Sample records for antarctic fossil record

  1. Antarctic crabs: invasion or endurance?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Huw J Griffiths

    Full Text Available Recent scientific interest following the "discovery" of lithodid crabs around Antarctica has centred on a hypothesis that these crabs might be poised to invade the Antarctic shelf if the recent warming trend continues, potentially decimating its native fauna. This "invasion hypothesis" suggests that decapod crabs were driven out of Antarctica 40-15 million years ago and are only now returning as "warm" enough habitats become available. The hypothesis is based on a geographically and spatially poor fossil record of a different group of crabs (Brachyura, and examination of relatively few Recent lithodid samples from the Antarctic slope. In this paper, we examine the existing lithodid fossil record and present the distribution and biogeographic patterns derived from over 16,000 records of Recent Southern Hemisphere crabs and lobsters. Globally, the lithodid fossil record consists of only two known specimens, neither of which comes from the Antarctic. Recent records show that 22 species of crabs and lobsters have been reported from the Southern Ocean, with 12 species found south of 60 °S. All are restricted to waters warmer than 0 °C, with their Antarctic distribution limited to the areas of seafloor dominated by Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW. Currently, CDW extends further and shallower onto the West Antarctic shelf than the known distribution ranges of most lithodid species examined. Geological evidence suggests that West Antarctic shelf could have been available for colonisation during the last 9,000 years. Distribution patterns, species richness, and levels of endemism all suggest that, rather than becoming extinct and recently re-invading from outside Antarctica, the lithodid crabs have likely persisted, and even radiated, on or near to Antarctic slope. We conclude there is no evidence for a modern-day "crab invasion". We recommend a repeated targeted lithodid sampling program along the West Antarctic shelf to fully test the validity of the

  2. Combustion of available fossil-fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet (United States)

    Winkelmann, R.; Levermann, A.; Ridgwell, A.; Caldeira, K.


    The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 meters in global sea-level rise. Here we show in simulations with the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil-fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil-fuel emissions of 10 000 GtC, Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 meters per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West- and East Antarctica results in a threshold-increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

  3. Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet. (United States)

    Winkelmann, Ricarda; Levermann, Anders; Ridgwell, Andy; Caldeira, Ken


    The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

  4. The fossil record of the sixth extinction. (United States)

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen


    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  5. Diagnosing Homo sapiens in the fossil record. (United States)

    Stringer, Christopher Brian; Buck, Laura Tabitha


    Diagnosing Homo sapiens is a critical question in the study of human evolution. Although what constitutes living members of our own species is straightforward, in the fossil record this is still a matter of much debate. The issue is complicated by questions of species diagnoses and ideas about the mode by which a new species is born, by the arguments surrounding the behavioural and cognitive separateness of the species, by the increasing appreciation of variation in the early African H. sapiens record and by new DNA evidence of hybridization with extinct species. This study synthesizes thinking on the fossils, archaeology and underlying evolutionary models of the last several decades with recent DNA results from both H. sapiens and fossil species. It is concluded that, although it may not be possible or even desirable to cleanly partition out a homogenous morphological description of recent H. sapiens in the fossil record, there are key, distinguishing morphological traits in the cranium, dentition and pelvis that can be usefully employed to diagnose the H. sapiens lineage. Increasing advances in retrieving and understanding relevant genetic data provide a complementary and perhaps potentially even more fruitful means of characterizing the differences between H. sapiens and its close relatives.

  6. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record (United States)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.


    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  7. A 25-year Record of Antarctic Ice Sheet Elevation and Mass Change (United States)

    Shepherd, A.; Muir, A. S.; Sundal, A.; McMillan, M.; Briggs, K.; Hogg, A.; Engdahl, M.; Gilbert, L.


    Since 1992, the European Remote-Sensing (ERS-1 and ERS-2), ENVISAT, and CryoSat-2 satellite radar altimeters have measured the Antarctic ice sheet surface elevation, repeatedly, at approximately monthly intervals. These data constitute the longest continuous record of ice sheet wide change. In this paper, we use these observations to determine changes in the elevation, volume and mass of the East Antarctic and West Antarctic ice sheets, and of parts of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet, over a 25-year period. The root mean square difference between elevation rates computed from our survey and 257,296 estimates determined from airborne laser measurements is 54 cm/yr. The longevity of the satellite altimeter data record allows to identify and chart the evolution of changes associated with meteorology and ice flow, and we estimate that 3.6 % of the continental ice sheet, and 21.7 % of West Antarctica, is in a state of dynamical imbalance. Based on this partitioning, we estimate the mass balance of the East and West Antarctic ice sheet drainage basins and the root mean square difference between these and independent estimates derived from satellite gravimetry is less than 5 Gt yr-1.

  8. Eocene Antarctic seasonality inferred from high-resolution stable isotope profiles of fossil bivalves and driftwood (United States)

    Judd, E. J.; Ivany, L. C.; Miklus, N. M.; Uveges, B. T.; Junium, C. K.


    The Eocene Epoch was a time of large-scale global climate change, experiencing both the warmest temperatures of the Cenozoic and the onset of southern hemisphere glaciation. The record of average global temperatures throughout this transition is reasonably well constrained, however considerably less is known about the accompanying changes in seasonality. Seasonally resolved temperature data provide a wealth of information not readily available from mean annual temperature data alone. These data are particularly important in the climatically sensitive high latitudes, as they can elucidate the means by which climate changes and the conditions necessary for the growth of ice sheets. Several recent studies, however, have suggested the potential for monsoonal precipitation regimes in the early-middle Eocene high latitudes, which complicates interpretation of seasonally resolved oxygen isotope records in shallow nearshore marine settings. Seasonal precipitation and runoff could create a brackish, isotopically depleted lens in these environments, depleting summertime δ18Ocarb and thereby inflating the inferred mean and range of isotope-derived temperatures. Here, we assess intra-annual variations in temperature in shallow nearshore Antarctic waters during the middle and late Eocene, inferred from high-resolution oxygen isotope profiles from accretionary bivalves of the La Meseta Formation, Seymour Island, Antarctica. To address concerns related to precipitation and runoff, we also subsample exceptionally preserved fossil driftwood from within the formation and use seasonal differences in δ13Corg values to estimate the ratio of summertime to wintertime precipitation. Late Eocene oxygen isotope profiles exhibit strongly attenuated seasonal amplitudes and more enriched mean annual values in comparison with data from the middle Eocene. Preliminary fossil wood data are not indicative of a strongly seasonal precipitation regime, implying that intra-annual variation in oxygen

  9. Organic and mineral imprints in fossil photosynthetic mats of an East Antarctic lake. (United States)

    Lepot, K; Compère, P; Gérard, E; Namsaraev, Z; Verleyen, E; Tavernier, I; Hodgson, D A; Vyverman, W; Gilbert, B; Wilmotte, A; Javaux, E J


    Lacustrine microbial mats in Antarctic ice-free oases are considered modern analogues of early microbial ecosystems as their primary production is generally dominated by cyanobacteria, the heterotrophic food chain typically truncated due to extreme environmental conditions, and they are geographically isolated. To better understand early fossilization and mineralization processes in this context, we studied the microstructure and chemistry of organo-mineral associations in a suite of sediments 50-4530 cal. years old from a lake in Skarvsnes, Lützow Holm Bay, East Antarctica. First, we report an exceptional preservation of fossil autotrophs and their biomolecules on millennial timescales. The pigment scytonemin is preserved inside cyanobacterial sheaths. As non-pigmented sheaths are also preserved, scytonemin likely played little role in the preservation of sheath polysaccharides, which have been cross-linked by ether bonds. Coccoids preserved thylakoids and autofluorescence of pigments such as carotenoids. This exceptional preservation of autotrophs in the fossil mats argues for limited biodegradation during and after deposition. Moreover, cell-shaped aggregates preserved sulfur-rich nanoglobules, supporting fossilization of instable intracellular byproducts of chemotrophic or phototrophic S-oxidizers. Second, we report a diversity of micro- to nanostructured CaCO3 precipitates intimately associated with extracellular polymeric substances, cyanobacteria, and/or other prokaryotes. Micro-peloids Type 1 display features that distinguish them from known carbonates crystallized in inorganic conditions: (i) Type 1A are often filled with globular nanocarbonates and/or surrounded by a fibrous fringe, (ii) Type 1B are empty and display ovoid to wrinkled fringes of nanocrystallites that can be radially oriented (fibrous or triangular) or multilayered, and (iii) all show small-size variations. Type 2 rounded carbonates 1-2 μm in diameter occurring inside autofluorescent

  10. Contemporaneous trace and body fossils from a late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, allow assessment of bias in the fossil record. (United States)

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul


    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones.

  11. The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record. (United States)

    Dyke, G J; McGowan, A J; Nudds, R L; Smith, D


    Although pterosaurs are a well-known lineage of Mesozoic flying reptiles, their fossil record and evolutionary dynamics have never been adequately quantified. On the basis of a comprehensive data set of fossil occurrences correlated with taxon-specific limb measurements, we show that the geological ages of pterosaur specimens closely approximate hypothesized patterns of phylogenetic divergence. Although the fossil record has expanded greatly in recent years, collectorship still approximates a sigmoid curve over time as many more specimens (and thus taxa) still remain undiscovered, yet our data suggest that the pterosaur fossil record is unbiased by sites of exceptional preservation (lagerstätte). This is because as new species are discovered the number of known formations and sites yielding pterosaur fossils has also increased - this would not be expected if the bulk of the record came from just a few exceptional faunas. Pterosaur morphological diversification is, however, strongly age biased: rarefaction analysis shows that peaks of diversity occur in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous correlated with periods of increased limb disparity. In this respect, pterosaurs appear unique amongst flying vertebrates in that their disparity seems to have peaked relatively late in clade history. Comparative analyses also show that there is little evidence that the evolutionary diversification of pterosaurs was in any way constrained by the appearance and radiation of birds.

  12. An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Lu, Zunli; Rickaby, Rosalind E. M.; Kennedy, Hilary; Kennedy, Paul; Pancost, Richard D.; Shaw, Samuel; Lennie, Alistair; Wellner, Julia; Anderson, John B.


    Calcium carbonate can crystallize in a hydrated form as ikaite at low temperatures. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the δ18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing δ18O of local seawater. We report the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments, based on porewater chemical and isotopic data. Having constrained the depth of ikaite formation and δ18O of ikaite crystals and hydration waters, we are able to infer local changes in fjord δ18O versus time during the late Holocene. This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula.

  13. Revision of Eocene Antarctic carpet sharks (Elasmobranchii, Orectolobiformes) from Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula. (United States)

    Engelbrecht, Andrea; Mörs, Thomas; Reguero, Marcelo A; Kriwet, Jürgen


    Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula, was once called the 'Rosetta Stone' of Southern Hemisphere palaeobiology, because this small island provides the most complete and richly fossiliferous Palaeogene sequence in Antarctica. Among fossil marine vertebrate remains, chondrichthyans seemingly were dominant elements in the Eocene Antarctic fish fauna. The fossiliferous sediments on Seymour Island are from the La Meseta Formation, which was originally divided into seven stratigraphical levels, TELMs 1-7 (acronym for Tertiary Eocene La Meseta) ranging from the upper Ypresian (early Eocene) to the late Priabonian (late Eocene). Bulk sampling of unconsolidated sediments from TELMs 5 and 6, which are Ypresian (early Eocene) and Lutetian (middle Eocene) in age, respectively, yielded very rich and diverse chondrichthyan assemblages including over 40 teeth of carpet sharks representing two new taxa, Notoramphoscyllium woodwardi gen. et sp. nov. and Ceolometlaouia pannucae gen. et sp. nov. Two additional teeth from TELM 5 represent two different taxa that cannot be assigned to any specific taxon and thus are left in open nomenclature. The new material not only increases the diversity of Eocene Antarctic selachian faunas but also allows two previous orectolobiform records to be re-evaluated. Accordingly, Stegostoma cf. faciatum is synonymized with Notoramphoscyllium woodwardi gen. et sp. nov., whereas Pseudoginglymostoma cf. brevicaudatum represents a nomen dubium . The two new taxa, and probably the additional two unidentified taxa, are interpreted as permanent residents, which most likely were endemic to Antarctic waters during the Eocene and adapted to shallow and estuarine environments.

  14. Extinction and the fossil record (United States)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)


    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  15. Stable isotopes and Antarctic moss banks: Plants and soil microbes respond to recent warming on the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Royles, Jessica; Amesbury, Matthew; Ogée, Jérôme; Wingate, Lisa; Convey, Peter; Hodgson, Dominic; Griffiths, Howard; Leng, Melanie; Charman, Dan


    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, with air temperature increases of as much as 3°C recorded since the 1950s. However, the longer-term context of this change is limited and existing records, largely relying on ice core data, are not suitably located to be able to trace the spatial signature of change over time. We are working on a project exploiting stable isotope records preserved in moss peat banks spanning 10 degrees of latitude along the Antarctic Peninsula as an archive of late Holocene climate variability. Here we present a unique time series of past moss growth and soil microbial activity that has been produced from a 150 year old moss bank at Lazarev Bay, Alexander Island (69°S), a site at the southern limit of significant plant growth in the Antarctic Peninsula region. These moss banks are ideal archives for palaeoclimate research as they are well-preserved by freezing, generally monospecific, easily dated by radiocarbon techniques, and have sufficiently high accumulation rates to permit decadal resolution. We use accumulation rates, cellulose δ13C and fossil testate amoebae to show that growth rates, assimilation and microbial productivity rose rapidly in the 1960s, consistent with temperature change, although recently may have stalled, concurrent with other evidence. The increase in biological activity is unprecedented in the last 150 years. Along with work completed on Signy Island (60°S), in the South Orkney Islands, in which we used carbon isotope evidence to show recent climate-related enhancement of CO2 assimilation and peat accumulation rates in Antarctica, the observed relationships between moss growth, microbial activity and climate suggests that moss bank records have the potential to test the regional expression of temperature variability shown by instrumental data on the Antarctic Peninsula over centennial to millennial timescales, by providing long-term records of summer growth conditions

  16. The late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record of eastern Asia: synthesis and review. (United States)

    Bae, Christopher J


    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  17. An embryological perspective on the early arthropod fossil record. (United States)

    Chipman, Ariel D


    Our understanding of the early evolution of the arthropod body plan has recently improved significantly through advances in phylogeny and developmental biology and through new interpretations of the fossil record. However, there has been limited effort to synthesize data from these different sources. Bringing an embryological perspective into the fossil record is a useful way to integrate knowledge from different disciplines into a single coherent view of arthropod evolution. I have used current knowledge on the development of extant arthropods, together with published descriptions of fossils, to reconstruct the germband stages of a series of key taxa leading from the arthropod lower stem group to crown group taxa. These reconstruction highlight the main evolutionary transitions that have occurred during early arthropod evolution, provide new insights into the types of mechanisms that could have been active and suggest new questions and research directions. The reconstructions suggest several novel homology hypotheses - e.g. the lower stem group head shield and head capsules in the crown group are all hypothesized to derive from the embryonic head lobes. The homology of anterior segments in different groups is resolved consistently. The transition between "lower-stem" and "upper-stem" arthropods is highlighted as a major transition with a concentration of novelties and innovations, suggesting a gap in the fossil record. A close relationship between chelicerates and megacheirans is supported by the embryonic reconstructions, and I suggest that the depth of the mandibulate-chelicerate split should be reexamined.

  18. New record of a fossil haplotilapiine cichlid from Central Kenya

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stefanie B. R. Penk


    Full Text Available African freshwater cichlids (Cichlidae: Pseudocrenilabrinae are well known for their exceptionally great diversity and their capability of rapid speciation as well as diverse adaptations. The extant Pseudocrenilabrinae can be grouped into 27 tribes, with more than 2000 species harbored in the Great Lakes and surrounding water bodies of the East African Rift System. However, this unique diversity is not reflected in the fossil record because fossil cichlids were predominantly reported based on isolated teeth and bones. Moreover, the few articulated specimens that are known have not been analyzed sufficiently with regard to their systematic position due to lack of comparative material. Here we present a new extraordinarily well-preserved cichlid fish fossil from the Middle Miocene (c. 12.5 Ma Lagerstaette Kabchore, which was recovered during recent fieldwork in the Tugen Hills (Baringo County, Central Kenya Rift. Based on the evidence of tricuspid teeth, the Kabchore fossil can be assigned to the subclade of the Haplotilapiines within the Pseudocrenilabrinae. The multivariate analysis of a large meristic data set, derived from 1014 extant specimens (encompassing all main lineages of Haplotilapiines and usage of available osteological data suggest that this fossil is most likely related to one of the three haplotilapiine tribes Tilapiini, Haplochromini or Oreochromini. Moreover, the fossil specimen closely resembles the extinct cichlid Oreochromis martyni (Van Couvering, 1982, previously described as species of Sarotherodon from the Middle Miocene alkaline Kapkiamu Lake in the Tugen Hills. The analysis of the greatly preserved fossil fish specimen from Kabchore definitely supplements the fragmentary fossil record of Africa’s Cichlidae and will afford new insights into its evolutionary history. We also expect that this fossil will be useful as calibration point for new divergence-time estimates.

