Oxygen isotope analyses of late Eocene and Oligocene planktonic foraminifers from low and middle latitude sites in the Atlantic Basin show that different species from the same samples can yield significantly different isotopic values. The range of isotopic values observed between species is greatest at low-latitudes and declines poleward. Many planktonic foraminifers exhibit a systematic isotopic ranking with respect to each other and can therefore be grouped on the basis of their isotopic ranking. The isotopic ranking of some taxa, however, appears to vary geographically and/or through time. Isotopic and paleontologic data from DSDP Site 522 indicate that commonly used isotopic temperature scales underestimate Oligocene sea surface temperatures. We suggest these temperature scales require revision to reflect the presence of Oligocene glaciation. Comparison of isotopic and paleontologic data from Sites 522, 511 and 277 suggests cold, low-salinity surface waters were present in high southern latitudes during the early Oligocene. Lowsalinity, high latitude surface waters could be caused by Eocene/Oligocene paleogeography or by the production of warm saline bottom water. ?? 1984.