NSB began as an offline database 'Neptune' in the early 1990s, as a research project headed by Dave Lazarus in Hans Thierstein's group at the ETH in Zürich. It was inspired by the Sepkoski marine families database (1979) which also at a later date inspired the development of the Paleobiology Database (PBDB). Several people contributed to data uploads and taxonomic list development, including Katharina von Salis, Jean Pierre Beckmann, Cathy Nigrini, Jean Pierre Caulet, Connie Sancetta and Cinzia Spencer-Cervato. Lazarus left the group for a position in Berlin in 1994, although data entry by the ETH group and Michael Knappertsbusch (Basel) continued. The initial content was analyzed and described by Spencer-Cervato (1999)- ca 200K occurrence records for Neogene plankton (foraminifera, coccolithophores, diatoms and radiolaria), from ca 100 sections.
The next phase of development took place in the early 2000s under Cervato's leadership as head of the NSF Chronos project (Ames, Iowa) with Patrick Diver (database) and Doug Fils (website front-end). Neptune was ported to standard sql technology, content was extended to ca 500,000 occurrence records and 300 sections by Cervato, Mark Leckie and Kendra Clark, focussing exclusively on calcareous plankon data but including many Paleogene and a few Cretaceous sections. Several simple queries were created for website users. In parallel, John Alroy of the PBDB provided, at the request of the PBDB micropaleo group (Lazarus, Jeremy Young, Huber and several others) a search function at the PBDB website for paleobiology type queries. These access opportunities supported several significant studies by external research groups (see list of selected papers below).
The current phase of development began in 2009 as the Chronos version of Neptune became increasingly unstable as NSF funded technical maintenance had ended. With the support of Niels Stenseth and Lee Hsiang Liow (Oslo), Diver and Lazarus ported Neptune to a simpler, easier to maintain implementation hosted at the MfN in Berlin. Renamed NSB (for Neptune Sandbox Berlin) and with additional support by the EU Earthtime project (in particular Heiko Pälike), Lazarus, Diver and Johan Renaudie extended the content further, to ca 800,000 occurrence records and nearly 500 sections. For the first time since the initial ETH design, NSB data types were significantly extended to include geochronologic data, in particular the event data used to create the age models and their calibrations. Additionally, the taxonomic name lists were substantially updated using the work of ODP's Paleontology Coordination Group (Lazarus, Emanuel Söding, Huber, Young, Masao Iawi, Dave Harwood and Nori Suzuki). NSB access was improved with the development in 2015 of a data link to Young's increasingly popular 'Mikrotax' community online taxonomic catalog for calcareous microfossils.
NSB also provides a data feed for analytic tools at the Geobiodiversity Database (created by Fan Junxuan).
Sepkoski, J., 1979. A kinetic model of Phanerozoic taxonomic diversity. II. Early Phanerozoic families and multiple equilibria. Paleobiology 5, 222–251.
Kocsis, A. T., Reddin, C. J., Alroy, J., and Kiessling, W. The R package divdyn for quantifying diversity dynamics using fossil sampling data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
Young, J. R., Bown, P. R., Wade, B. S., Pedder, B. E., Huber, B. T. and Lazarus, D. B. Mikrotax: Developing a Genuinely Effective Platform for Palaeontological Geoinformatics. Acta Geologica Sinica, 93: 70-72.
Jungck, J. R., Wagner, R., van Loo, D., Grossman, B., Khiripet, N., Khiripet, J., Khantuwan, W., and Hagan, M. Art forms in nature: radiolaria from Haeckel and Blaschka to 3D nanotomography, quantitative image analysis, evolution, and contemporary art. Theory in Biosciences, 138(1):159–187.
Fordham, B., Aze, T., Haller, C., Zehady, A. K., Pearson, P. N., Ogg, J. G., and Wade, B. S. Future-proofing the Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011). PLOS One, 13(10):web.
Lewitus, E., Bittner, L., Malviya, S., Bowler, C., and Morlon, H. Clade-specific diversification dynamics of marine diatoms since the Jurassic. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2:1715–1723.
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Plotnick, R. E. and Wagner, P. J. The greatest hits of all time: the histories of dominant genera in the fossil record. Paleobiology, 44(3):368–384.
Renaudie, J., Drews, E.-L., and Böhne, S. The paleocene record of marine diatoms in deep-sea sediments. Fossil Record, 21(2):183–205.