  19. The Ecological Rise of Whales Chronicled by the Fossil Record. (United States)

    Pyenson, Nicholas D


    The evolution of cetaceans is one of the best examples of macroevolution documented from the fossil record. While ecological transitions dominate each phase of cetacean history, this context is rarely stated explicitly. The first major ecological phase involves a transition from riverine and deltaic environments to marine ones, concomitant with dramatic evolutionary transformations documented in their early fossil record. The second major phase involves ecological shifts associated with evolutionary innovations: echolocation (facilitating hunting prey at depth) and filter-feeding (enhancing foraging efficiency on small prey). This latter phase involves body size shifts, attributable to changes in foraging depth and environmental forcing, as well as re-invasions of freshwater systems on continental basins by multiple lineages. Modern phenomena driving cetacean ecology, such as trophic dynamics and arms races, have an evolutionary basis that remains mostly unexamined. The fossil record of cetaceans provides an historical basis for understanding current ecological mechanisms and consequences, especially as global climate change rapidly alters ocean and river ecosystems at rates and scales comparable to those over geologic time. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. The fossil record of ecdysis, and trends in the moulting behaviour of trilobites. (United States)

    Daley, Allison C; Drage, Harriet B


    Ecdysis, the process of moulting an exoskeleton, is one of the key characters uniting arthropods, nematodes and a number of smaller phyla into Ecdysozoa. The arthropod fossil record, particularly trilobites, eurypterids and decapod crustaceans, yields information on moulting, although the current focus is predominantly descriptive and lacks a broader evolutionary perspective. We here review literature on the fossil record of ecdysis, synthesising research on the behaviour, evolutionary trends, and phylogenetic significance of moulting throughout the Phanerozoic. Approaches vary widely between taxonomic groups, but an overall theme uniting these works suggests that identifying moults in the palaeontological record must take into account the morphology, taphonomy and depositional environment of fossils. We also quantitatively analyse trends in trilobite ecdysis based on a newly generated database of published incidences of moulting behaviour. This preliminary work reveals significant taxonomic and temporal signal in the trilobite moulting fossil record, with free cheek moulting being prevalent across all Orders and throughout the Phanerozoic, and peaks of cephalic moulting in Phacopida during the Ordovician and rostral plate moulting in Redlichiida during the Cambrian. This study and a review of the literature suggest that it is feasible to extract large-scale evolutionary information from the fossil record of moulting. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Assessing the completeness of the fossil record using brachiopod Lazarus taxa (United States)

    Gearty, W.; Payne, J.


    Lazarus taxa, organisms that disappear from the fossil record only to reappear later, provide a unique opportunity to assess the completeness of the fossil record. In this study, we apply logistic regression to quantify the associations of body size, geographic extent, and species diversity with the probability of being a Lazarus genus using the Phanerozoic fossil record of brachiopods. We find that both the geographic range and species diversity of a genus are inversely associated with the probability of being a Lazarus taxon in the preceding or succeeding stage. In contrast, body size exhibits little association with the probability of becoming a Lazarus taxon. A model including species diversity and geographic extent as predictors performs best among all combinations examined, whereas a model including only shell size as a predictor performs the worst - even worse than a model that assumes Lazarus taxa are randomly drawn from all available genera. These findings suggest that geographic range and species richness data can be used to improve estimates of extensions on the observed fossil ranges of genera and, thereby, better correct for sampling effects in estimates of taxonomic diversity change through the Phanerozoic.

  2. New records of Acari from the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Marshall, D.J.; Gremmen, N.J.M.; Coetzee, L.; Oconnor, B.M.; Pugh, P.J.A.; Theron, P.D.; Ueckermann, E.A.


    Sixty species of Acari are recorded from the sub-Antarctic Marion and Prince Edward Islands (the Prince Edward archipelago). Twenty of the 45 species collected on recent expeditions are new and currently undescribed. Other new taxa include a family of Mesostigmata, four new genera, and the first

  3. New Palaeogene horntail wasps (Hymenoptera, Siricidae) and a discussion of their fossil record. (United States)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Pouillon, Jean-Marc; Nel, André


    The phylogenetic placement of siricid hymenopterans and especially the relationships among Siricidae are not resolved, and are in need of further investigation. The fossil record helps to illuminate the evolutionary history of this group. In this paper, Xoanon? eocenicus sp. nov. is newly described from the Eocene Fossillagerstätte Grube Messel (Germany). Although several characters of the wing venation of this fossil are similar to the extant genus Xoanon, there remain some doubts concerning the generic placement. A newly found fossil is attributed to Urocerus ligniticus (Piton, 1940) from the Paloecene Fossillagerstätte Menat (France) and provides more morphological information on this species. An overview of the fossil record of Siricidae in the strict sense is given and the state of knowledge on the different fossils is reviewed.

  4. Plants and soil microbes respond to recent warming on the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Amesbury, M. J.; Royles, J.; Hodgson, D.; Convey, P.; Griffiths, H.; Charman, D.


    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, with temperature increases of as much as 3°C recorded since the 1950s. However, the longer-term context of this change is limited and existing records are not suitably located to be able to trace the spatial signature of change over time. This paper will present the first published results from a wider project exploiting peat moss banks spanning 10 degrees of latitude along the Antarctic Peninsula as an archive of late Holocene climate variability. These moss banks are ideal archives for palaeoclimate research as they are well-preserved by freezing, generally monospecific, easily dated by radiocarbon techniques and have sufficiently high accumulation rates to permit decadal resolution. A unique time series of past moss growth and soil microbial activity has been produced from a 150 year old moss bank at Lazarev Bay, Alexander Island, a site at the southern limit of significant plant growth in the Antarctic Peninsula region. We use accumulation rates, cellulose δ13C and fossil testate amoebae to provide an indication of ecosystem productivity. We show that both moss and microbial population growth rates rose rapidly in the 1960s, consistent with temperature change, although recently may have stalled, concurrent with other evidence. The increase in terrestrial plant growth rates and soil microbial activity is unprecedented in the last 150 years. The observed relationship between moss growth, microbial activity and climate at Lazarev Bay suggests that moss bank records have the potential to test the regional expression of temperature variability shown by instrumental data on the Antarctic Peninsula over centennial to millennial timescales, by providing long-term records of summer growth conditions, complementing the more distant and widely dispersed ice core records. As a result, we will conclude by placing the Lazarev Bay record into the wider context of the latest progress of analysis of

  5. Oldest record of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae): Fossil flowers, fruits, and leaves from Australia. (United States)

    Tarran, Myall; Wilson, Peter G; Hill, Robert S


    Myrtaceous fossil capsular fruits and flowers from the northwest of Tasmania, in the Early Oligocene-aged Little Rapid River (LRR) deposit, are described. The reproductive organs are found in association with Myrtaceous leaves previously thought to belong to a fleshy-fruited genus, Xanthomyrtus at both LRR, and an Eocene Tasmanian site at Hasties, which are reassessed with fresh morphological evidence. Standard Light Microscopy (LM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used to investigate cuticular characters and an auto-montage camera system was used to take high-resolution images of fossil and extant fruits. Fossils are identified using a nearest living relative (NLR) approach. The fossil fruits and flowers share a number of characters with genera of capsular-fruited Myrtaceae, in particular sharing several synapomorphies with species of Metrosideros subg. Metrosideros (tribe: Metrosidereae). The fossil is here described, and named Metrosideros leunigii, sp. nov. This research establishes the presence of Metrosideros (aff. subg. Metrosideros) in the Eocene-Oligocene (∼40-30 mya) of Tasmania, Australia. This is the first fossil record of Metrosideros in Australia, as well as the oldest conclusive fossil record, and may provide evidence for an Australian origin of the genus. It is also yet another example of extinction in the Tertiary of a group of plants on the Australian mainland that is only found today on nearby Pacific landmasses. © 2016 Botanical Society of America.

  6. The fossil record and taphonomy of butterflies and moths (Insecta, Lepidoptera): implications for evolutionary diversity and divergence-time estimates. (United States)

    Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C; Davis, Donald R


    It is conventionally accepted that the lepidopteran fossil record is significantly incomplete when compared to the fossil records of other, very diverse, extant insect orders. Such an assumption, however, has been based on cumulative diversity data rather than using alternative statistical approaches from actual specimen counts. We reviewed documented specimens of the lepidopteran fossil record, currently consisting of 4,593 known specimens that are comprised of 4,262 body fossils and 331 trace fossils. The temporal distribution of the lepidopteran fossil record shows significant bias towards the late Paleocene to middle Eocene time interval. Lepidopteran fossils also record major shifts in preservational style and number of represented localities at the Mesozoic stage and Cenozoic epoch level of temporal resolution. Only 985 of the total known fossil specimens (21.4%) were assigned to 23 of the 40 extant lepidopteran superfamilies. Absolute numbers and proportions of preservation types for identified fossils varied significantly across superfamilies. The secular increase of lepidopteran family-level diversity through geologic time significantly deviates from the general pattern of other hyperdiverse, ordinal-level lineages. Our statistical analyses of the lepidopteran fossil record show extreme biases in preservation type, age, and taxonomic composition. We highlight the scarcity of identified lepidopteran fossils and provide a correspondence between the latest lepidopteran divergence-time estimates and relevant fossil occurrences at the superfamily level. These findings provide caution in interpreting the lepidopteran fossil record through the modeling of evolutionary diversification and in determination of divergence time estimates.

  7. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze. (United States)

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D


    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  8. 'Citizen science' recording of fossils by adapting existing computer-based biodiversity recording tools (United States)

    McGowan, Alistair


    Biodiversity recording activities have been greatly enhanced by the emergence of online schemes and smartphone applications for recording and sharing data about a wide variety of flora and fauna. As a palaeobiologist, one of the areas of research I have been heavily involved in is the question of whether the amount of rock available to sample acts as a bias on our estimates of biodiversity through time. Although great progress has been made on this question over the past ten years by a number of researchers, I still think palaeontology has not followed the lead offered by the 'citizen science' revolution in studies of extant biodiversity. By constructing clearly structured surveys with online data collection support, it should be possible to collect field data on the occurrence of fossils at the scale of individual exposures, which are needed to test competing hypotheses about these effects at relatively small spatial scales. Such data collection would be hard to justify for universities and museums with limited personnel but a co-ordinated citizen science programme would be capable of delivering such a programme. Data collection could be based on the MacKinnon's Lists method, used in rapid conservation assessment work. It relies on observers collecting lists of a fixed length (e.g. 10 species long) but what is important is that it focuses on getting observers to ignore sightings of the same species until that list is complete. This overcomes the problem of 'common taxa being commonly recorded' and encourages observers to seek out and identify the rarer taxa. This gives a targeted but finite task. Rather than removing fossils, participants would be encouraged to take photographs to share via a recording website. The success of iSpot, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for other users to help with identifications, offers a model for overcoming the problems of identifying fossils, which can often look nothing like the examples illustrated in

  9. Crustaceans from bitumen clast in Carboniferous glacial diamictite extend fossil record of copepods. (United States)

    Selden, Paul A; Huys, Rony; Stephenson, Michael H; Heward, Alan P; Taylor, Paul N


    Copepod crustaceans are extremely abundant but, because of their small size and fragility, they fossilize poorly. Their fossil record consists of one Cretaceous (c. 115 Ma) parasite and a few Miocene (c. 14 Ma) fossils. In this paper, we describe abundant crustacean fragments, including copepods, from a single bitumen clast in a glacial diamictite of late Carboniferous age (c. 303 Ma) from eastern Oman. Geochemistry identifies the source of the bitumen as an oilfield some 100-300 km to the southwest, which is consistent with an ice flow direction from glacial striae. The bitumen likely originated as an oil seep into a subglacial lake. This find extends the fossil record of copepods by some 188 Ma, and of free-living forms by 289 Ma. The copepods include evidence of the extant family Canthocamptidae, believed to have colonized fresh water in Pangaea during Carboniferous times.

  10. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record. (United States)

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A


    Approaches quantifying the relative congruence, or incongruence, of molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record have been limited. Previously proposed methods are largely node specific, assessing incongruence at particular nodes for which both fossil data and molecular divergence estimates are available. These existing metrics, and other methods that quantify incongruence across topologies including entirely extinct clades, have so far not taken into account uncertainty surrounding both the divergence estimates and the ages of fossils. They have also treated molecular divergence estimates younger than previously assessed fossil minimum estimates of clade age as if they were the same as cases in which they were older. However, these cases are not the same. Recovered divergence dates younger than compared oldest known occurrences require prior hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic position of the compared fossil record and standard assumptions about the relative timing of morphological and molecular change to be incorrect. Older molecular dates, by contrast, are consistent with an incomplete fossil record and do not require prior assessments of the fossil record to be unreliable in some way. Here, we compare previous approaches and introduce two new descriptive metrics. Both metrics explicitly incorporate information on uncertainty by utilizing the 95% confidence intervals on estimated divergence dates and data on stratigraphic uncertainty concerning the age of the compared fossils. Metric scores are maximized when these ranges are overlapping. MDI (minimum divergence incongruence) discriminates between situations where molecular estimates are younger or older than known fossils reporting both absolute fit values and a number score for incompatible nodes. DIG range (divergence implied gap range) allows quantification of the minimum increase in implied missing fossil record induced by enforcing a given set of molecular-based estimates. These metrics are used

  11. Testing New Proxies for Photosymbiosis in the Fossil Record (United States)

    Tornabene, C.; Martindale, R. C.; Schaller, M. F.


    Photosymbiosis is a mutualistic relationship that many corals have developed with dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. The dinoflagellates, of the genus Symbiodinium, photosynthesize and provide corals with most of their energy, while in turn coral hosts live in waters where zooxanthellae have optimal exposure to sunlight. Thanks to this relationship, symbiotic corals calcify faster than non-symbiotic corals. Photosymbiosis is therefore considered the evolutionary innovation that allowed corals to become major reef-builders through geological time.This relationship is extremely difficult to study. Zooxanthellae, which are housed in the coral tissue, are not preserved in fossil coral skeletons, thus determining whether corals had symbionts requires a robust proxy. In order to address this critical question, the goal of this research is to test new proxies for ancient photosymbiosis. Currently the project is focused on assessing the nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes of corals' organic matrices, sensu Muscatine et al. (2005), as well as carbon and oxygen (δ13C, δ18O) isotopes of fossil coral skeletons. Samples from Modern, Pleistocene, Oligocene and Triassic coral skeletons were analyzed to test the validity of these proxies. Coral samples comprise both (interpreted) symbiotic and non-symbiotic fossil corals from the Oligocene and Triassic as well as symbiotic fossil corals from the Modern and Pleistocene to corroborate our findings with the results of Muscatine et al. (2005). Samples were tested for diagenesis through petrographic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses to avoid contamination. Additionally, a novel technique that has not yet been applied to the fossil record was tested. The technique aims to recognize dinosterol, a dinoflagellate biomarker, in both modern and fossil coral samples. The premise of this proxy is that symbiotic corals should contain the dinoflagellate biomarker, whereas those lacking symbionts should lack dinosterol. Results from this

  12. The Completeness of the Fossil Record of Mesozoic Birds: Implications for Early Avian Evolution (United States)

    Brocklehurst, Neil; Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D.; O'Connor, Jingmai


    Many palaeobiological analyses have concluded that modern birds (Neornithes) radiated no earlier than the Maastrichtian, whereas molecular clock studies have argued for a much earlier origination. Here, we assess the quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic avian species, using a recently proposed character completeness metric which calculates the percentage of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for each taxon. Estimates of fossil record quality are plotted against geological time and compared to estimates of species level diversity, sea level, and depositional environment. Geographical controls on the avian fossil record are investigated by comparing the completeness scores of species in different continental regions and latitudinal bins. Avian fossil record quality varies greatly with peaks during the Tithonian-early Berriasian, Aptian, and Coniacian–Santonian, and troughs during the Albian-Turonian and the Maastrichtian. The completeness metric correlates more strongly with a ‘sampling corrected’ residual diversity curve of avian species than with the raw taxic diversity curve, suggesting that the abundance and diversity of birds might influence the probability of high quality specimens being preserved. There is no correlation between avian completeness and sea level, the number of fluviolacustrine localities or a recently constructed character completeness metric of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Comparisons between the completeness of Mesozoic birds and sauropodomorphs suggest that small delicate vertebrate skeletons are more easily destroyed by taphonomic processes, but more easily preserved whole. Lagerstätten deposits might therefore have a stronger impact on reconstructions of diversity of smaller organisms relative to more robust forms. The relatively poor quality of the avian fossil record in the Late Cretaceous combined with very patchy regional sampling means that it is possible neornithine lineages were present throughout this interval but

  13. Halogen species record Antarctic sea ice extent over glacial–interglacial periods

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Spolaor


    Full Text Available Sea ice is an integral part of the earth's climate system because it affects planetary albedo, sea-surface salinity, and the atmosphere–ocean exchange of reactive gases and aerosols. Bromine and iodine chemistry is active at polar sea ice margins with the occurrence of bromine explosions and the biological production of organoiodine from sea ice algae. Satellite measurements demonstrate that concentrations of bromine oxide (BrO and iodine oxide (IO decrease over sea ice toward the Antarctic interior. Here we present speciation measurements of bromine and iodine in the TALDICE (TALos Dome Ice CorE ice core (159°11' E, 72°49' S; 2315 m a.s.l. spanning the last 215 ky. The Talos Dome ice core is located 250 km inland and is sensitive to marine air masses intruding onto the Antarctic Plateau. Talos Dome bromide (Br− is positively correlated with temperature and negatively correlated with sodium (Na. Based on the Br−/Na seawater ratio, bromide is depleted in the ice during glacial periods and enriched during interglacial periods. Total iodine, consisting of iodide (I− and iodate (IO3−, peaks during glacials with lower values during interglacial periods. Although IO3− is considered the most stable iodine species in the atmosphere it was only observed in the TALDICE record during glacial maxima. Sea ice dynamics are arguably the primary driver of halogen fluxes over glacial–interglacial timescales, by altering the distance between the sea ice edge and the Antarctic plateau and by altering the surface area of sea ice available to algal colonization. Based on our results we propose the use of both halogens for examining Antarctic variability of past sea ice extent.

  14. The Quality of the Fossil Record: Populations, Species, and Communities (United States)

    Kidwell, Susan M.; Flessa, Karl W.

    Paleontologists have always been concerned about the documentary quality of the fossil record, and this has also become an important issue for biologists, who increasingly look to accumulations of bones, shells, and plant material as possible ways to extend the time-frame of observation on species and community behaviors. Quantitative data on the postmortem behavior of organic remains in modern environments are providing new insights into death and fossil assemblages as sources of biological information. Important findings include: 1. With the exception of a few circumstances, usually recognizable by independent criteria, transport out of the original life habitat affects few individuals. 2. Most species with preservable hard-parts are in fact represented in the local death assemblage, commonly in correct rank importance. Molluscs are the most durable of modern aquatic groups studied so far, and they show highest fidelity to the original community. 3. Time-averaging of remains from successive generations and communities often prevents the detection of short term (seasons, years) variability but provides an excellent record of the natural range of community composition and structure over longer periods. Thus, although a complex array of processes and circumstances influences preservation, death assemblages of resistant skeletal elements are for many major groups good to excellent records of community composition, morphological variation, and environmental and geographic distribution of species, and such assemblages can record dynamics at ecologically and evolutionarily meaningful scales.

