DOI: 10.1007/0-306-47671-1_7

ABSTRACT Ostracods are small bivalved crustaceans that are common in non-marine waters. They secrete shells of low-Mg calcite, which
are often well preserved in Quaternary sediments. Ostracods are sensitive to a range of ecological factors, of which habitat
type and the chemical composition are potentially most valuable for palaeoenvironmental work. Furthermore, ostracod shells
provide a source of carbonate for geochemical analysis, including trace elements and stable isotopes. Despite past under-representation
of ostracods in palaeolimnology, recent advances in the understanding of their biology, taxonomy, ecology and shell chemistry
have led to them becoming used almost routinely in environmental reconstruction alongside other indicators. This chapter reviews
the palaeolimnological significance of ostracods by providing an outline of their biology, taxonomy and ecology, together
with an account of the main palaeoenvironmental techniques and their application.

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