Witkowski, J. From museum drawers to ocean drilling: Fenneria gen. nov. (Bacillariophyta) offers new insights into Eocene marine diatom biostratigraphy and palaeobiogeography. Acta Geologica Polonica, 68:53–88.
Hannisdal, B., Haaga, K. A., Reitan, T., Diego, D., and Liow, L. H. Common species link global ecosystems to climate change: dynamical evidence in the planktonic fossil record. Proc. R. Society B., 284:1–9 (web).
Intxauspe-Zubiaurre, B., Payros, A., Flores, J. A., and Apellaniz, E. Changes to sea-surface characteristics during the middle Eocene (47.4 Ma) C21r-H6 event: evidence from calcareous nannofossil assemblages of the Gorrondatxe section (western Pyrenees). Newsl. Stratigr., 50(3):245–267.
Lewitus, E. and Morlon, H. Detecting environment-dependent diversification from phylogenies: a simulation study and some empirical illustrations. Systematic Biology, 67(4):576-593.
Pascher, K. M. Paleobiogeography of Eocene Radiolarians in the South-west Pacific. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.
Powell, M. G. and Glazier, D. S. Asymmetric geographic range expansion explains the latitudinal diversity gradients of four major taxa of marine plankton. Paleobiology, 43(2):196-208.
Yasuhara, M., Tittensor, D. P., Hillebrand, H., and Worm, B. Combining marine macroecology and palaeoecology in understanding biodiversity: microfossils as a model. Biological Reviews, 92(1):199–215.
Cermeño, P. The geological story of marine diatoms and the last generation of fossil fuels. Perspectives in Phycology, 3(2):53-60.
Fenton, I. S., Pearson, P. N., Jones, T. D., Farnsworth, A., Lunt, D., Markwick, P. J., and Purvis, A. The impact of Cenozoic cooling on assemblage diversity in planktonic foraminifera. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 371(1691):20150224.
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Huber, B., Petrizzo, M., Young, J. R., Falzoni, F., Gilardoni, S. E., Bown, P. R., and Wade, B. S. Pforams@microtax: A new online taxonomic database for planktonic foraminifera. Micropaleontology, 62(6):429–438.
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Wiese, R., Renaudie, J., and Lazarus, D. Testing the accuracy of genus-level data to predict species diversity in Cenozoic marine diatoms. Geology, 44(12).
Barron, J. A., Stickley, C. E., and Bukry, D. Paleoceanographic, and paleoclimatic constraints on the global Eocene diatom and silicoflagellate record. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 422:85–100.
Cermeño, P., Falkowski, P. G., Romero, O. E., Schaller, M. F., and Vallina, S. M. Continental erosion and the cenozoic rise of marine diatoms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(14):4239–4244.
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Kotrc, B. and Knoll, A. H. Morphospaces and databases: Diatom diversification through time. In Evolution of Lightweight Structures, pages 17–37. Springer.
Lazarus, D., Suzuki, N., Caulet, J. P., Nigrini, C., Goll, I., Goll, R., Dolven, J. K., Diver, P., and Sanfilippo, A. An evaluated list of Cenozoic-Recent radiolarian species names (Polycystinea), based on those used in the DSDP, ODP and IODP deep-sea drilling programs. Zootaxa, 3999(3):301–333.
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Pascher, K. M., Hollis, C. J., Cortese, G., McKay, C., Seebeck, H., Suzuki, N., and Chiba, K. Expansion and diversification of high-latitude radiolarian assemblages in the late Eocene linked to a cooling event in the southwest Pacific. Clim. Past, 11:1599–1620.
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Lazarus, D. The legacy of early radiolarian taxonomists, with a focus on the species published by early German workers. Journal of Micropalaentology, 33:3–19.
Lazarus, D., Barron, J., Renaudie, J., Diver, P., and Türke, A. Cenozoic diatom diversity and correlation to climate change. PLOS One, 9(1):1–18.
Cermeño, P., Castro-Bugallo, A., and Vallina, S. M. Diversification patterns of planktic foraminifera in the fossil record. Marine Micropalaeontology, 104:38–43.
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Mary, Y. Morphologic, biogeographic and ontogenetic investigation of Mid-Pliocene menardellids (planktonic foraminifera). PhD Thesis, University Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
Mary, Y. and Knappertsbusch, M. W. Morphological variability of menardiform globorotalids in the Atlantic Ocean during Mid-Pliocene. Marine Micropaleontology, 101:180–193.