  15. The late Paleozoic ecological-evolutionary laboratory, a land-plant fossil record perspective

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Looy, Cindy; Kerp, Hans; Duijnstee, Ivo; DiMichele, Bill


    In this essay we examine the fossil record of land plants, focusing on the late Paleozoic. We explore the nature of this record in terms of what is preserved, where, why and with what biases. And as a consequence, how it can be used to answer questions posed at various spatial and temporal scales,

  16. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanneke J.M. Meijer


    Full Text Available Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo and Liang Bua (Flores support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene.

  17. The Antarctic Master Directory -- the Electronic Card Catalog of Antarctic Data (United States)

    Scharfen, G.; Bauer, R.


    The Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) is a Web-based, searchable record of thousands of Antarctic data descriptions. These data descriptions contain information about what data were collected, where they were collected, when they were collected, who the scientists are, who the point of contact is, how to get the data, and information about the format of the data and what documentation and bibliographic information exists. With this basic descriptive information about content and access for thousands of Antarctic scientific data sets, the AMD is a resource for scientists to advertise the data they have collected and to search for data they need. The AMD has been created by more than twenty nations which conduct research in the Antarctic under the auspices of the Antarctic Treaty. It is a part of the International Directory Network/Global Change Master Directory (IDN/GCMD). Using the AMD is easy. Users can search on subject matter key words, data types, geographic place-names, temporal or spatial ranges, or conduct free-text searches. To search the AMD go to: Contributing your own data descriptions for Antarctic data that you have collected is also easy. Scientists can start by submitting a short data description first (as a placeholder in the AMD, and to satisfy National Science Foundation (NSF) reporting requirements), and then add to, modify or update their record whenever it is appropriate. An easy to use on-line tool and a simple tutorial are available at: With NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) funding, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) operates the U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center (USADCC), partly to assist scientists in using and contributing to the AMD. The USADCC website is at

  18. Multi-year record of atmospheric mercury at Dumont d'Urville, East Antarctic coast: continental outflow and oceanic influences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Angot


    Full Text Available Under the framework of the Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS project, a 3.5-year record of atmospheric gaseous elemental mercury (Hg(0 has been gathered at Dumont d'Urville (DDU, 66°40′ S, 140°01′ E, 43 m above sea level on the East Antarctic coast. Additionally, surface snow samples were collected in February 2009 during a traverse between Concordia Station located on the East Antarctic plateau and DDU. The record of atmospheric Hg(0 at DDU reveals particularities that are not seen at other coastal sites: a gradual decrease of concentrations over the course of winter, and a daily maximum concentration around midday in summer. Additionally, total mercury concentrations in surface snow samples were particularly elevated near DDU (up to 194.4 ng L−1 as compared to measurements at other coastal Antarctic sites. These differences can be explained by the more frequent arrival of inland air masses at DDU than at other coastal sites. This confirms the influence of processes observed on the Antarctic plateau on the cycle of atmospheric mercury at a continental scale, especially in areas subject to recurrent katabatic winds. DDU is also influenced by oceanic air masses and our data suggest that the ocean plays a dual role on Hg(0 concentrations. The open ocean may represent a source of atmospheric Hg(0 in summer whereas the sea-ice surface may provide reactive halogens in spring that can oxidize Hg(0. This paper also discusses implications for coastal Antarctic ecosystems and for the cycle of atmospheric mercury in high southern latitudes.

  19. Distributional records of Antarctic fungi based on strains preserved in the Culture Collection of Fungi from Extreme Environments (CCFEE Mycological Section associated with the Italian National Antarctic Museum (MNA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura Selbmann


    Full Text Available This dataset includes information regarding fungal strains collected during several Antarctic expeditions: the Italian National Antarctic Research program (PNRA expeditions “X” (1994/1995, “XII” (1996/1997, “XVII” (2001/2002, “XIX” (2003/2004, “XXVI” (2010/2011, the Czech “IPY Expedition” (2007–2009 and a number of strains donated by E. Imre Friedmann (Florida State University in 2001, isolated from samples collected during the U.S.A. Antarctic Expeditions of 1980-1982. Samples, consisting of colonized rocks, mosses, lichens, sediments and soils, were collected in Southern and Northern Victoria Land of the continental Antarctica and in the Antarctic Peninsula. A total of 259 different strains were isolated, belonging to 32 genera and 38 species, out of which 12 represented new taxa. These strains are preserved in the Antarctic section of the Culture Collection of Fungi from Extreme Environments (CCFEE, which represents one of the collections associated with the Italian National Antarctic Museum (MNA, Section of Genoa, Italy, located at the Laboratory of Systematic Botany and Mycology, Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB, Tuscia University (Viterbo, Italy. The CCFEE hosts a total of 486 Antarctic fungal strains from worldwide extreme environments. Distributional records are reported here for 259 of these strains. The holotypes of the 12 new species included in this dataset are maintained at CCFEE and in other international collections: CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre (Utrecht, Netherlands; DBVPG, Industrial Yeasts Collection (University of Perugia, Italy; DSMZ, German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (Brunswick, Germany; IMI, International Mycological Institute (London, U.K..

  20. Early Pliocene anuran fossils from Kanapoi, Kenya, and the first fossil record for the African burrowing frog Hemisus (Neobatrachia: Hemisotidae). (United States)

    Delfino, Massimo


    Isolated amphibian bones from the early Pliocene of Kanapoi (West Turkana, Kenya) help to improve the scarce fossil record of the late Neogene and Quaternary amphibians from East Africa. All currently available 579 bones are referable exclusively to the Anura (frogs and toads). More than half of the remains (366) are identified as Hemisus cf. Hemisus marmoratus, an extant species that still inhabits Kenya, but apparently not the northwest of the country and the Turkana area in particular. The rest of the remains are identified simply as Anura indet. because of poor preservation or non congruence with the relatively few African extant taxa whose osteology is known in detail. The Hemisus material represents the first fossil record for Hemisotidae, an endemic African family of peculiar, head-first burrowing frogs, whose sister taxon relationships indicate a divergence from brevicipitids in the Late Cretaceous or early Paleocene. The ecological requirements of extant H. marmoratus suggest that the Kanapoi area surrounding the fluvial and deltaic settings, from where the fossil remains of vertebrates were buried, was likely a grassland or relatively dry, open low tree-shrub savanna. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Meredith


    Full Text Available Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory.

  2. Tropical tales of polar ice: evidence of Last Interglacial polar ice sheet retreat recorded by fossil reefs of the granitic Seychelles islands (United States)

    Dutton, Andrea; Webster, Jody M.; Zwartz, Dan; Lambeck, Kurt; Wohlfarth, Barbara


    In the search for a record of eustatic sea level change on glacial-interglacial timescales, the Seychelles ranks as one of the best places on the planet to study. Owing to its location with respect to the former margins of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets that wax and wane on orbital cycles, the local-or relative-sea level history is predicted to lie within a few meters of the globally averaged eustatic signal during the Last Interglacial period. We have surveyed and dated Last Interglacial fossil corals to ascertain peak sea level and hence infer maximum retreat of polar ice sheets during this time interval. We observe a pattern of gradually rising sea level in the Seychelles between ˜129 and 125 thousand years ago (ka), with peak eustatic sea level attained after 125 ka at 7.6 ± 1.7 m higher than present. After accounting for thermal expansion and loss of mountain glaciers, this sea-level budget would require ˜5-8 m of polar ice sheet contribution, relative to today's volume, of which only ˜2 m came from the Greenland ice sheet. This result clearly identifies the Antarctic ice sheet as a significant source of melt water, most likely derived from one of the unstable, marine-based sectors in the West and/or East Antarctic ice sheet. Furthermore, the establishment of a +5.9 ± 1.7 m eustatic sea level position by 128.6 ± 0.8 ka would require that partial AIS collapse was coincident with the onset of the sea level highstand.

  3. First record of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins. (United States)

    Montero, Estrella; González, Luis Miguel; Chaparro, Alberto; Benzal, Jesús; Bertellotti, Marcelo; Masero, José A; Colominas-Ciuró, Roger; Vidal, Virginia; Barbosa, Andrés


    This is the first reported case of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins, specifically a population of Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) in the Vapour Col penguin rookery in Deception Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica. We collected peripheral blood from 50 adult and 30 chick Chinstrap penguins. Examination of the samples by microscopy showed intraerythrocytic forms morphologically similar to other avian Babesia species in 12 Chinstrap penguin adults and seven chicks. The estimated parasitaemias ranged from 0.25×10(-2)% to 0.75×10(-2)%. Despite the low number of parasites found in blood smears, semi-nested PCR assays yielded a 274 bp fragment in 12 of the 19 positive blood samples found by microscopy. Sequencing revealed that the fragment was 97% similar to Babesia sp. 18S rRNA from Australian Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) confirming presence of the parasite. Parasite prevalence estimated by microscopy in adults and chicks was higher (24% vs. 23.3%, respectively) than found by semi-nested PCR (16% vs. 13.3% respectively). Although sampled penguins were apparently healthy, the effect of Babesia infection in these penguins is unknown. The identification of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins is an important finding. Ixodes uriae, as the only tick species present in the Antarctic Peninsula, is the key to understanding the natural history of this parasite. Future work should address the transmission dynamics and pathogenicity of Babesia sp. in Chinstrap penguin as well as in other penguin species, such as Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) and Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), present within the tick distribution range in the Antarctic Peninsula. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  4. Aves, Charadriiformes, Scolopacidae, Limosa haemastica, (Linnaeus, 1758: First record from South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juares, M. A.


    Full Text Available We report herein the southernmost record of the Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica, at two localities inthe Antarctic: Esperanza/Hope Bay (January 2005 and 25 de Mayo/King George Island (October 2008. On both occasionsa pair of specimens with winter plumage was observed.

  5. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record. (United States)

    Mitchell, Jonathan S


    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  6. Delineating modern variation from extinct morphology in the fossil record using shells of the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) (United States)


    Characterization of morphological variation in the shells of extant Eastern Box Turtles, Terrapene carolina, provides a baseline for comparison to fossil populations. It also provides an example of the difficulties inherent to recognizing intraspecific diversity in the fossil record. The degree to which variation in fossils of T. carolina can be accommodated by extant variation in the species has been disagreed upon for over eighty years. Using morphometric analyses of the carapace, I address the relationship between modern and fossil T. carolina in terms of sexual dimorphism, geographic and subspecific variation, and allometric variation. Modern T. carolina display weak male-biased sexual size dimorphism. Sexual shape dimorphism cannot be reliably detected in the fossil record. Rather than a four-part subspecific division, patterns of geographic variation are more consistent with clinal variation between various regions in the species distribution. Allometric patterns are qualitatively similar to those documented in other emydid turtles and explain a significant amount of shape variation. When allometric patterns are accounted for, Holocene specimens are not significantly different from modern specimens. In contrast, several geologically older specimens have significantly different carapace shape with no modern analogue. Those large, fossilized specimens represent extinct variation occupying novel portions of morphospace. This study highlights the need for additional documentation of modern osteological variation that can be used to test hypotheses of intraspecific evolution in the fossil record. PMID:29513709

  7. The fossil record of turtles in Colombia; a review of the discoveries, research and future challenges

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cadena, Edwin A


    This is a review article on the fossil record of turtles in colombia that includes: the early cretaceous turtles from Zapatoca and Villa de Leyva localities; the giant turtles from the Paleocene Cerrejon and Calenturitas Coal Mines; the early Miocene, earliest record of Chelus from Pubenza, Cundinamarca; the early to late Miocene large podocnemids, chelids and testudinids from Castilletes, Alta Guajira and La Venta; and the small late Pleistocene kinosternids from Pubenza, Cundinamarca. I also discuss here the current gaps in the fossil record of tropical South American turtles, as well as the ongoing research and future projects to be developed in order to understand better the evolutionary history of Colombian turtles.

  8. Late-glacial atmospheric CO{sub 2} reconstructions from western Norway using fossil leaves

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Birks, H H; Birks, H J.B. [Sheffield Univ. (United Kingdom). Dept. of Animal and Plant Sciences; Beerling, D J; Woodward, F I [Bergen Univ. (Norway). Botanical Inst.


    Analyses of air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice-cores have shown that atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations are 180-200 ppmv during glacial periods, and ca. 280 ppmv during interglacials, including the Holocene. The change from glacial to Holocene concentrations occurred steadily over ca. 5000 years, slightly lagging the temperature increase inferred from {delta}{sup 18}. Antarctic ice cores lack fine time resolution over the late-glacial/early Holocene period 12-9000 {sup 14}C yr BP, that includes the Younger Dryas cold oscillation. The stomatal density on leaves is inversely proportional to the concentration of atmospheric CO{sub 2}. A late glacial sequence at Kraakenes, western Norway, contains well-preserved Salix herbacea (dwarf willow) leaves, dated from 11700-9600 {sup 14}C yr BP. If the stomatal density is measured on the fossil leaves, a calibration derived from the relationship of stomatal density of modern material of the same species to known CO{sub 2} concentrations can be used to reconstruct CO{sub 2} concentrations of the past. Because of the decadal time-resolution available at Kraakenes through the late-glacial and early Holocene, a detailed record of CO{sub 2} concentrations can be reconstructed over this period, that will complement the ice core record. (author)

  9. Late-glacial atmospheric CO{sub 2} reconstructions from western Norway using fossil leaves

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Birks, H.H.; Birks, H.J.B. [Sheffield Univ. (United Kingdom). Dept. of Animal and Plant Sciences; Beerling, D.J.; Woodward, F.I. [Bergen Univ. (Norway). Botanical Inst.


    Analyses of air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice-cores have shown that atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations are 180-200 ppmv during glacial periods, and ca. 280 ppmv during interglacials, including the Holocene. The change from glacial to Holocene concentrations occurred steadily over ca. 5000 years, slightly lagging the temperature increase inferred from {delta}{sup 18}. Antarctic ice cores lack fine time resolution over the late-glacial/early Holocene period 12-9000 {sup 14}C yr BP, that includes the Younger Dryas cold oscillation. The stomatal density on leaves is inversely proportional to the concentration of atmospheric CO{sub 2}. A late glacial sequence at Kraakenes, western Norway, contains well-preserved Salix herbacea (dwarf willow) leaves, dated from 11700-9600 {sup 14}C yr BP. If the stomatal density is measured on the fossil leaves, a calibration derived from the relationship of stomatal density of modern material of the same species to known CO{sub 2} concentrations can be used to reconstruct CO{sub 2} concentrations of the past. Because of the decadal time-resolution available at Kraakenes through the late-glacial and early Holocene, a detailed record of CO{sub 2} concentrations can be reconstructed over this period, that will complement the ice core record. (author)

  10. Airspace: Antarctic Sound Transmission


    Polli, Andrea


    This paper investigates how sound transmission can contribute to the public understanding of climate change within the context of the Poles. How have such transmission-based projects developed specifically in the Arctic and Antarctic, and how do these works create alternative pathways in order to help audiences better understand climate change? The author has created the media project Sonic Antarctica from a personal experience of the Antarctic. The work combines soundscape recordings and son...

  11. New Miocene sulid birds from Peru and considerations on their Neogene fossil record in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Stucchi


    Full Text Available Boobies and gannets (family Sulidae are the most specialized plunge divers among seabirds. Their fossil record along the Pacific coast of South America extends to the early Middle Miocene. Here we describe three new species of sulids: Sula brandi sp. nov., Sula figueroae sp. nov., and Ramphastosula aguirrei sp. nov., from the early Late Miocene of the Pisco Formation (Peru. Two of them are relatives of the living genus Sula, which represents medium and large-sized boobies. A new species of the extinct genus Ramphastosula is also described, adding to the discussion of possible alternative feeding strategies among sulids. The fossil record suggests that sympatric sulids exhibit different body sizes at least since the Oligocene epoch, a strategy related with resource partitioning. Furthermore, we find current analysis and knowledge of the fossil record unsuitable to evaluate properly seabird diversity changes through time.

  12. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pascal Neige

    Full Text Available New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov., Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov., and Ommastrephidae (genus indet. families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  13. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies. (United States)

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier


    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  14. Gaps in the Rock and Fossil Records and Implications for the Rate and Mode of Evolution. (United States)

    Smith, Grant Sackett


    Examines three types of gaps in the fossil record: real gaps, imaginary gaps, and temporary gaps. Reviews some recent evidence concerning evolution from the paleontological record of microfossils, invertebrates, and vertebrates in order to make some general conclusions regarding the manner in which life evolved on earth. (CW)

  15. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life


    Waldbauer, Jacob R.; Newman, Dianne K.; Summons, Roger E.


    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth’s evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O_2 in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O_2 where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires mo...

  16. The Evolution of Reproduction within Testudinata as Evidenced by the Fossil Record (United States)

    Lawver, Daniel Ryan

    Although known from every continent except Antarctica and having a fossil record ranging from the Middle Jurassic to the Pleistocene, fossil turtle eggs are relatively understudied. In this dissertation I describe four fossil specimens, interpret paleoecology and conduct cladistic analyses in order to investigate the evolution of turtle reproduction. Fossil eggshell descriptions primarily involve analysis by scanning electron and polarized light microscopy, as well as cathodoluminescence to determine the degree of diagenetic alteration. Carapace lengths and gas conductance are estimated in order to investigate the ecology of the adults that produced fossil turtle eggs and clutches, as well as their incubation environments, respectively. Cladistic analyses of turtle egg and reproductive characters permit assessment of the usefulness of these characters for determining phylogenetic relationships of fossil specimens and the evolution of reproduction in turtles. Specimens described here include 1) Testudoolithus oosp. from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar, 2) a clutch of eggs (some containing late stage embryos and at least one exhibiting multilayer eggshell) from the Late Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana and named Testudoolithus zelenitskyae oosp. nov., 3) an egg contained within an adult Basilemys nobilis from the Late Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation of Utah, and 4) a clutch of Meiolania platyceps eggs from the Pleistocene of Lord Howe Island, Australia. Meiolania platyceps eggs are named Testudoolithus lordhowensis oosp. nov. and provide valuable information on the origin of aragonite eggshell composition and nesting behaviors. Cladistic analyses utilizing egg and reproductive characters are rarely performed on taxa outside of Dinosauria. My analyses demonstrate that morphological data produces poorly resolved trees in which only the clades Adocia and Trionychia are resolved and all other turtles form a large polytomy. However, when combined with

  17. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics. (United States)

    Bibi, Faysal


    Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3-28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3-15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how phylogeographic and paleoenvironmental

  18. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils". (United States)

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun


    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

  19. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records (United States)

    Kidwell, Susan M.


