrates is a prerequisite for geochemical analyses of certain bio-indicators (foraminifera, diatoms and phytoliths). For this purpose, the chemical extraction steps are multiplied and diversified at controlled temperatures. A physical separation phase by SPLITT (continuous aqueous laminar flow particle separator) may be necessary. The purity of the concentrates is checked by SEM-EDS.

  • Extraction and quantification of microplastics in water/sediments

Prices on request, contact vidal@cerege.fr, licari@cerge.fr, pailles@cerege.fr

  • Semi-automated calcimetry

Prices on request

  • Microscopic analysis

Phytoliths - contact barboni@cerege.fr

Diatoms - contact pailles@cerege.fr

Foraminifera - contact garidel@cerege.fr and licari@cerege.fr

Coccolithophores - contact beaufort@cerege.fr

Prices on request


  • Training in the study of bio-indicators
Reference collection (compiled by Raymonde Bonnefille) of pollens from modern plants from Ethiopia and East Africa (7000 species)



Researchers working in the laboratory

Anne Alexandre

Doris Barboni

Luc Beaufort

Clara Bolton

Françoise Chalié

Yannick Garcin

Thibault de Garidel-Thoron

Guillaume Leduc

Laetitia Licari

Florence Sylvestre

Baptiste Suchéras-Marx

Kazuyo Tachikawa

Laurence Vidal