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Temporal range: Paleocene –Pleistocene[1] Most abundant during Miocene
Discoaster surculus, about 15 μm across
Scientific classification

Tan Sin Hok (1931)

Discoaster is a genus of extinct star-shaped marine algae, with calcareous exoskeletons of between 5-40 μm across that are abundant as nanofossils in tropical deep-ocean deposits of Neogene age. Discoaster belongs to the haptophytes. About 100 species can be recognized.[2]

Biostratigraphic significance[edit]

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has assigned the extinction of Discoaster brouweri as the defining biological marker for the start of the Calabrian Stage of the Pleistocene, 1.806 million years ago. ICS has assigned the extinction of Discoaster pentaradiatus and Discoaster surculus as the defining biological marker for the start of the Gelasian Stage, 2.588 million years ago, the earliest stage of the Pleistocene. ICS further assigned the extinction of Discoaster kugleri as biological marker for the start of the Tortonian Stage of the Miocene, 11.62 million years ago.


Some species in this genus include:[2][3][4]

Species Authority
D. asymmetricus     Gartner
D. bellus Bukry & Percival
D. berggrenii Bukry
D. bollii Martini & Bramlette
D. brouweri Bramlette & Riedel
D. calcaris Gartner
D. exilis Martini & Bramlette
D. hamatus Martini & Bramlette
D. intercalaris Bukry
D. kugleri Martini & Bramlette (1963)
D. loeblichii Bukry
D. neohamatus Bukry & Bramlette
D. neorectus Bukry
D. pentaradiatus (Tan, 1931) Bramlette & Riedel
D. quintatus Gartner
D. surculus Martini & Bramlette
D. toralus Ellis, Lohmann, & Wray
D. triradiatus Tan (1931)
D. variabilis Martini & Bramlette
D. arneyi


  1. ^ Bukry, David (1971). "Discoaster evolutionary trends". Micropaleontology. 17 (1). The Micropaleontology Project, Inc.: 43–52. doi:10.2307/1485036. JSTOR 1485036.
  2. ^ a b "Discoasters". Springer Reference. Springer. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  3. ^ Raffi, I.; Mozzato, C.; Fornaciari, E.; Hilgen, F.J.; Rio, D. (Spring 2003). "Late Miocene calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy and astrobiochronology for the Mediterranean region". Micropaleontology. 49 (1). The Micropaleontology Project, Inc.: 1–26. doi:10.1661/0026-2803(2003)049[0001:LMCNBA]2.0.CO;2. S2CID 198157383.
  4. ^ Guiry, M.D.; Guiry, G.M. (2008). "Discoaster". World-wide electronic publication. AlgaeBase. Galway, IE: National University of Ireland. Retrieved 2009-02-21.