    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  20. Testing Homogeneity with the Galaxy Fossil Record

    CERN Document Server

    Hoyle, Ben; Jimenez, Raul; Heavens, Alan; Clarkson, Chris; Maartens, Roy


    Observationally confirming spatial homogeneity on sufficiently large cosmological scales is of importance to test one of the underpinning assumptions of cosmology, and is also imperative for correctly interpreting dark energy. A challenging aspect of this is that homogeneity must be probed inside our past lightcone, while observations take place on the lightcone. The history of star formation rates (SFH) in the galaxy fossil record provides a novel way to do this. We calculate the SFH of stacked Luminous Red Galaxy (LRG) spectra obtained from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We divide the LRG sample into 12 equal area contiguous sky patches and 10 redshift slices (0.2

  1. Chemotaxonomy in some Mediterranean plants and implications for fossil biomarker records (United States)

    Norström, Elin; Katrantsiotis, Christos; Smittenberg, Rienk H.; Kouli, Katerina


    The increasing utilization of n-alkanes as plant-derived paleo-environmental proxies calls for improved chemotaxonomic control of the modern flora in order to calibrate fossil sediment records to modern analogues. Several recent studies have investigated long-chain n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in species from various vegetation biomes, but up to date, the Mediterranean flora is relatively unexplored in this respect. Here, we analyse the n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in some of the most common species of the modern macchia and phrygana vegetation in south western Peloponnese, Greece. We show that the drought adapted phrygana herbs and shrubs, as well as some of the sclerophyll and gymnosperm macchia components, produce high concentrations of n-alkanes, on average more than double n-alkane production in local wetland reed vegetation. Furthermore, the chain-length distribution in the analysed plants is related to plant functionality, with longer chain lengths associated with higher drought adaptive capacities, probably as a response to long-term evolutionary processes in a moisture limited environment. Furthermore, species with relatively higher average chain lengths (ACL) showed more enriched carbon isotope composition in their tissues (δ13Cplant), suggesting a dual imprint from both physiological and biochemical drought adaptation. The findings have bearings on interpretation of fossil sedimentary biomarker records in the Mediterranean region, which is discussed in relation to a case study from Agios Floros fen, Messenian plain, Peloponnese. The 6000 year long n-alkane record from Agios Floros (ACL, δ13Cwax) is linked to the modern analogue and then evaluated through a comparison with other regional-wide as well as local climate and vegetation proxy-data. The high concentration of long chain n-alkanes in phrygana vegetation suggests a dominating imprint from this vegetation type in sedimentary archives from this

  2. Export of nutrient rich Northern Component Water preceded early Oligocene Antarctic glaciation (United States)

    Coxall, Helen K.; Huck, Claire E.; Huber, Matthew; Lear, Caroline H.; Legarda-Lisarri, Alba; O'Regan, Matt; Sliwinska, Kasia K.; van de Flierdt, Tina; de Boer, Agatha M.; Zachos, James C.; Backman, Jan


    The onset of the North Atlantic Deep Water formation is thought to have coincided with Antarctic ice-sheet growth about 34 million years ago (Ma). However, this timing is debated, in part due to questions over the geochemical signature of the ancient Northern Component Water (NCW) formed in the deep North Atlantic. Here we present detailed geochemical records from North Atlantic sediment cores located close to sites of deep-water formation. We find that prior to 36 Ma, the northwestern Atlantic was stratified, with nutrient-rich, low-salinity bottom waters. This restricted basin transitioned into a conduit for NCW that began flowing southwards approximately one million years before the initial Antarctic glaciation. The probable trigger was tectonic adjustments in subarctic seas that enabled an increased exchange across the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. The increasing surface salinity and density strengthened the production of NCW. The late Eocene deep-water mass differed in its carbon isotopic signature from modern values as a result of the leakage of fossil carbon from the Arctic Ocean. Export of this nutrient-laden water provided a transient pulse of CO2 to the Earth system, which perhaps caused short-term warming, whereas the long-term effect of enhanced NCW formation was a greater northward heat transport that cooled Antarctica.

  3. Fossil Crinoids (United States)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.


    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  4. Validation and application of fossil DNA as a recorder of past marine ecosystems and environmental conditions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boere, A.C.


    The majority of planktonic species, including those that are informative in the reconstructions of past marine environmental conditions, do not produce diagnostic features (e.g., cysts, spores, or lipid biomarkers) and would therefore escape identification from the fossil record using traditional

  5. The fossil history of pseudoscorpions (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Harms


    Full Text Available Pseudoscorpions, given their resemblance to scorpions, have attracted human attention since the time of Aristotle, although they are much smaller and lack the sting and elongated tail. These arachnids have a long evolutionary history but their origins and phylogenetic affinities are still being debated. Here, we summarise their fossil record based on a comprehensive review of the literature and data contained in other sources. Pseudoscorpions are one of the oldest colonisers of the land, with fossils known since the Middle Devonian (ca. 390 Ma. The only arachnid orders with an older fossil record are scorpions, harvestmen and acariform mites, plus two extinct groups. Pseudoscorpions do not fossilise easily, and records from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic consist almost exclusively of amber inclusions. Most Mesozoic fossils come from Archingeay and Burmese ambers (Late Cretaceous and those from the Cenozoic are primarily from Eocene Baltic amber, although additional fossils from, for example, Miocene Dominican and Mexican ambers, are known. Overall, 16 of the 26 families of living pseudoscorpions have been documented from fossils and 49 currently valid species are recognised in the literature. Pseudoscorpions represent a case of morphological stasis and even the Devonian fossils look rather modern. Indeed, most amber fossils are comparable to Recent groups despite a major gap in the fossil record of almost 250 Myr. Baltic amber inclusions indicate palaeofauna inhabiting much warmer climates than today and point to climatic shifts in central Europe since the Eocene. They also indicate that some groups (e.g. Feaellidae and Pseudogarypidae had much wider Eocene distributions. Their present-day occurrence is relictual and highlights past extinction events. Faunas from younger tropical amber deposits (e.g. Dominican and Mexican amber are comparable to Recent ones. Generally, there is a strong bias in the amber record towards groups that live under tree

  6. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery (United States)

    Nicholson, David B.; Mayhew, Peter J.; Ross, Andrew J.


    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  7. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David B Nicholson

    Full Text Available The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994. About a third of families (>400 are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well.

  8. The fossil record of turtles in colombia; a review of the discoveries research and future challenges


    Cadena Rueda, Edwin Alberto


    This is a review article on the fossil record of turtles in Colombia that includes: the early Cretaceous turtles from Zapatocaand Villa de Leyva localities; the giant turtles from the Paleocene Cerrejón and Calenturitas Coal Mines; the early Miocene,earliest record of Chelus from Pubenza, Cundinamarca; the early to late Miocene large podocnemids, chelids and testudinidsfrom Castilletes, Alta Guajira and La Venta; and the small late Pleistocene kinosternids from Pubenza, Cundinamarca. I alsodi...

  9. Old stellar populations how to study the fossil record of galaxy formation

    CERN Document Server

    Cassisi, Santi


    The book discusses the theoretical path to decoding the information gathered from observations of old stellar systems. It focuses on old stellar systems because these are the fossil record of galaxy formation and provide invaluable information ont he evolution of cosmic structures and the universe as a whole. The aim is to present results obtained in the past few years for theoretical developments in low mass star research and in advances in our knowledge of the evolution of old stellar systems. A particularly representative case is the recent discovery of multiple stellar populations in galac

  10. Development of a Regional Glycerol Dialkyl Glycerol Tetraether (GDGT) - Temperature Calibration for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Lakes (United States)

    Roberts, S. J.; Foster, L. C.; Pearson, E. J.; Steve, J.; Hodgson, D.; Saunders, K. M.; Verleyen, E.


    Temperature calibration models based on the relative abundances of sedimentary glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) have been used to reconstruct past temperatures in both marine and terrestrial environments, but have not been widely applied in high latitude environments. This is mainly because the performance of GDGT-temperature calibrations at lower temperatures and GDGT provenance in many lacustrine settings remains uncertain. To address these issues, we examined surface sediments from 32 Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Chilean lakes. First, we quantified GDGT compositions present and then investigated modern-day environmental controls on GDGT composition. GDGTs were found in all 32 lakes studied. Branched GDGTs (brGDGTs) were dominant in 31 lakes and statistical analyses showed that their composition was strongly correlated with mean summer air temperature (MSAT) rather than pH, conductivity or water depth. Second, we developed the first regional brGDGT-temperature calibration for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic lakes based on four brGDGT compounds (GDGT-Ib, GDGT-II, GDGT-III and GDGT-IIIb). Of these, GDGT-IIIb proved particularly important in cold lacustrine environments. Our brGDGT-Antarctic temperature calibration dataset has an improved statistical performance at low temperatures compared to previous global calibrations (r2=0.83, RMSE=1.45°C, RMSEP-LOO=1.68°C, n=36 samples), highlighting the importance of basing palaeotemperature reconstructions on regional GDGT-temperature calibrations, especially if specific compounds lead to improved model performance. Finally, we applied the new Antarctic brGDGT-temperature calibration to two key lake records from the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. In both, downcore temperature reconstructions show similarities to known Holocene warm periods, providing proof of concept for the new Antarctic calibration model.

  11. Caught in the act: the first record of copulating fossil vertebrates. (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G; Micklich, Norbert; Schaal, Stephan F K; Scheyer, Torsten M


    The behaviour of fossil organisms can typically be inferred only indirectly, but rare fossil finds can provide surprising insights. Here, we report from the Eocene Messel Pit Fossil Site between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany numerous pairs of the fossil carettochelyid turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta that represent for the first time among fossil vertebrates couples that perished during copulation. Females of this taxon can be distinguished from males by their relatively shorter tails and development of plastral kinesis. The preservation of mating pairs has important taphonomic implications for the Messel Pit Fossil Site, as it is unlikely that the turtles would mate in poisonous surface waters. Instead, the turtles initiated copulation in habitable surface waters, but perished when their skin absorbed poisons while sinking into toxic layers. The mating pairs from Messel are therefore more consistent with a stratified, volcanic maar lake with inhabitable surface waters and a deadly abyss.

  12. Systematics, phylogeny, and taphonomy of ghost shrimps (Decapoda): a perspective from the fossil record (United States)

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.


    Ghost shrimps of Callianassidae and Ctenochelidae are soft-bodied, usually heterochelous decapods representing major bioturbators of muddy and sandy (sub)marine substrates. Ghost shrimps have a robust fossil record spanning from the Early Cretaceous (~ 133 Ma) to the Holocene and their remains are present in most assemblages of Cenozoic decapod crustaceans. Their taxonomic interpretation is in flux, mainly because the generic assignment is hindered by their insufficient preservation and disagreement in the biological classification. Furthermore, numerous taxa are incorrectly classified within the catch-all taxon Callianassa. To show the historical patterns in describing fossil ghost shrimps and to evaluate taphonomic aspects influencing the attribution of ghost shrimp remains to higher level taxa, a database of all fossil species treated at some time as belonging to the group has been compiled: 250 / 274 species are considered valid ghost shrimp taxa herein. More than half of these taxa (160 species, 58.4%) are known only from distal cheliped elements, i.e., dactylus and / or propodus, due to the more calcified cuticle locally. Rarely, ghost shrimps are preserved in situ in burrows or in direct association with them, and several previously unpublished occurrences are reported herein. For generic assignment, fossil material should be compared to living species because many of them have modern relatives. Heterochely, intraspecific variation, ontogenetic changes and sexual dimorphism are all factors that have to be taken into account when working with fossil ghost shrimps. Distal elements are usually more variable than proximal ones. Preliminary results suggest that the ghost shrimp clade emerged not before the Hauterivian (~ 133 Ma). The divergence of Ctenochelidae and Paracalliacinae is estimated to occur within the interval of Hauterivian to Albian (133–100 Ma). Callichirinae and Eucalliacinae likely diverged later during the Late Cretaceous (100–66 Ma

  13. The fossil record, function, and possible origins of shell color patterns in Paleozoic marine invertebrates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kobluk, D.R. (Univ. of Toronto, Ontario (Canada)); Mapes, R.H. (Ohio Univ., Athens (USA))


    Fossil invertebrate shells and carapaces displaying preserved original color patterns are among the rarest fossils. The fossil record of color patterns extends into the Middle Cambrian where the trilobite Anomocare displays a fan-like array of stripes on the pygidium. About 180 Paleozic genera are known with patterns, including trilobites, cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves, crinoids, and crustaceans. Based upon an analysis of these taxa, it appears that patterns and pigments in middle and late Paleozoic invertebrates may have served several functions such as warning displays, light screening, camouflage, or waste disposal. However, the presence of color patterns in fossil invertebrates in the early Paleozoic may have developed prior to the evolution of vision sufficiently sophisticated to see them. This suggests that camouflage and warning displays were not the original functions of color patterns, and that in the earliest Paleozoic they may not have been functional. The authors propose a hypothesis that involves three developmental phases in the evolution of invertebrate color patterns: (1) the incorporation of metabolic by-products, perhaps some pigmented and some not pigmented, into shells and carapaces as a means of disposal of dietary or metabolic wastes, (2) use of these pigments and patterns as an environmental adaptation, such as light screening, and (3) display during and following the evolution of vision in predators sufficiently sophisticated to see the patterns.

  14. Fossil Coral Records of ENSO during the Last Glacial Period (United States)

    Partin, J. W.; Taylor, F. W.; Shen, C. C.; Edwards, R. L.; Quinn, T. M.; DiNezro, P.


    Only a handful of paleoclimate records exist that can resolve interannual changes, and hence El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability, during the last glacial period, a time of altered mean climate. The few existing data suggest reduced ENSO variability compared to the Holocene, possibly due to a weaker zonal sea surface temperature gradient across the tropical Pacific and/or a deeper thermocline in the eastern tropical Pacific. Our goal is to add crucial data to this extremely limited subset using sub-annually resolved fossil corals that grew during this time period to reconstruct ENSO. We seek to recover fossil corals from Vanuatu, SW Pacific (16°S, 167°E) with the objective of using coral δ18O to reconstruct changes in the ENSO during and near the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Modern δ18O coral records from Vanuatu show a high degree of skill in capturing ENSO variability, making it a suitable site for reconstructing ENSO variability. We have custom designed and are building a drill system that can rapidly core many 0-25 m holes resulting in much more meters of penetration than achieved by previous land-based reef drilling. As the new drill system is extremely portable and can be quickly relocated by workers without landing craft or vehicles, it is time and cost efficient. Because the proposed drilling sites have uplifted extremely fast, 7 mm/year, the LGM shoreline has been raised from 120-140 m depth to within a depth range of 10 below to 20 m above present sea level. This enables all the drilling to be within the time range of interest ( 15-25 ka). A last advantage is that the LGM corals either are still submersed in seawater or emerged only within the last 2000 years at the uplift rate of 7 mm/yr. This greatly reduces the chances of disruption of the original climate signal because sea water is less diagenetically damaging than meteoric water in the mixed, phreatic, or vadose zones. LGM coral records will enable us to compare the proxy variability

  15. Fruits and wood of Parinari from the early Miocene of Panama and the fossil record of Chrysobalanaceae. (United States)

    Jud, Nathan A; Nelson, Chris W; Herrera, Fabiany


    Chrysobalanaceae are woody plants with over 500 species in 20 genera. They are among the most common trees in tropical forests, but a sparse fossil record has limited our ability to test evolutionary and biogeographic hypotheses, and several previous reports of Chrysobalanaceae megafossils are doubtful. We prepared fossil endocarps and wood collected from the lower Miocene beds along the Panama Canal using the cellulose acetate peel technique and examined them using light microscopy. We compared the fossil endocarps with previously published fossils and with fruits from herbarium specimens. We compared the fossil wood with photographs and descriptions of extant species. Parinari endocarps can be distinguished from other genera within Chrysobalanaceae by a suite of features, i.e., thick wall, a secondary septum, seminal cavities lined with dense, woolly trichomes, and two ovate to lingulate basal germination plugs. Fossil endocarps from the Cucaracha, Culebra, and La Boca Formations confirm that Parinari was present in the neotropics by the early Miocene. The earliest unequivocal evidence of crown-group Chrysobalanaceae is late Oligocene-early Miocene, and the genus Parinari was distinct by at least 19 million years ago. Parinari and other Chrysobalanaceae likely reached the neotropics via long-distance dispersal rather than vicariance. The presence of Parinari in the Cucaracha flora supports the interpretation of a riparian, moist tropical forest environment. Parinari was probably a canopy-dominant tree in the Cucaracha forest and took advantage of the local megafauna for seed dispersal. © 2016 Botanical Society of America.

  16. The celestial factor and the formula to explain or predict all extinctions of the fossil record

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Elewa, A.M.T.


