Paleobiology is very useful when it comes to interpreting depositional environments through analysis of macrofossils, microfossils, and trace fossils. Fossils, specifically microfossils, in carbonate and clastics intervals have many applications in the oil and gas industry. Biostratigraphy and paleoenvironmental analysis are two of the most common fields for the application of microfossil analysis in petroleum geology. Many shale intervals contain enough fossil assemblages to enhance a conventional environmental interpretation in a clastic interval.
There are several different types of microfossils, which are of particular importance to hydrocarbon exploration, including: foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, and palynomorphs. Microfossil analysis improves our understanding of facies distributions and paleoenvironmental interpretations. Microfossils allow for better sequence stratigraphic interpretations and stratigraphic correlation at the local and regional scales. Another important application of micropaleontology is the stratigraphic monitoring of drilling by predicting stratigraphic positions of a drill for oil companies. Paleobiology interacts well with sedimentology and ichnology to enhance interpretations of a study area.