Renaudie, J. and Lazarus, D. B. On the accuracy of paleodiversity reconstructions: a case study in antarctic neogene radiolarians. Paleobiology, 39(03):491–509.
Andre, A., Weiner, A., Quillevere, F., Aurahs, R., Morard, R., Douady, C. J., de Garidel-Thoron, T., Escarguel, G., de Vargas, C., and Michal Kucera, M. The cryptic and the apparent reversed: lack of genetic differentiation within the morphologically diverse plexus of the planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides sacculifer. Paleobiology, 39(1):21–39.
Hannisdal, B., Henderiks, J., and Liow, L. H. Long-term evolutionary and ecological responses of calcifying phytoplankton to changes in atmospheric CO2. Global Change Biology, 18(12):3504–3516.
Herrmann, S. and Thierstein, H. R. Cenozoic coccolith size changes— Evolutionary and/or ecological controls? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 333-334:92–106.
Lazarus, D., Weinkauf, M., and Diver, P. Pacman profiling: a simple procedure to identify stratigraphic outliers in high density deep-sea microfossil data. Paleobiology, 38(1):144–161.
Lloyd, G. T., Pearson, P. N., Young, J. R., and Smith, A. G. Sampling bias and the fossil record of planktonic foraminifera on land and in the deep sea. Paleobiology, 38(4):569–584.
Lloyd, G. T., Young, J. R., and Smith, A. B. Taxonomic structure of the fossil record is shaped by sampling bias. Systematic Biology, 60:1–10.
Renaudie, J. A Synthesis of Antarctic Neogene radiolarians: taxonomy, macroevolution and biostratigraphy. PhD Thesis, Humboldt University, Berlin.
Suto, I., Kawamura, K., Hagimoto, S., Teraishi, A., and Tanaka, Y. Changes in upwelling mechanisms drove the evolution of marine organisms. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 339-341:39–51.
van Dam, J. A. Scanning the fossil record: stratophenomics and the generation of primary evolutionary-ecological data. Evolutionary Ecology, 26(3):449–463.
Aze, T., Ezard, T. H. G., Purvis, A., Coxall, H., Stewart, D. R. M., Wade, B. S., and Pearson, P. N. A phylogeny of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera from fossil data. Biological Reviews, 86(4):900–927.
Cermeño, P. Marine planktonic microbes survived climatic stabilities in the past. Proc. R. Society B., 279:474–479.
Ezard, T. H. G., Aze, T., Pearson, P. N., and Purvis, A. Interplay between changing climate and species’ ecology drives macroevolutionary dynamics. Science, 332:349–351.
Lazarus, D. The deep-sea microfossil record of macroevolutionary change in plankton and its study. In Smith, A. and McGowan, A., (Eds), Comparing the Geological and Fossil Records: Implications for Biodiversity Studies, pages 141–166. The Geological Society, London.
Lloyd, G. T., Smith, A. G., and Young, J. R. Quantifying the deep-sea rock and fossil record bias using coccolithophores. In McGowan, A. J. and Smith, A. G., editors, Comparing the Geological and Fossil Records: Implications for Biodiversity Studies, pages 167–178. Geological Society, London.
Powell, M. and MacGregor, J. A geographic test of species selection using planktonic foraminifera during the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction. Paleobiology, 37(3):426–437.
Sadler, P. M. and Cervato, C. Data and tools for geologic timelines and timescales. In Keller, G. R. and Baru, C., editors, Geoinformatics: Cyberinfrastructure for the Solid Earth Sciences, pages 145–165.
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Marx, F. G. and Uhen, M. D. Climate, critters, and cetaceans: Cenozoic drivers of the evolution of modern whales. Science, 327:993–996.
Renaudie, J., Danelian, T., Saint, M. S., Le, C. L., and Tribovillard, N. Siliceous phytoplankton response to a middle Eocene warming event recorded in the tropical Atlantic (Demerara Rise, ODP Site 1260a). Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 286(3-4):121–134.
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Lazarus, D., Hollis, C., and Apel, M. Patterns of opal and radiolarian change in the Antarctic mid-Paleogene: clues to the origin of the Southern Ocean. Micropaleontology, 54(1):41–48.
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