    In reality there are various kinds of explanations for each type of extinction. This paper introduces a new theory to explain and to estimate the size and frequency of all extinctions over the entire period of 600 my of the fossil record. The central point was the search for a common pattern and

  17. Sequences, stratigraphy and scenarios: what can we say about the fossil record of the earliest tetrapods? (United States)

    Friedman, Matt; Brazeau, Martin D


    Past research on the emergence of digit-bearing tetrapods has led to the widely accepted premise that this important evolutionary event occurred during the Late Devonian. The discovery of convincing digit-bearing tetrapod trackways of early Middle Devonian age in Poland has upset this orthodoxy, indicating that current scenarios which link the timing of the origin of digited tetrapods to specific events in Earth history are likely to be in error. Inspired by this find, we examine the fossil record of early digit-bearing tetrapods and their closest fish-like relatives from a statistical standpoint. We find that the Polish trackways force a substantial reconsideration of the nature of the early tetrapod record when only body fossils are considered. However, the effect is less drastic (and often not statistically significant) when other reliably dated trackways that were previously considered anachronistic are taken into account. Using two approaches, we find that 95 per cent credible and confidence intervals for the origin of digit-bearing tetrapods extend into the Early Devonian and beyond, spanning late Emsian to mid Ludlow. For biologically realistic diversity models, estimated genus-level preservation rates for Devonian digited tetrapods and their relatives range from 0.025 to 0.073 per lineage-million years, an order of magnitude lower than species-level rates for groups typically considered to have dense records. Available fossils of early digited tetrapods and their immediate relatives are adequate for documenting large-scale patterns of character acquisition associated with the origin of terrestriality, but low preservation rates coupled with clear geographical and stratigraphic sampling biases caution against building scenarios for the origin of digits and terrestrialization tied to the provenance of particular specimens or faunas.

  18. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) (United States)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S.


    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees ( Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites—Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  19. Extending the fossil record of Polytrichaceae: Early Cretaceous Meantoinea alophosioides gen. et sp. nov., permineralized gametophytes with gemma cups from Vancouver Island. (United States)

    Bippus, Alexander C; Stockey, Ruth A; Rothwell, Gar W; Tomescu, Alexandru M F


    Diverse in modern ecosystems, mosses are dramatically underrepresented in the fossil record. Furthermore, most pre-Cenozoic mosses are known only from compression fossils, lacking detailed anatomical information. When preserved, anatomy vastly improves resolution in the systematic placement of fossils. Lower Cretaceous deposits at Apple Bay (Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) contain a diverse anatomically preserved flora that includes numerous bryophytes, many of which have yet to be characterized. Among them is a polytrichaceous moss that is described here. Fossil moss gametophytes preserved in four carbonate concretions were studied in serial sections prepared using the cellulose acetate peel technique. We describe Meantoinea alophosioides gen. et sp. nov., a polytrichaceous moss with terminal gemma cups containing stalked, lenticular gemmae. Leaves with characteristic costal anatomy, differentiated into sheathing base and free lamina and bearing photosynthetic lamellae, along with a conducting strand in the stem, place Meantoinea in family Polytrichaceae. The bistratose leaf lamina with an adaxial layer of mamillose cells, short photosynthetic lamellae restricted to the costa, and presence of gemma cups indicate affinities with basal members of the Polytrichaceae, such as Lyellia , Bartramiopsis , and Alophosia . Meantoinea alophosioides enriches the documented moss diversity of an already-diverse Early Cretaceous plant fossil assemblage. This is the third moss described from the Apple Bay plant fossil assemblage and represents the first occurrence of gemma cups in a fossil moss. It is also the oldest unequivocal record of Polytrichaceae, providing a hard minimum age for the group of 136 million years. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  20. The completeness of the fossil record of plesiosaurs, marine reptiles from the Mesozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samuel L. Tutin


    Full Text Available Plesiosaurs were a highly successful group of marine reptiles occurring worldwide in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, but to date few studies have focused on their preservation through time. Here, we conduct the first detailed assessment of the quality of the plesiosaur fossil record. Data was compiled for 178 specimens representing 114 valid species. For each species we calculated the character completeness metric (CCM: percentage of phylogenetic characters from a cladistic dataset that can be scored for that species and the skeletal completeness metric (SCM: percentage of the overall skeleton that is preserved for that species. Average CCM and SCM values were calculated for individual geological stages. A strong significant positive correlation was recovered between CCM and SCM, suggesting that the two metrics are recording the same signal, at least for this clade. Although a significant correlation between changes in sea level and changes in plesiosaur completeness was not recovered, an underlying negative relationship may be present but obscured by poorly sampled time bins. Plesiosaur completeness though time is not significantly correlated with that for contemporary terrestrial groups (sauropods, pterosaurs, birds, but is significantly correlated with that for ichthyosaurs, suggesting common controls on skeletal preservation in the marine realm. Significantly higher median completeness values in plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs than in contemporary terrestrial groups support the hypothesis that the marine tetrapod fossil record is more complete than that of terrestrial tetrapods. A collector’s curve for plesiosaurs shows a generally slow constant rate of discovery from the latter part of the 19th century until the 1990s, at which point the rate of discovery increased substantially and shows no sign of slowing. A significant but very weak negative correlation between SCM and the year in which a taxon was named suggests a weak tendency for more

  1. The completeness of the fossil record of plesiosaurs, marine reptiles from the Mesozoic. (United States)

    Tutin, Samuel L; Butler, Richard J


    Plesiosaurs were a highly successful group of marine reptiles occurring worldwide in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, but to date few studies have focused on their preservation through time. Here, we conduct the first detailed assessment of the quality of the plesiosaur fossil record. Data was compiled for 178 specimens representing 114 valid species. For each species we calculated the character completeness metric (CCM: percentage of phylogenetic characters from a cladistic dataset that can be scored for that species) and the skeletal completeness metric (SCM: percentage of the overall skeleton that is preserved for that species). Average CCM and SCM values were calculated for individual geological stages. A strong significant positive correlation was recovered between CCM and SCM, suggesting that the two metrics are recording the same signal, at least for this clade. Although a significant correlation between changes in sea level and changes in plesiosaur completeness was not recovered, an underlying negative relationship may be present but obscured by poorly sampled time bins. Plesiosaur completeness though time is not significantly correlated with that for contemporary terrestrial groups (sauropods, pterosaurs, birds), but is significantly correlated with that for ichthyosaurs, suggesting common controls on skeletal preservation in the marine realm. Significantly higher median completeness values in plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs than in contemporary terrestrial groups support the hypothesis that the marine tetrapod fossil record is more complete than that of terrestrial tetrapods. A collector's curve for plesiosaurs shows a generally slow constant rate of discovery from the latter part of the 19 th century until the 1990s, at which point the rate of discovery increased substantially and shows no sign of slowing. A significant but very weak negative correlation between SCM and the year in which a taxon was named suggests a weak tendency for more recently named

  2. The fossil record as a tool in cyclo stratigraphy: the incidence of Milankovitch-scale palaeoenvironmental changes on palaeocommunities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rodriguez-Tovar, F. J.


    Cyclo stratigraphic analysis at the Milankovitch scale has to date mainly been approached through the sedimentary record, although palaeontological data (the fossil record) is known to provide useful evidence of orbital-scale cycles of precession, obliquity and eccentricity. Orbit ally induced marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental changes determine variable responses on the part of the resident communities. Aside from the disruption of communities, complex evolutionary responses including stasis, speciation and extinction phenomena may take place. Cyclic variations in the marine past-biota at the community level, or in some particular taxa, have often been associated with orbit ally induced changes in palaeoenvironmental parameters. Cyclo stratigraphic research into foraminifera, radiol aria and nanno fossil data, mainly from Cretaceous sediments, may contribute significantly to our understanding of the planktonic community's response, whereas the response of the benthic community, deriving mainly from benthic foraminifera and trace fossils, has been studied to a lesser extent. Recognition of Milankovitch cycles from terrestrial palaeocommunities is relatively scarce and based mainly on the study of Pliocene-Miocene pollen assemblages. Astronomical forced climate changes determine well known variations in the distribution of terrestrial vegetation, but can also affect the terrestrial animal community, including hominid populations (migration, dispersion and colonisation). (Author)

  3. First fossil insectivores from Flores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoek Ostende, van den L.W.; Berch, van der G.; Awe Due, R.


    The hominid bearing strata from the Liang Bua cave on Flores have yielded a large amount of microvertebrate remains. Among these are three mandibles of shrews, the first record of fossil insectivores from the island. The fossils, representing two different species, are not referable to any of the

  4. Testing the Molecular Clock Using the Best Fossil Record: Case Studies from the Planktic Foraminifera (United States)

    Steel, B. A.; Kucera, M.; Darling, K.


    Criticism of molecular clock studies often centres on inadequate calibration and a perceived lack of correlation between reproductive isolation and recognisable morphological evolution. Since many major groups (e.g. birds, mammals, reptiles) have a poor fossil record, it is often difficult to test and refute these limitations. Planktic foraminifera represent an exception to this rule. Deep-sea sediments are super-abundant in foraminifera, and large numbers of specimens and occurrences are easily garnered from Ocean Drilling Programme cores. Planktic foraminifera therefore represent an ideal model group with which to test and refine molecular clock studies. Since the 1990AƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAøs, genetic sequences (principally 18S r-RNA) have been extracted from living planktic foraminifera, and a large genetic library has developed. Our study attempts to contextualise and test molecular data, particularly AƒAøAøâ_sA¬Agenetic studies have suggested that these two AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"super-speciesAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø in fact consist of a number of isolated forms, with contrasting ecologies and longevities, which in Recent and sub-Recent sediments can be distinguished either on the basis of pore ultrastructure (Gl. siphonifera) or test colouration (Gs. ruber). In both cases, molecular clock estimates are indicative of ancient (7-11 Ma) intra-species cryptic divergences, which seem to be considerably older than fossil dates. In particular, the calculated molecular split between the two forms of Gs. ruber (AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"whiteAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø and AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"pinkAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø) of around 11 Ma is considerably discordant with the fossil date of around 0.7 Ma. At first glance, this may appear to be a classic case of molecular over-estimation, often a feature of clock models, especially where, as in the foraminifera, substitution rates may vary widely. However, there is good reason to suspect that fossil range of the

  5. Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability

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    J. Fyke


    Full Text Available Annually averaged precipitation in the form of snow, the dominant term of the Antarctic Ice Sheet surface mass balance, displays large spatial and temporal variability. Here we present an analysis of spatial patterns of regional Antarctic precipitation variability and their impact on integrated Antarctic surface mass balance variability simulated as part of a preindustrial 1800-year global, fully coupled Community Earth System Model simulation. Correlation and composite analyses based on this output allow for a robust exploration of Antarctic precipitation variability. We identify statistically significant relationships between precipitation patterns across Antarctica that are corroborated by climate reanalyses, regional modeling and ice core records. These patterns are driven by variability in large-scale atmospheric moisture transport, which itself is characterized by decadal- to centennial-scale oscillations around the long-term mean. We suggest that this heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation variability has a dampening effect on overall Antarctic surface mass balance variability, with implications for regulation of Antarctic-sourced sea level variability, detection of an emergent anthropogenic signal in Antarctic mass trends and identification of Antarctic mass loss accelerations.

  6. The taphonomy of unmineralised Palaeozoic fossils preserved as siliciclastic moulds and casts, and their utility in assessing the interaction between environmental change and the fossil record (United States)

    MacGabhann, Breandán; Schiffbauer, James; Hagadorn, James; Van Roy, Peter; Lynch, Edward; Morrsion, Liam; Murray, John


    biopolymers, and that these tissues were preferentially fossilised by the formation of an early diagenic mould directly on the organic surfaces. Excess divalent iron ions, produced during decay of more labile tissues by means of bacterial iron reduction, would have adsorbed to anionic functional groups in the biopolymeric tissues. This would have provided a ready substrate for the formation and growth of such an early diagenic mineralised mould, including aluminosilicate minerals produced via reaction with seawater silica and metal ions, and iron sulphide minerals produced via reaction with hydrogen sulphide and free sulphur produced from seawater sulphate through bacterial sulphate reduction associated with further decay. Subsequent weathering would have oxidised such iron sulphides to oxides and oxyhydroxides. This taphonomic model supports the lack of utility of the eldonid palaeobiological record in analysing environmental influence on biological communities, due to the lack of preservation of key anatomical components. However, it also suggests that the very occurrence of fossils preserved in this style is dependent on extrinsic palaeoenvironmental factors - including pH, Eh, and the concentration of other ions in the contemporaneous seawater. Analyses of the distribution of fossils preserved in this style may therefore provide information on ambient conditions which may have affected the distribution of contemporaneous mineralised fossils, potentially allowing a more complete analysis of the effects of palaeoenvironmental change on fossil ecosystems.

  7. Snow Accumulation Variability Over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Since 1900: A Comparison of Ice Core Records With ERA-20C Reanalysis (United States)

    Wang, Yetang; Thomas, Elizabeth R.; Hou, Shugui; Huai, Baojuan; Wu, Shuangye; Sun, Weijun; Qi, Shanzhong; Ding, Minghu; Zhang, Yulun


    This study uses a set of 37 firn core records over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) to test the performance of the twentieth century from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ERA-20C) reanalysis for snow accumulation and quantify temporal variability in snow accumulation since 1900. The firn cores are allocated to four geographical areas demarcated by drainage divides (i.e., Antarctic Peninsula (AP), western WAIS, central WAIS, and eastern WAIS) to calculate stacked records of regional snow accumulation. Our results show that the interannual variability in ERA-20C precipitation minus evaporation (P - E) agrees well with the corresponding ice core snow accumulation composites in each of the four geographical regions, suggesting its skill for simulating snow accumulation changes before the modern satellite era (pre-1979). Snow accumulation experiences significantly positive trends for the AP and eastern WAIS, a negative trend for the western WAIS, and no significant trend for the central WAIS from 1900 to 2010. The contrasting trends are associated with changes in the large-scale moisture transport driven by a deepening of the low-pressure systems and anomalies of sea ice in the Amundsen Sea Low region.

  8. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Krings, M.; Taylor, T.N.; Dotzler, N.


    Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved

  9. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution (United States)

    Ferreira, Gabriel S.; Rincón, Ascanio D.; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C.


    The matamata ( Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  10. Antarctic climate variability on regional and continental scales over the last 2000 years

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    B. Stenni


    Full Text Available Climate trends in the Antarctic region remain poorly characterized, owing to the brevity and scarcity of direct climate observations and the large magnitude of interannual to decadal-scale climate variability. Here, within the framework of the PAGES Antarctica2k working group, we build an enlarged database of ice core water stable isotope records from Antarctica, consisting of 112 records. We produce both unweighted and weighted isotopic (δ18O composites and temperature reconstructions since 0 CE, binned at 5- and 10-year resolution, for seven climatically distinct regions covering the Antarctic continent. Following earlier work of the Antarctica2k working group, we also produce composites and reconstructions for the broader regions of East Antarctica, West Antarctica and the whole continent. We use three methods for our temperature reconstructions: (i a temperature scaling based on the δ18O–temperature relationship output from an ECHAM5-wiso model simulation nudged to ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalyses from 1979 to 2013, and adjusted for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet region to borehole temperature data, (ii a temperature scaling of the isotopic normalized anomalies to the variance of the regional reanalysis temperature and (iii a composite-plus-scaling approach used in a previous continent-scale reconstruction of Antarctic temperature since 1 CE but applied to the new Antarctic ice core database. Our new reconstructions confirm a significant cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE across all Antarctic regions where records extend back into the 1st millennium, with the exception of the Wilkes Land coast and Weddell Sea coast regions. Within this long-term cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE, we find that the warmest period occurs between 300 and 1000 CE, and the coldest interval occurs from 1200 to 1900 CE. Since 1900 CE, significant warming trends are identified for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Dronning Maud Land coast and the

  11. Evolutionary History of the Asian Horned Frogs (Megophryinae): Integrative Approaches to Timetree Dating in the Absence of a Fossil Record. (United States)

    Mahony, Stephen; Foley, Nicole M; Biju, S D; Teeling, Emma C


    Molecular dating studies typically need fossils to calibrate the analyses. Unfortunately, the fossil record is extremely poor or presently nonexistent for many species groups, rendering such dating analysis difficult. One such group is the Asian horned frogs (Megophryinae). Sampling all generic nomina, we combined a novel ∼5 kb dataset composed of four nuclear and three mitochondrial gene fragments to produce a robust phylogeny, with an extensive external morphological study to produce a working taxonomy for the group. Expanding the molecular dataset to include out-groups of fossil-represented ancestral anuran families, we compared the priorless RelTime dating method with the widely used prior-based Bayesian timetree method, MCMCtree, utilizing a novel combination of fossil priors for anuran phylogenetic dating. The phylogeny was then subjected to ancestral phylogeographic analyses, and dating estimates were compared with likely biogeographic vicariant events. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that previously proposed systematic hypotheses were incorrect due to the paraphyly of genera. Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and timetree results support the recognition of Megophryinae as a single genus, Megophrys, with a subgenus level classification. Timetree results using RelTime better corresponded with the known fossil record for the out-group anuran tree. For the priorless in-group, it also outperformed MCMCtree when node date estimates were compared with likely influential historical biogeographic events, providing novel insights into the evolutionary history of this pan-Asian anuran group. Given a relatively small molecular dataset, and limited prior knowledge, this study demonstrates that the computationally rapid RelTime dating tool may outperform more popular and complex prior reliant timetree methodologies. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For

  12. Geomicrobiological study of modern microbialites from Mexico: towards a better understanding of the ancient fossil record

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    Benzerara K.


    Full Text Available Microbialites are sedimentary formations that are found throughout the geological record and are usually considered as one of the oldest traces of life on Earth. Although they have been known for more than a century and hold as an emblematic object in Earth Sciences, we yet do not understand in details how they form and how microbial processes impact their chemistry, structure and macroscopic morphology. Here, we show recent advances achieved owing to funding provided by the EPOV program on the formation of modern microbialites in the crater Lake Alchichica (Mexico. We first show that very diverse microbial communities populate these microbialites, including diverse microbial groups able to induce carbonate precipitation. We demonstrate that this microbial diversity can be preserved for several years in laboratory aquaria offering a nice opportunity for future studies to assess the relationships between biodiversity and microbialite formation. We then detail the textural modifications affecting cyanobacterial cells during the first steps of fossilization as captured in Alchichica microbialites. Finally, we report the discovery of a new deepbranching cyanobacterium species, Candidatus Gloeomargarita lithophora, able to form intracellular Ca-, Mg-, Sr- and Ba-rich carbonates and discuss the implications for the interpretation of the fossil record.

  13. A comparison of the present and last interglacial periods in six Antarctic ice cores

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    V. Masson-Delmotte


    Full Text Available We compare the present and last interglacial periods as recorded in Antarctic water stable isotope records now available at various temporal resolutions from six East Antarctic ice cores: Vostok, Taylor Dome, EPICA Dome C (EDC, EPICA Dronning Maud Land (EDML, Dome Fuji and the recent TALDICE ice core from Talos Dome. We first review the different modern site characteristics in terms of ice flow, meteorological conditions, precipitation intermittency and moisture origin, as depicted by meteorological data, atmospheric reanalyses and Lagrangian moisture source diagnostics. These different factors can indeed alter the relationships between temperature and water stable isotopes. Using five records with sufficient resolution on the EDC3 age scale, common features are quantified through principal component analyses. Consistent with instrumental records and atmospheric model results, the ice core data depict rather coherent and homogenous patterns in East Antarctica during the last two interglacials. Across the East Antarctic plateau, regional differences, with respect to the common East Antarctic signal, appear to have similar patterns during the current and last interglacials. We identify two abrupt shifts in isotopic records during the glacial inception at TALDICE and EDML, likely caused by regional sea ice expansion. These regional differences are discussed in terms of moisture origin and in terms of past changes in local elevation histories, which are compared to ice sheet model results. Our results suggest that elevation changes may contribute significantly to inter-site differences. These elevation changes may be underestimated by current ice sheet models.

  14. Tracking the El Nino events from Antarctic ice core records

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keskin, S.S.; Oelmez, I.


    Sodium and chlorine measurements were made by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) on stratigraphically dated ice core samples from Byrd Station, Antarctica, for the last three centuries. The time period between 1969 and 1989 showed an enhanced impact on the Antarctic ice sheets from oceans in the form of marine aerosols. A disturbed ocean-atmosphere interface due to El Ni Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events seems to be a candidate for this observation in Antarctica. (author)

  15. Antarctic research today

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hempel, G.


    With the appetite for living and dead natural resources, the political and economical interest concerning the Antarctic increases throughout the world. There are three interrelated main subjects accounting for the international interest: The shelf tectonic puzzle of the original continent of Gondwana, where the Antarctic is situated in the centre, between Australia, South Africa and South America, and the hopes concerning the existence of mineral resources under the ice of the Antarctic are based thereon. The Antarctic forms the biggest unified living space of the world. (orig.)

  16. First direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level trophic chain in the fossil record. (United States)

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Witzmann, Florian; Klug, Stefanie; Heidtke, Ulrich H J


    We describe the first known occurrence of a Permian shark specimen preserving two temnospondyl amphibians in its digestive tract as well as the remains of an acanthodian fish, which was ingested by one of the temnospondyls. This exceptional find provides for the first time direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level food chain in the fossil record with the simultaneous preservation of three trophic levels. Our analysis shows that small-sized Lower Permian xenacanthid sharks of the genus Triodus preyed on larval piscivorous amphibians. The recorded trophic interaction can be explained by the adaptation of certain xenacanthids to fully freshwater environments and the fact that in these same environments, large temnospondyls occupied the niche of modern crocodiles. This unique faunal association has not been documented after the Permian and Triassic. Therefore, this Palaeozoic three-level food chain provides strong and independent support for changes in aquatic trophic chain structures through time.

  17. Primate diversification inferred from phylogenies and fossils. (United States)

    Herrera, James P


    Biodiversity arises from the balance between speciation and extinction. Fossils record the origins and disappearance of organisms, and the branching patterns of molecular phylogenies allow estimation of speciation and extinction rates, but the patterns of diversification are frequently incongruent between these two data sources. I tested two hypotheses about the diversification of primates based on ∼600 fossil species and 90% complete phylogenies of living species: (1) diversification rates increased through time; (2) a significant extinction event occurred in the Oligocene. Consistent with the first hypothesis, analyses of phylogenies supported increasing speciation rates and negligible extinction rates. In contrast, fossils showed that while speciation rates increased, speciation and extinction rates tended to be nearly equal, resulting in zero net diversification. Partially supporting the second hypothesis, the fossil data recorded a clear pattern of diversity decline in the Oligocene, although diversification rates were near zero. The phylogeny supported increased extinction ∼34 Ma, but also elevated extinction ∼10 Ma, coinciding with diversity declines in some fossil clades. The results demonstrated that estimates of speciation and extinction ignoring fossils are insufficient to infer diversification and information on extinct lineages should be incorporated into phylogenetic analyses. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  18. Regional Antarctic snow accumulation over the past 1000 years

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. R. Thomas


    Full Text Available Here we present Antarctic snow accumulation variability at the regional scale over the past 1000 years. A total of 79 ice core snow accumulation records were gathered and assigned to seven geographical regions, separating the high-accumulation coastal zones below 2000 m of elevation from the dry central Antarctic Plateau. The regional composites of annual snow accumulation were evaluated against modelled surface mass balance (SMB from RACMO2.3p2 and precipitation from ERA-Interim reanalysis. With the exception of the Weddell Sea coast, the low-elevation composites capture the regional precipitation and SMB variability as defined by the models. The central Antarctic sites lack coherency and either do not represent regional precipitation or indicate the model inability to capture relevant precipitation processes in the cold, dry central plateau. Our results show that SMB for the total Antarctic Ice Sheet (including ice shelves has increased at a rate of 7 ± 0.13 Gt decade−1 since 1800 AD, representing a net reduction in sea level of ∼ 0.02 mm decade−1 since 1800 and ∼ 0.04 mm decade−1 since 1900 AD. The largest contribution is from the Antarctic Peninsula (∼ 75 % where the annual average SMB during the most recent decade (2001–2010 is 123 ± 44 Gt yr−1 higher than the annual average during the first decade of the 19th century. Only four ice core records cover the full 1000 years, and they suggest a decrease in snow accumulation during this period. However, our study emphasizes the importance of low-elevation coastal zones, which have been under-represented in previous investigations of temporal snow accumulation.

  19. Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail. (United States)

    McNamara, Maria; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver-Mollá, Enrique


    The very labile (decay-prone), non-biomineralized, tissues of organisms are rarely fossilized. Occurrences thereof are invaluable supplements to a body fossil record dominated by biomineralized tissues, which alone are extremely unrepresentative of diversity in modern and ancient ecosystems. Fossil examples of extremely labile tissues (e.g. muscle) that exhibit a high degree of morphological fidelity are almost invariably replicated by inorganic compounds such as calcium phosphate. There is no consensus as to whether such tissues can be preserved with similar morphological fidelity as organic remains, except when enclosed inside amber. Here, we report fossilized musculature from an approximately 18 Myr old salamander from lacustrine sediments of Ribesalbes, Spain. The muscle is preserved organically, in three dimensions, and with the highest fidelity of morphological preservation yet documented from the fossil record. Preserved ultrastructural details include myofilaments, endomysium, layering within the sarcolemma, and endomysial circulatory vessels infilled with blood. Slight differences between the fossil tissues and their counterparts in extant amphibians reflect limited degradation during fossilization. Our results provide unequivocal evidence that high-fidelity organic preservation of extremely labile tissues is not only feasible, but likely to be common. This is supported by the discovery of similarly preserved tissues in the Eocene Grube Messel biota.

  20. Revisiting the origin and diversification of vascular plants through a comprehensive Bayesian analysis of the fossil record. (United States)

    Silvestro, Daniele; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D; Antonelli, Alexandre


    Plants have a long evolutionary history, during which mass extinction events dramatically affected Earth's ecosystems and its biodiversity. The fossil record can shed light on the diversification dynamics of plant life and reveal how changes in the origination-extinction balance have contributed to shaping the current flora. We use a novel Bayesian approach to estimate origination and extinction rates in plants throughout their history. We focus on the effect of the 'Big Five' mass extinctions and on estimating the timing of origin of vascular plants, seed plants and angiosperms. Our analyses show that plant diversification is characterized by several shifts in origination and extinction rates, often matching the most important geological boundaries. The estimated origin of major plant clades predates the oldest macrofossils when considering the uncertainties associated with the fossil record and the preservation process. Our findings show that the commonly recognized mass extinctions have affected each plant group differently and that phases of high extinction often coincided with major floral turnovers. For instance, after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary we infer negligible shifts in diversification of nonflowering seed plants, but find significantly decreased extinction in spore-bearing plants and increased origination rates in angiosperms, contributing to their current ecological and evolutionary dominance. © 2015 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.

  1. New Visualizations Highlight New Information on the Contrasting Arctic and Antarctic Sea-Ice Trends Since the Late 1970s (United States)

    Parkinson, Claire L.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.


    Month-by-month ranking of 37 years (1979-2015) of satellite-derived sea-ice extents in the Arctic and Antarctic reveals interesting new details in the overall trends toward decreasing sea-ice coverage in the Arctic and increasing sea-ice coverage in the Antarctic. The Arctic decreases are so definitive that there has not been a monthly record high in Arctic sea-ice extents in any month since 1986, a time period during which there have been 75 monthly record lows. The Antarctic, with the opposite but weaker trend toward increased ice extents, experienced monthly record lows in 5 months of 1986, then 6 later monthly record lows scattered through the dataset, with the last two occurring in 2006, versus 45 record highs since 1986. However, in the last three years of the 1979-2015 dataset, the downward trends in Arctic sea-ice extents eased up, with no new record lows in any month of 2013 or 2014 and only one record low in 2015,while the upward trends in Antarctic ice extents notably strengthened, with new record high ice extents in 4 months (August-November) of 2013, in 6 months (April- September) of 2014, and in 3 months (January, April, and May) of 2015. Globally, there have been only 3 monthly record highs since 1986 (only one since 1988), whereas there have been 43 record lows, although the last record lows (in the 1979-2015 dataset) occurred in 2012.

  2. Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda) (United States)

    Wang, Yan-hui; Engel, Michael S.; Rafael, José A.; Wu, Hao-yang; Rédei, Dávid; Xie, Qiang; Wang, Gang; Liu, Xiao-guang; Bu, Wen-jun


    Insecta s. str. (=Ectognatha), comprise the largest and most diversified group of living organisms, accounting for roughly half of the biodiversity on Earth. Understanding insect relationships and the specific time intervals for their episodes of radiation and extinction are critical to any comprehensive perspective on evolutionary events. Although some deeper nodes have been resolved congruently, the complete evolution of insects has remained obscure due to the lack of direct fossil evidence. Besides, various evolutionary phases of insects and the corresponding driving forces of diversification remain to be recognized. In this study, a comprehensive sample of all insect orders was used to reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships and estimate deep divergences. The phylogenetic relationships of insect orders were congruently recovered by Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses. A complete timescale of divergences based on an uncorrelated log-normal relaxed clock model was established among all lineages of winged insects. The inferred timescale for various nodes are congruent with major historical events including the increase of atmospheric oxygen in the Late Silurian and earliest Devonian, the radiation of vascular plants in the Devonian, and with the available fossil record of the stem groups to various insect lineages in the Devonian and Carboniferous. PMID:27958352

  3. Antarctic glossopterid diversity on a local scale: the presence of multiple megasporophyll genera, Upper Permian, Mt. Achernar, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica. (United States)

    Ryberg, Patricia E; Taylor, Edith L; Taylor, Thomas N


    The glossopterids are a group of plants that thrived during a time of global warming similar to what is happening on the Earth today as well as the transition from archaic plant groups to the ancestors of modern groups. The diversity of the glossopterid clade is based on the megasporangiate structures assigned to the group, because the vegetative and pollen-bearing structures vary little. The presence of numerous reproductive genera from a single Upper Permian locality in the central Transantarctic Mountains provides important data on local glossopterid diversity in Antarctica. Impression/compression fossils were imaged with a Leica 5000C digital camera on a dissecting microscope or a Fujifilm FinePix S1pro digital camera. Two megasporangiate taxa are described: Scutum leiophyllum, which represents the first confirmed record of the genus in Antarctica, and Lidgettoniopsis ramulus, a new morphology consisting of a pinnate structure with oppositely attached megasporophylls. Plumsteadia ovata specimens indicate that this genus can be larger than previously recorded and illustrate the vegetative surface with a distinct midrib. The presence of a laminar, multiovulate structure and a pinnate structure at the same site indicates that local-level glossopterid diversity in Antarctica is greater than previously hypothesized. The discovery of a new megasporophyll morphology in Antarctica (confirming the presence of three distinctive morphologies on the continent) shows that Antarctic glossopterid heterogeneity is on a par with other Gondwanan continents. The diversity of the Antarctic landscape reveals that high polar latitudes can sustain a diverse ecosystem during times of global warming.

  4. New Biogeographic insight into Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): integration from fossil records and molecular analyses. (United States)

    Meng, Hong-Hu; Jacques, Frédéric Mb; Su, Tao; Huang, Yong-Jiang; Zhang, Shi-Tao; Ma, Hong-Jie; Zhou, Zhe-Kun


    Given that most species that have ever existed on earth are extinct, it stands to reason that the evolutionary history can be better understood with fossil taxa. Bauhinia is a typical genus of pantropical intercontinental disjunction among the Asian, African, and American continents. Geographic distribution patterns are better recognized when fossil records and molecular sequences are combined in the analyses. Here, we describe a new macrofossil species of Bauhinia from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan County, Southeast Yunnan, China, and elucidate the biogeographic significance through the analyses of molecules and fossils. Morphometric analysis demonstrates that the leaf shapes of B. acuminata, B. championii, B. chalcophylla, B. purpurea, and B. podopetala closely resemble the leaf shapes of the new finding fossil. Phylogenetic relationships among the Bauhinia species were reconstructed using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference, which inferred that species in Bauhinia species are well-resolved into three main groups. Divergence times were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method under a relaxed clock, and inferred that the stem diversification time of Bauhinia was ca. 62.7 Ma. The Asian lineage first diverged at ca. 59.8 Ma, followed by divergence of the Africa lineage starting during the late Eocene, whereas that of the neotropical lineage starting during the middle Miocene. Hypotheses relying on vicariance or continental history to explain pantropical disjunct distributions are dismissed because they require mostly Palaeogene and older tectonic events. We suggest that Bauhinia originated in the middle Paleocene in Laurasia, probably in Asia, implying a possible Tethys Seaway origin or an "Out of Tropical Asia", and dispersal of legumes. Its present pantropical disjunction resulted from disruption of the boreotropical flora by climatic cooling after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). North Atlantic land

  5. Freshwater invertebrates of sub-Antarctic Marion Island | Dartnall ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The aquatic species include five platyhelminthes, a gastrotrich, three tardigrades, 28 rotifers, six nematodes, two annelids and 11 arthropods. Most are familiar species that have been recorded on other sub-Antarctic islands. The invertebrate faunas of the various freshwater habitats were basically similar in species ...

  6. Task-dependent cold stress during expeditions in Antarctic environments. (United States)

    Morris, Drew M; Pilcher, June J; Powell, Robert B


    This study seeks to understand the degree of body cooling, cold perception and physical discomfort during Antarctic tour excursions. Eight experienced expedition leaders across three Antarctic cruise voyages were monitored during occupational tasks: kayaking, snorkelling and zodiac outings. Subjective cold perception and discomfort were recorded using a thermal comfort assessment and skin temperature was recorded using a portable data logger. Indoor cabin temperature and outdoor temperature with wind velocity were used as measures of environmental stress. Physical activity level and clothing insulation were estimated using previous literature. Tour leaders experienced a 6°C (2°C wind chill) environment for an average of 6 hours each day. Leaders involved in kayaking reported feeling colder and more uncomfortable than other leaders, but zodiac leaders showed greater skin temperature cooling. Occupational experience did not predict body cooling or cold stress perception. These findings indicate that occupational cold stress varies by activity and measurement methodology. The current study effectively used objective and subjective measures of cold-stress to identify factors which can contribute to risk in the Antarctic tourism industry. Results suggest that the type of activity may moderate risk of hypothermia, but not discomfort, potentially putting individuals at risk for cognitive related mistakes and cold injuries.

  7. Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. D. van Ommen


    Full Text Available Antarctic ice cores provide clear evidence of a close coupling between variations in Antarctic temperature and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 during the glacial/interglacial cycles of at least the past 800-thousand years. Precise information on the relative timing of the temperature and CO2 changes can assist in refining our understanding of the physical processes involved in this coupling. Here, we focus on the last deglaciation, 19 000 to 11 000 yr before present, during which CO2 concentrations increased by ~80 parts per million by volume and Antarctic temperature increased by ~10 °C. Utilising a recently developed proxy for regional Antarctic temperature, derived from five near-coastal ice cores and two ice core CO2 records with high dating precision, we show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by less than 400 yr and that even a short lead of CO2 over temperature cannot be excluded. This result, consistent for both CO2 records, implies a faster coupling between temperature and CO2 than previous estimates, which had permitted up to millennial-scale lags.

  8. Past penguin colony responses to explosive volcanism on the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Roberts, Stephen J.; Monien, Patrick; Foster, Louise C.; Loftfield, Julia; Hocking, Emma P.; Schnetger, Bernhard; Pearson, Emma J.; Juggins, Steve; Fretwell, Peter; Ireland, Louise; Ochyra, Ryszard; Haworth, Anna R.; Allen, Claire S.; Moreton, Steven G.; Davies, Sarah J.; Brumsack, Hans-Jürgen; Bentley, Michael J.; Hodgson, Dominic A.


    Changes in penguin populations on the Antarctic Peninsula have been linked to several environmental factors, but the potentially devastating impact of volcanic activity has not been considered. Here we use detailed biogeochemical analyses to track past penguin colony change over the last 8,500 years on Ardley Island, home to one of the Antarctic Peninsula's largest breeding populations of gentoo penguins. The first sustained penguin colony was established on Ardley Island c. 6,700 years ago, pre-dating sub-fossil evidence of Peninsula-wide occupation by c. 1,000 years. The colony experienced five population maxima during the Holocene. Overall, we find no consistent relationships with local-regional atmospheric and ocean temperatures or sea-ice conditions, although the colony population maximum, c. 4,000-3,000 years ago, corresponds with regionally elevated temperatures. Instead, at least three of the five phases of penguin colony expansion were abruptly ended by large eruptions from the Deception Island volcano, resulting in near-complete local extinction of the colony, with, on average, 400-800 years required for sustainable recovery.

  9. Observation of very low frequency emissions at Indian Antarctic ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Recently, we have succeeded in recording VLF emissions at the Indian Antarctic station, Maitri (geom. lat. 62° S, geom. long. 57.23°E, =4.5) using a T-type antenna, pre/main amplifiers and digital audio tape recorder. VLF hiss in the frequency ranges 11–13 kHz and 13–14.5 kHz and some riser-type emissions in the ...

  10. Red shift, blue shift: investigating Doppler shifts, blubber thickness, and migration as explanations of seasonal variation in the tonality of Antarctic blue whale song.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian S Miller

    Full Text Available The song of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia comprises repeated, stereotyped, low-frequency calls. Measurements of these calls from recordings spanning many years have revealed a long-term linear decline as well as an intra-annual pattern in tonal frequency. While a number of hypotheses for this long-term decline have been investigated, including changes in population structure, changes in the physical environment, and changes in the behaviour of the whales, there have been relatively few attempts to explain the intra-annual pattern. An additional hypothesis that has not yet been investigated is that differences in the observed frequency from each call are due to the Doppler effect. The assumptions and implications of the Doppler effect on whale song are investigated using 1 vessel-based acoustic recordings of Antarctic blue whales with simultaneous observation of whale movement and 2 long-term acoustic recordings from both the subtropics and Antarctic. Results from vessel-based recordings of Antarctic blue whales indicate that variation in peak-frequency between calls produced by an individual whale was greater than would be expected by the movement of the whale alone. Furthermore, analysis of intra-annual frequency shift at Antarctic recording stations indicates that the Doppler effect is unlikely to fully explain the observations of intra-annual pattern in the frequency of Antarctic blue whale song. However, data do show cyclical changes in frequency in conjunction with season, thus suggesting that there might be a relationship among tonal frequency, body condition, and migration to and from Antarctic feeding grounds.

  11. An antarctic stratigraphic record of stepwise ice growth through the eocene-oligocene transition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Passchier, Sandra; Ciarletta, Daniel J.; Miriagos, Triantafilo E.; Bijl, Peter K.; Bohaty, Steven M.


    Earth's current icehouse phase began ~34 m.y. ago with the onset of major Antarctic glaciation at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. Changes in ocean circulation and a decline in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels were associated with stepwise cooling and ice growth at southern high latitudes. The

  12. Dynamic Antarctic ice sheet during the early to mid-Miocene (United States)

    Gasson, Edward; DeConto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Levy, Richard H.


    Geological data indicate that there were major variations in Antarctic ice sheet volume and extent during the early to mid-Miocene. Simulating such large-scale changes is problematic because of a strong hysteresis effect, which results in stability once the ice sheets have reached continental size. A relatively narrow range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations indicated by proxy records exacerbates this problem. Here, we are able to simulate large-scale variability of the early to mid-Miocene Antarctic ice sheet because of three developments in our modeling approach. (i) We use a climate-ice sheet coupling method utilizing a high-resolution atmospheric component to account for ice sheet-climate feedbacks. (ii) The ice sheet model includes recently proposed mechanisms for retreat into deep subglacial basins caused by ice-cliff failure and ice-shelf hydrofracture. (iii) We account for changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of the ice sheet by using isotope-enabled climate and ice sheet models. We compare our modeling results with ice-proximal records emerging from a sedimentological drill core from the Ross Sea (Andrill-2A) that is presented in a companion article. The variability in Antarctic ice volume that we simulate is equivalent to a seawater oxygen isotope signal of 0.52-0.66‰, or a sea level equivalent change of 30-36 m, for a range of atmospheric CO2 between 280 and 500 ppm and a changing astronomical configuration. This result represents a substantial advance in resolving the long-standing model data conflict of Miocene Antarctic ice sheet and sea level variability.

  13. Individual to Community-Level Faunal Responses to Environmental Change from a Marine Fossil Record of Early Miocene Global Warming (United States)

    Belanger, Christina L.


    Modern climate change has a strong potential to shift earth systems and biological communities into novel states that have no present-day analog, leaving ecologists with no observational basis to predict the likely biotic effects. Fossil records contain long time-series of past environmental changes outside the range of modern observation, which are vital for predicting future ecological responses, and are capable of (a) providing detailed information on rates of ecological change, (b) illuminating the environmental drivers of those changes, and (c) recording the effects of environmental change on individual physiological rates. Outcrops of Early Miocene Newport Member of the Astoria Formation (Oregon) provide one such time series. This record of benthic foraminiferal and molluscan community change from continental shelf depths spans a past interval environmental change (∼20.3-16.7 mya) during which the region warmed 2.1–4.5°C, surface productivity and benthic organic carbon flux increased, and benthic oxygenation decreased, perhaps driven by intensified upwelling as on the modern Oregon coast. The Newport Member record shows that (a) ecological responses to natural environmental change can be abrupt, (b) productivity can be the primary driver of faunal change during global warming, (c) molluscs had a threshold response to productivity change while foraminifera changed gradually, and (d) changes in bivalve body size and growth rates parallel changes in taxonomic composition at the community level, indicating that, either directly or indirectly through some other biological parameter, the physiological tolerances of species do influence community change. Ecological studies in modern and fossil records that consider multiple ecological levels, environmental parameters, and taxonomic groups can provide critical information for predicting future ecological change and evaluating species vulnerability. PMID:22558424

  14. Antarctic Glaciological Data at NSIDC: field data, temperature, and ice velocity (United States)

    Bauer, R.; Bohlander, J.; Scambos, T.; Berthier, E.; Raup, B.; Scharfen, G.


    An extensive collection of many Antarctic glaciological parameters is available for the polar science community upon request. The National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs funds the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center (AGDC) at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) to archive and distribute Antarctic glaciological and cryospheric system data collected by the U.S. Antarctic Program. AGDC facilitates data exchange among Principal Investigators, preserves recently collected data useful to future research, gathers data sets from past research, and compiles continent-wide information useful for modeling and field work planning. Data sets are available via our web site, From here, users can access extensive documentation, citation information, locator maps, derived images and references, and the numerical data. More than 50 Antarctic scientists have contributed data to the archive. Among the compiled products distributed by AGDC are VELMAP and THERMAP. THERMAP is a compilation of over 600 shallow firn temperature measurements ('10-meter temperatures') collected since 1950. These data provide a record of mean annual temperature, and potentially hold a record of climate change on the continent. The data are represented with maps showing the traverse route, and include data sources, measurement technique, and additional measurements made at each site, i.e., snow density and accumulation. VELMAP is an archive of surface ice velocity measurements for the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The primary objective of VELMAP is to assemble a historic record of outlet glaciers and ice shelf ice motion over the Antarctic. The collection includes both PI-contributed measurements and data generated at NSIDC using Landsat and SPOT satellite imagery. Tabular data contain position, speed, bearing, and data quality information, and related references. Two new VELMAP data sets are highlighted: the Mertz Glacier and the Institute Ice Stream. Mertz Glacier ice

  15. Mesozoic Coleopteran Faunas from Argentina: Geological Context, Diversity, Taphonomic Observations, and Comparison with Other Fossil Insect Records

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María Belén Lara


    Full Text Available The order Coleoptera is the most diversified group of the Class Insecta and is the largest group of the Animal Kingdom. This contribution reviews the Mesozoic insects and especially the coleopteran records from Argentina, based on bibliographical and unpublished materials (86 described species, 526 collected specimens. The material came from different geological units from the late Middle Triassic to the Late Triassic (Bermejo, Cuyo, and Malargüe basins to the Middle-Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous (Deseado Massif, Cañadón Asfalto, and San Luís Basin. The coleopteran record is composed of 29 described species with 262 collected specimens (isolated elytra mainly represented by Triassic species and only four specimens recorded in Jurassic units, all of them currently unpublished. These fossil coleopterans provide fundamental information about the evolution of insects in the Southern Hemisphere and confirm the Triassic Argentinean insect deposits to be among the most important in the world.

  16. Antarctic and Southern Ocean influences on Late Pliocene global cooling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McKay, R.; Naish, T.; Carter, L.; Riesselman, C.; Dunbar, R.; Sjunneskog, C.; Winter, D.; Sangiorgi, F.; Warren, C.; Pagani, M.; Schouten, S.; Willmott, V.; Levy, R.; DeConto , R.M.; Powell, R.D.


    The influence of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean on Late Pliocene global climate reconstructions has remained ambiguous due to a lack of well-dated Antarctic-proximal, paleoenvironmental records. Here we present ice sheet, sea-surface temperature, and sea ice reconstructions from the ANDRILL

  17. A new fossil cichlid from the Middle Miocene in the East African Rift Valley (Tugen Hills, Central Kenya: First record of a putative Ectodini

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melanie Altner


    Full Text Available Identification of fossil cichlids is difficult, because the currently used diagnostic morphological characters for living cichlids are mostly soft tissue based and such characters are hardly preserved in fossils. During our recent fieldwork in the Central Kenya Rift (E-Africa, we discovered several exceptionally well-preserved fossil cichlids, which can be assigned to different lineages among the African Pseudocrenilabrinae. Here we present one of those new specimens. Its most conspicuous character is a lateral line divided into three segments. This specimen was found in the lacustrine sediments of the Middle Miocene site Waril, Tugen Hills, Kenya. The site represents the deposits of an ancient freshwater lake ca. 9-10 million years ago. Previous work on fossil leaves from the same site allow for the reconstruction of open vegetation surrounding the lake and pronounced dry seasons. Among the main further characteristics of the new fossil cichlid is a lachrimal with six lateral line canals, big cycloid scales and a low number of dorsal fin spines (XIII. The latter two characters are traceable in several members of tribes within the Pseudocrenilabrinae. However, a lachrimal with six lateral line canals is exclusively found in certain tribes of the EAR (East African Radiation within the Pseudocrenilabrinae. Moreover, the unique lateral line pattern is solely present in two genera of the EAR tribe Ectodini. However, the fossil shows cycloid scales, while modern Ectodini have ctenoid scales. Taken all evidence together, this fossil may perhaps represent an ancient lineage related to the Ectodini. Up to date, there is no definite fossil record of the members of the EAR. Our fossil may represent the first reliable calibration point for this group, which would be consistent with the previously reconstructed diversification time of the H-lineage (EAR tribes, except Boulengerochromini, Bathybatini, Trematocarini and Lamprologini and the Lamprologini ca

  18. Radiocarbon Records of Fossil Fuel Emissions From Urban Trees in the Greater Salt Lake Valley From Mid-Century to Present. (United States)

    Chritz, K.; Buchert, M.; Walker, J. C.; Mendoza, D.; Pataki, D. E.; Xu, X.; Lin, J. C.


    Generating long term records of fossil fuel emissions of urban environments is complicated by the fact that direct observations of emissions and urban atmospheric CO2 concentrations were only collected in the recent past. Radiocarbon (14C) in tree rings from urban trees can provide archives of fossil fuel emissions that may track population growth over time, as higher population density is typically correlated with increased vehicular traffic and associated CO2 emissions, which are radiocarbon dead. We present radiocarbon measurements (n=125) from five roadside green ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) located in three cities of northern Utah - Salt Lake City (urban, 2016 population: 193,744), Logan City (agricultural, 2016 population: 49,110) and Heber (rural, 2016 population: 14,969). Urban trees were cored in four cardinal directions and ring widths were measured and counted to establish a chronology. One ring from every third year in a single core from each tree was removed and holocellulose was extracted from bulk wood of individual rings for 14C analysis. Fraction CO2 from fossil fuel burning (CO2-ff) was calculated using a simple mass-balance calculation from measured 14C values and remote background atmospheric 14CO2 values for NH Zone 2. The data from all three cities indicate a general trend of increasing CO2-ff uptake by the trees from 1980s to present, as expected with increased population growth and vehicular traffic. However, records in all three cities show unique elevated CO2-ff prior to the 1980s, assuming similar climate patterns through time, diverging from historic population size. We employed atmospheric simulations from the STILT (Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport) models for each of these trees to create footprints to determine source areas for CO2. These footprints reveal that atmospheric sampling areas can be large for certain trees, and other sources of 14C dead carbon, such as coal and natural gas from industrial emissions

  19. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber. (United States)

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R


    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Antarctic station life: The first 15 years of mixed expeditions to the Antarctic (United States)

    Sarris, Aspa


    This study examined the experiences of women who lived and worked on remote and isolated Antarctic stations for up to 15 months at a time. The study employed purposeful sampling and a longitudinal - processual approach to study women's experiences over the first 15 years of mixed gender Antarctic expeditions. The retrospective analysis was based on a semi-structured interview administered to 14 women upon their return to Australia. The results showed that women referred to the natural physical Antarctic environment as one of the best aspects of their experience and the reason they would recommend the Antarctic to their friends as a good place to work. In describing the worst aspect of their experience, women referred to aspects of Antarctic station life, including: (i) the male dominated nature of station culture; (ii) the impact of interpersonal conflict, including gender based conflict and friction between scientists and trades workers; and (iii) the lack of anonymity associated with living and working with the same group of individuals, mainly men, for up to 12 months or more. The results are discussed within the context of the evolution of Antarctic station culture and recommendations are made in terms of the demography of expeditions, expeditioner selection and recruitment and the ongoing monitoring of Antarctic station culture. The study presents a framework that can be applied to groups and teams living and working in analogous isolated, confined and extreme work environments, including outer space missions.

  1. Paleovegetation changes recorded by n-alkyl lipids bound in macromolecules of plant fossils and kerogens from the Cretaceous sediments in Japan (United States)

    Miyata, Y.; Sawada, K.; Nakamura, H.; Takashima, R.; Takahashi, M.


    Resistant macromolecules composing living plant tissues tend to be preserved through degradation and diagenesis, hence constituate major parts of sedimentary plant-derived organic matter (kerogen), and their monomer compositions vary widely among different plant taxa, organs and growth stages. Thus, analysis of such macromolecule may serve as new technique for paleobotanical evaluation distinctive from classical paleobotnical studies depends on morphological preservation of fossils. In the present study, we analyzed plant fossils and kerogens in sediments from the Cretaceous strata in Japan to examine chemotaxonomic characteristics of fossil macromolecules and to reconstruct paleovegetation change by kerogen analysis. The kerogens were separated from the powdered sediments of Cretaceous Yezo Group, Hokkaido, Japan. All kerogens have been confirmed to be mostly originated from land plant tissues by microscopic observation. Mummified angiosperm and gymnosperm fossil leaves were separated from carbonaceous sandstone of the Cretaceous Ashizawa Formation, Futaba Group. The kerogens and plant fossils were extracted with methanol and dichloromethane, and were subsequently refluxed under 110°C to remove free compounds completely. The residues are hydrolyzed by KOH/methanol under 110°C. These released compounds are analyzed by GC-MS. As main hydrolyzed products (ester-bound molecular units) from all kerogens, C10-C28 n-alkanoic acids and C10-C30 n-alkanols were detected. Recent studies on the hydrolysis products of plant tissues suggested the long chain (>C20) n-alkanols were predominantly abundant in deciduous broadleaved angiosperms. Correspondingly, the stratigraphic variation of the ratios of long chain (>C20) n-alkanols to fatty acids was concordant with the variation of angiosperm/gymnosperm ratios recorded by land plant-derived terpenoid biomarkers. In addition, we found that the long chain n-alkanols/fatty acids ratio in the angiosperm fossil leaf was

  2. The oldest Mahonia (Berberidaceae) fossil from East Asia and its biogeographic implications. (United States)

    Huang, Jian; Su, Tao; Lebereton-Anberrée, Julie; Zhang, Shi-Tao; Zhou, Zhe-Kun


    Interpretation of the biogeography of the genus Mahonia (Berberidaceae) is limited by the lack of fossil records in East Asia. Compressed fossil foliage, described here as Mahonia mioasiatica sp. nov., were collected from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan, Yunnan, southwest China. These specimens represent the oldest reliable fossil record of Mahonia in East Asia. This new fossil species shows a general similarity to Group Orientales and is most similar to the extant eastern Asian Mahonia conferta. Considering other fossil evidence of Mahonia, we propose a migration route of this genus to Asia over the North Atlantic Land Bridge rather than the Bering Land Bridge. Our results also suggest that North America, Europe and East Asia have been successive centers of diversity for the genus, as a consequence of diversification in Group Orientales potentially related to historical climate change.

  3. IODP Expedition 318: From Greenhouse to Icehouse at the Wilkes Land Antarctic Margin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Klaus


    Full Text Available Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP Expedition 318, Wilkes Land Glacial History, drilled a transect of sites across the Wilkes Land margin of Antarctica to provide a long-term record of the sedimentary archives of Cenozoic Antarctic glaciation and its intimate relationships with global climatic and oceanographic change. The Wilkes Land drilling program was undertaken to constrain the age, nature, and paleoenvironment of the previously only seismicallyinferred glacial sequences. The expedition (January–March 2010 recovered ~2000 meters of high-quality middle Eocene–Holocene sediments from water depths between 400 m and 4000 m at four sites on the Wilkes Land rise (U1355, U1356, U1359, and U1361 and three sites on the Wilkes Land shelf (U1357, U1358, and U1360. These records span ~53 million years of Antarctic history, and the various seismic units (WL-S4–WL-S9 have been successfully dated. The cores reveal the history of the Wilkes Land Antarctic margin from an ice-free “greenhouse” Antarctica, to the first cooling, to the onset and erosional consequences of the first glaciation and the subsequentdynamics of the waxing and waning ice sheets, all the way to thick, unprecedented “tree ring style” records with seasonal resolution of the last deglaciation that began ~10,000 y ago. The cores also reveal details of the tectonic history of the Australo-Antarctic Gulf from 53 Ma, portraying the onset of the second phase of rifting between Australia and Antarctica, to ever-subsiding margins and deepening,to the present continental and ever-widening ocean/continent configuration.

