The limitations of a traditional morphology-based classification of Foraminifera have been demonstrated by molecular phylogenetic studies for several years now. Despite the accumulation of molecular data, no alternative higher-level taxonomic system incorporating these data has been proposed yet. Here, we present a new supraordinal classification of Foraminifera based on an updated SSU rDNA phylogeny completed with the description of major morphological trends in the evolution of this group. According to the new system, multi-chambered orders are grouped in two new classes: Tubothalamea and Globothalamea. Naked and single-chambered Foraminifera possessing agglutinated or organic-walled tests are arranged into a paraphyletic assemblage of “monothalamids”. The new system maintains some multi-chambered calcareous orders, such as Rotaliida, Miliolida, Robertinida and Spirillinida, although their definitions have been modified in some cases to include agglutinated taxa. The representatives of the planktonic order Globigerinida are tentatively included in the order Rotaliida. The agglutinated Textulariida are probably paraphyletic. The position of the order Lagenida is uncertain because reliable molecular data are only available for one species. The new classification system separates orders or families, which differ in basic chamber shapes, prevailing mode of coiling and distance between successive apertures. It appears that these features correspond better to the main evolutionary trends in Foraminifera than wall composition and structure, both used in traditional classification.
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