needed. Data and samples taken on continental margins and from wells drilled by industry represent an invaluable resource, as do many kinds of fossil data. The data base available to scientists could be expanded by several orders of magnitude.

New Tools and Techniques

New equipment offers much potential that has yet to be exploited in paleontology in the areas of isotopic analysis; identification of trace organic and inorganic compounds, DNA sequencing and hybridization, new multivariate techniques, digitizing techniques for three-dimensional quantification of morphology, application of geographic information systems (GIS) to quantitative historical biogeography, and computer-interfaced digitizers (some three-dimensional and some linked to light microscopes or scanning electron microscope systems) for morphometric studies.

New Dating Techniques

During the past few years, new dating techniques have greatly improved resolution in the temporal correlation of geological and biological events and in the measurement of rates for a wide variety of processes. These techniques include identification of key chemical markers in stratigraphic sequences, quantitative biostratigraphic correlation, application of new radiometric methods, and utilization of secular trends in stable isotope ratios. Not only the development of new dating techniques, but also the refinement and ingenious application of existing methodologies, will benefit numerous areas of research in the decades to come.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

National Research Council Reports

NRC (1982). Studies in Geophysics: Climate in Earth History, Geophysics Study Committee, Geophysics Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 198 pp.

NRC (1983). Opportunities for Research in the Geological Sciences, Committee on Opportunities for Research in the Geological Sciences, Board on Earth Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 95 PP.

NRC (1986). Global Change in the Geosphere-Biosphere: Initial Priorities for an IGBP, U.S. Committee for an International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 91 pp.

NRC (1989). Technology and Environment, Advisory Committee on Technology and Society, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 221 pp.

NRC (1989). Margins: A Research Initiative for Interdisciplinary Studies of Processes Attending Lithospheric Extension and Convergence , Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 285 pp.

NRC (1990). Research Strategies for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, Committee on Global Change, U.S. National Committee for the IGBP, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 291 PP.

NRC (1990). Studies in Geophysics: Sea Level Change, Geophysics Study Committee, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 234 pp.

NRC (1991). Toward Sustainability: Soil and Water Research Priorities for Developing Countries, Committee on International Soil and Water Research and Development, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 65 pp.

Other Reports

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme: A Study of Global Change (IGBP) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (1992). The Pages Project: Proposed Implementation Plans for Research Activities, Pages Scientific Steering Committee, 110 pp.

NASA (1988). Earth System Science: A Closer View, Earth System Sciences Committee, NASA Advisory Council, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

Office of Science and Technology Policy (1992). Our Changing Planet: The FY 1992 U.S. Global Change Research Program, Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences, 90 pp.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement