The oxygen isotope record of the planktonic foraminifera Globigerina bulloides and Neogloboquadrina pachyderma from Pliocene and early Pleistocene sediments at both DSDP site 173 and the Centerville Beach section in California suggests a large influx of isotopically light water in this area during late Pliocene and early Pleistocene time. Salinity may have been reduced by as much as 2 to 4 ?. Surface sea water paleotemperatures for the lower Pliocene range from 9.5?C to 15.5?C. The oxygen isotope record of the benthonic genus Uvigerina shows little variation indicating environmental stability at depth. At DSDP site 173 the small variation in Uvigerina is due to variation in the oxygen isotopic composition of the oceans as glaciers waxed and waned. At the Centerville Beach section the oxygen isotopic composition of Uvigerina reflects the gradual shoaling of the Humboldt Basin. Carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in G. bulloides and N. pachyderma are inversely correlated at the 95% confidence level. This may indicate that the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of foraminifera are influenced by the same factors. On the other hand, the inverse correlation may be due to metabolic fractionation. No correlation was found between oxygen and carbon isotopic composition in Uvigerina.