Foraminifera are intensively used in the Cenozoic biostratigraphy. Especially the larger, symbiont bearing foramnifera are widespread in shallow water deposits. Several families show a rapid evolution that can be observed in morphological features. They allow the establishment of biostratigraphic correlations particularly in neritic habitats. Benthic zones can be defined either on first or last occurrences of genera, species or lineages, or on developmental stages within lineages.
The shallow benthic (SBZ) foraminiferal biozones were the outcome of a revision of classical biozonations based on Plaeocene-Eocene alveolinids, Assilina and Nummulites and were published in 1998 (Serra-Kiel et al. 1998; Bulletin de la Societé de la France 169: 282-299). The SBZ biozones cover the Paleocene and Eocene time span from the eastern shores of the Atlantic (Paris and Pyrenean basins) to the central part of the Tethys (India). Basically, they are derived from species ranges observed in many lithostratigraphic sections in the Pyrenean realm, Swiss and Austrian Alps (Schlieren- and Gurnigelflysch, various sequences in the Helvetic units), northern Italy (Verona, Vicenza), Adriatic and Gargano platforms, Crimean Peninsula, Haymana Basin (Central Anatolia), Nammal Gorge (Pakistan) and Therria (India). Cahuzac and Poignant (1997; Bulletin de la Societé de la France 168: 155-169) extended the biozonation into the French Oligocene-Miocene.
Since 1998 new data have been gathered on the occurrence of LBF, allowing an update of the shallow benthic zones. Especially the geographic coverage has increased markedly. This topic deals with topical discussions involving all aspects of updating the shallow benthic zones.