  4. New fossil seeds of Eurya (Theaceae from East Asia and their paleobiogeographic implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hai Zhu


    Full Text Available Eurya has an excellent fossil record in Europe, but it has only a few fossil occurrences in East Asia though this vast area houses the highest modern diversity of the genus. In this study, three-dimensionally preserved fossil seeds of Eurya stigmosa (Ludwig Mai from the late Pliocene of northwestern Yunnan, southwestern China are described. The seeds are compressed and flattened, slightly campylotropous, and nearly circular to slightly angular in shape. The surface of the seeds is sculptured by a distinctive foveolate pattern, consisting of funnel-shaped and finely pitted cells. Each seed valve contains a reniform or horseshoe-shaped embryo cavity, a characteristic condyle structure and an internal raphe. These fossil seeds represent one of the few fossil records of Eurya in East Asia. This new finding therefore largely extends the distributional ranges of Eurya during Neogene. Fossil records summarized here show that Eurya persisted in Europe until the early Pleistocene, but disappeared thereafter. The genus might have first appeared in East Asia no later than the late Oligocene, and dispersed widely in regions such as Japan, Nepal, and southwestern China.

  5. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics. (United States)

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J; Meachen, Julie; O'Keefe, F Robin


    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change.

  6. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents. (United States)

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T R; McDonough, Molly M; Jacobs, Louis L; Flynn, Lawrence J


    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating.

  7. Dating Antarctic ice sheet collapse: Proposing a molecular genetic approach (United States)

    Strugnell, Jan M.; Pedro, Joel B.; Wilson, Nerida G.


    Sea levels at the end of this century are projected to be 0.26-0.98 m higher than today. The upper end of this range, and even higher estimates, cannot be ruled out because of major uncertainties in the dynamic response of polar ice sheets to a warming climate. Here, we propose an ecological genetics approach that can provide insight into the past stability and configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). We propose independent testing of the hypothesis that a trans-Antarctic seaway occurred at the last interglacial. Examination of the genomic signatures of bottom-dwelling marine species using the latest methods can provide an independent window into the integrity of the WAIS more than 100,000 years ago. Periods of connectivity facilitated by trans-Antarctic seaways could be revealed by dating coalescent events recorded in DNA. These methods allow alternative scenarios to be tested against a fit to genomic data. Ideal candidate taxa for this work would need to possess a circumpolar distribution, a benthic habitat, and some level of genetic structure indicated by phylogeographical investigation. The purpose of this perspective piece is to set out an ecological genetics method to help resolve when the West Antarctic Ice Shelf last collapsed.

  8. Development and setting of a time-lapse video camera system for the Antarctic lake observation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sakae Kudoh


    Full Text Available A submersible video camera system, which aimed to record the growth image of aquatic vegetation in Antarctic lakes for one year, was manufactured. The system consisted of a video camera, a programmable controller unit, a lens-cleaning wiper with a submersible motor, LED lights, and a lithium ion battery unit. Changes of video camera (High Vision System and modification of the lens-cleaning wiper allowed higher sensitivity and clearer recording images compared to the previous submersible video without increasing the power consumption. This system was set on the lake floor in Lake Naga Ike (a tentative name in Skarvsnes in Soya Coast, during the summer activity of the 51th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. Interval record of underwater visual image for one year have been started by our diving operation.

  9. From Fossil Parasitoids to Vectors: Insects as Parasites and Hosts. (United States)

    Nagler, Christina; Haug, Joachim T


    Within Metazoa, it has been proposed that as many as two-thirds of all species are parasitic. This propensity towards parasitism is also reflected within insects, where several lineages independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle. Parasitic behaviour ranges from parasitic habits in the strict sense, but also includes parasitoid, phoretic or kleptoparasitic behaviour. Numerous insects are also the host for other parasitic insects or metazoans. Insects can also serve as vectors for numerous metazoan, protistan, bacterial and viral diseases. The fossil record can report this behaviour with direct (parasite associated with its host) or indirect evidence (insect with parasitic larva, isolated parasitic insect, pathological changes of host). The high abundance of parasitism in the fossil record of insects can reveal important aspects of parasitic lifestyles in various evolutionary lineages. For a comprehensive view on fossil parasitic insects, we discuss here different aspects, including phylogenetic systematics, functional morphology and a direct comparison of fossil and extant species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Fossilized Mammalian Erythrocytes Associated With a Tick Reveal Ancient Piroplasms. (United States)

    Poinar, George


    Ticks transmit a variety of pathogenic organisms to vertebrates, especially mammals. The fossil record of such associations is extremely rare. An engorged nymphal tick of the genus Ambylomma in Dominican amber was surrounded by erythrocytes from its mammalian host. Some of the exposed erythrocytes contained developmental stages of a hemoprotozoan resembling members of the Order Piroplasmida. The fossil piroplasm is described, its stages compared with those of extant piroplasms, and reasons provided why the mammalian host could have been a primate. The parasites were also found in the gut epithelial cells and body cavity of the fossil tick. Aside from providing the first fossil mammalian red blood cells and the first fossil intraerythrocytic hemoparasites, the present discovery shows that tick-piroplasm associations were already well established in the Tertiary. This discovery provides a timescale that can be used in future studies on the evolution of the Piroplasmida. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: Version of Record, first published online March 20, 2017 with fixed content and layout in compliance with Art. ICZN.

  11. Multichannel Seismic Reflection Data - SCAR - Antarctic Peninsula - 1985, SDLS CD-ROM vol 16 (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data are stacked multichannel marine seismic reflection data recorded during 1985 field season along the north side of the Antarctic-Peninsula by the British...

  12. Surface zooplankton communities in the Indian sector of the Antarctic Ocean in early summer 1999/2000 observed with a Continuous Plankton Recorder

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    Haruko Umeda


    Full Text Available The first deployment of a Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR on board the icebreaker Shirase was conducted during the 41st Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE in 1999/2000 austral summer in the Indian sector of the Antarctic Ocean. The CPR was towed horizontally at approximately 10m depth while the Shirase was steaming at about 14 knots across the Polar Front (PF. Mean total abundance of zooplankton for horizontal five nautical mile sample units was 168.1(SD : ±117.18 individuals with the maximum of 456 individuals. Zooplanktons were counted for 34 categories of species/taxa. Copepods occupied more than 90% of the total abundance in numbers. Oithona spp. was the most dominant group among copepods, representing 59% of the total zooplankton. Other numerically important categories were small-sized calanoids (copepodites and adults; 18.4%, and copepodites of Calanoides acutus and Calanus simillimus (8.2%. Latitudinal change of zooplankton abundance coincided with increasing/decreasing tends of temperature and salinity. Two different zooplankton assemblages were identified by cluster analysis and these assemblages seem to be closely related to different water characteristics, such as the of PF and areas of cold water masses. CPR is considered to be an ideal tool for long term monitoring of surface zooplankton communities.

  13. Decay of velvet worms (Onychophora), and bias in the fossil record of lobopodians. (United States)

    Murdock, Duncan Je; Gabbott, Sarah E; Mayer, Georg; Purnell, Mark A


    Fossil lobopodians, including animals proposed to have close affinity to modern onychophorans, are crucial to understanding the evolution of the panarthropod body plan and the phylum-level relationships between the ecdysozoan groups. Unfortunately, the key features of their anatomy are un-mineralized and subject to biases introduced during death, decay and preservation, yet the extent to which these fossils have been affected by the processes of post-mortem decay is entirely untested. Recent experimental work on chordates has highlighted a profound bias caused by decay, resulting in the erroneous interpretation of badly decayed specimens as primitive members of a clade (stemward slippage). The degree to which this bias affects organisms other than chordates is unknown. Here we use experimental decay of velvet worms (Onychophora) to examine the importance of decay bias in fossil lobopodians. Although we find stemward slippage is not significant in the interpretation of non-mineralized lobopodian fossils, the affect of decay is far from unbiased. Quantitative analysis reveals significant changes in body proportions during decay, a spectrum of decay resistance across anatomical features, and correlated decay of topologically associated characters. These results have significant implications for the interpretation of fossil lobopodian remains, demonstrating that features such as body outline and relative proportions are unreliable for taxonomy or phylogenetic reconstruction, unless decay is taken into account. Similarly, the non-independent loss of characters, due to juxtaposition in the body, during decay has the potential to bias phylogenetic analyses of non-biomineralized fossils. Our results are difficult to reconcile with interpretations of highly decay-prone tissues and structures, such as neural tissue, and complex musculature, in recently described Cambrian lobopodians. More broadly, we hypothesize that stemward slippage is unlikely to be a significant factor

  14. From Fossils to Astrobiology Records of Life on Earth and Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures

    CERN Document Server

    Seckbach, Joseph


    From Fossils to Astrobiology reviews developments in paleontology and geobiology that relate to the rapidly-developing field of Astrobiology, the study of life in the Universe. Many traditional areas of scientific study, including astronomy, chemistry and planetary science, contribute to Astrobiology, but the study of the record of life on planet Earth is critical in guiding investigations in the rest of the cosmos. In this varied book, expert scientists from 15 countries present peer-reviewed, stimulating reviews of paleontological and astrobiological studies. The overviews of established and emerging techniques for studying modern and ancient microorganisms on Earth and beyond, will be valuable guides to evaluating biosignatures which could be found in the extraterrestrial surface or subsurface within the Solar System and beyond. This volume also provides discussion on the controversial reports of "nanobacteria" in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. It is a unique volume among Astrobiology monographs in focusi...

  15. Pakistan and Antarctic research - an overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rizvi, S.H.


    The paper describes the significance of Antarctica and the necessity of conducting scientific research for the understanding of the global environment and through various environmental processes operative in Antarctica. The paper presents a review of the Pakistan's activities and research interests in Antarctica focussing on the salient features of the Pakistan's Antarctic Research Programme and objectives. It summarises the significance of Antarctica, Antarctic Research and the interests of the world in Antarctica and international co-operation for Antarctic Research. The paper also highlights the philosophy of Antarctic Science and provides some guidelines for the development of Antarctic Research programmes for Pakistan and for the newcomers in Antarctica particularly for the developing countries. (author)

  16. Variations of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) in the Kerguelen Sector during the Last Deglaciation : sedimentological and geochemical evidences (United States)

    Bout-Roumazeilles, V.; Beny, F.; Mazaud, A.; Michel, E.; Crosta, X.; Davies, G. R.; Bory, A. J. M.


    High-resolution sedimentological and geochemical records were obtained from two sediment cores recovered by the French R/V Marion Dufresne during the INDIEN-SUD-ACC cruises near the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands (49°S). This area is ideal to record past oceanic and atmospheric changes in the Southern Ocean because they are currently located in the northern branch of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and under the direct influence of Southern Hemisphere Westerly wind belt. This study focuses on the last termination, with specific emphasis on the impact of severe climatic events (Heinrich Stadial 1, Antarctic Cold Reversal, Younger Dryas) onto the ocean-atmospheric exchange. Results indicates that most of the sediment is derived from the Kerguelen Plateau, characterized by high smectite content. Periodically, a minor contribution of Antarctica is noticeable. In particular, illite variations suggest fast and short northward incursions of Antarctic Bottom Water, probably formed in the Prydz Bay during the last glaciation. Grainsize repartition combined to magnetic parameters show a southward migration of the ACC and the fronts associated from the beginning of the deglaciation, which is consistent with Southern Hemisphere climate variations. On the opposite, it highlights an asynchronous decrease of the ACC strength, with a large drop during the Antarctic Cold Reversal when atmospheric CO2 increase was slowed down. Thus, at least in the studied area, the ACC strength and the Antarctic Climate were not synchronous during the last deglaciation.

  17. Antarctic Circumpolar Current Dynamics and Their Relation to Antarctic Ice Sheet and Perennial Sea-Ice Variability in the Central Drake Passage During the Last Climate Cycle (United States)

    Kuhn, G.; Wu, S.; Hass, H. C.; Klages, J. P.; Zheng, X.; Arz, H. W.; Esper, O.; Hillenbrand, C. D.; Lange, C.; Lamy, F.; Lohmann, G.; Müller, J.; McCave, I. N. N.; Nürnberg, D.; Roberts, J.; Tiedemann, R.; Timmermann, A.; Titschack, J.; Zhang, X.


    The evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last climate cycle and the interrelation to global atmospheric and ocean circulation remains controversial and plays an important role for our understanding of ice sheet response to modern global warming. The timing and sequence of deglacial warming is relevant for understanding the variability and sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to climatic changes, and the continuing rise of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is a pivotal component of the global water budget. Freshwater fluxes from the ice sheet may affect the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which is strongly impacted by the westerly wind belt in the Southern Hemisphere (SHWW) and constricted to its narrowest extent in the Drake Passage. The flow of ACC water masses through Drake Passage is, therefore, crucial for advancing our understanding of the Southern Ocean's role in global meridional overturning circulation and global climate change. In order to address orbital and millennial-scale variability of the Antarctic ice sheet and the ACC, we applied a multi-proxy approach on a sediment core from the central Drake Passage including grain size, iceberg-rafted debris, mineral dust, bulk chemical and mineralogical composition, and physical properties. In combination with already published and new sediment records from the Drake Passage and Scotia Sea, as well as high-resolution data from Antarctic ice cores (WDC, EDML), we now have evidence that during glacial times a more northerly extent of the perennial sea-ice zone decreased ACC current velocities in the central Drake Passage. During deglaciation the SHWW shifted southwards due to a decreasing temperature gradient between subtropical and polar latitudes caused by sea ice and ice sheet decline. This in turn caused Southern Hemisphere warming, a more vigorous ACC, stronger Southern Ocean ventilation, and warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) upwelling on Antarctic shelves

  18. Multichannel Seismic Reflection Data - SCAR - Antarctic Peninsula 1987-88, SDLS CD-ROM vol 24 (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data are stacked multichannel marine seismic reflection data recorded during 1987-88 in the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, by the Japan National Oil...

  19. Multichannel Seismic Reflection Data - SCAR - Antarctic Peninsula - 1988-1989, SDLS CD-ROM vol 25 (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data are stacked multichannel marine seismic reflection data recorded during 1988-89 in the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, by the Japan National Oil...

  20. A 50-year record of platinum, iridium, and rhodium in Antarctic snow: volcanic and anthropogenic sources. (United States)

    Soyol-Erdene, Tseren-Ochir; Huh, Youngsook; Hong, Sungmin; Hur, Soon Do


    Antarctic snow preserves an atmospheric archive that enables the study of global atmospheric changes and anthropogenic disturbances from the past. We report atmospheric deposition rates of platinum group elements (PGEs) in Antarctica during the last ∼ 50 years based on determinations of Pt, Ir, and Rh in snow samples collected from Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica to evaluate changes in the global atmospheric budget of these noble metals. The 50-year average PGE concentrations in Antarctic snow were 17 fg g(-1) (4.7-76 fg g(-1)) for Pt, 0.12 fg g(-1) (pollution for Pt and probably for Rh since the 1980s, which may be attributed to the increasing emissions of these metals from anthropogenic sources such as automobile catalysts and metal production processes.

  1. Glacier History of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula Region Since the End of the Last Ice Age and Implications for Southern Hemisphere Westerly-Climate Changes (United States)

    Kaplan, M. R.; Schaefer, J. M.; Strelin, J. A.; Peltier, C.; Southon, J. R.; Lepper, K. E.; Winckler, G.


    For the area around James Ross Island, we present new cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages on glacial deposits, and 14C ages on associated fossil materials. These data allow us to reconstruct in detail when and how the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet retreated around the Island as the last Ice Age ended, and afterward when local land-based glaciers fluctuated. Similar to other studies, we found widespread deglaciation during the earliest Holocene, with fjords and bays becoming ice free between about 11,000 and 8,000 years ago. After 7,000 years ago, neoglacial type advances initiated. Then, both expansions and ice free periods occurred from the middle to late Holocene. We compare the new glacier record to those in southern Patagonia, which is on the other side of the Drake Passage, and published Southern Ocean marine records, in order to infer past middle to high latitude changes in the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies. Widespread warmth in the earliest Holocene, to the north and south of the Drake Passage, led to small glacier systems in Patagonia and wide-ranging glacier recession around the northern Antarctic Peninsula. We infer that this early Holocene period of overall glacier recession - from Patagonia to the northern Peninsula - was caused by a persistent far-southerly setting of the westerlies and accompanying warm climates. Subsequently, during the middle Holocene renewed glacier expansions occurred on both sides of the Drake Passage, which reflects that the Westerlies and associated colder climate systems were generally more equatorward. From the middle to late Holocene, glacier expansions and ice free periods (and likely related ice shelf behavior) document how the Westerlies and associated higher-latitude climate systems varied.

  2. Fossil gaps inferred from phylogenies alter the apparent nature of diversification in dragonflies and their relatives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholson David B


    Full Text Available Abstract Background The fossil record has suggested that clade growth may differ in marine and terrestrial taxa, supporting equilibrial models in the former and expansionist models in the latter. However, incomplete sampling may bias findings based on fossil data alone. To attempt to correct for such bias, we assemble phylogenetic supertrees on one of the oldest clades of insects, the Odonatoidea (dragonflies, damselflies and their extinct relatives, using MRP and MRC. We use the trees to determine when, and in what clades, changes in taxonomic richness have occurred. We then test whether equilibrial or expansionist models are supported by fossil data alone, and whether findings differ when phylogenetic information is used to infer gaps in the fossil record. Results There is broad agreement in family-level relationships between both supertrees, though with some uncertainty along the backbone of the tree regarding dragonflies (Anisoptera. "Anisozygoptera" are shown to be paraphyletic when fossil information is taken into account. In both trees, decreases in net diversification are associated with species-poor extant families (Neopetaliidae, Hemiphlebiidae, and an upshift is associated with Calopterygidae + Polythoridae. When ghost ranges are inferred from the fossil record, many families are shown to have much earlier origination dates. In a phylogenetic context, the number of family-level lineages is shown to be up to twice as high as the fossil record alone suggests through the Cretaceous and Cenozoic, and a logistic increase in richness is detected in contrast to an exponential increase indicated by fossils alone. Conclusions Our analysis supports the notion that taxa, which appear to have diversified exponentially using fossil data, may in fact have diversified more logistically. This in turn suggests that one of the major apparent differences between the marine and terrestrial fossil record may simply be an artifact of incomplete sampling

  3. Sympagic occurrence of Eusirid and Lysianassoid amphipods under Antarctic pack ice

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Krapp, Rupert H.; Berge, Jorgen; Flores, Hauke; Gulliksen, Bjorn; Werner, Iris


    During three Antarctic expeditions (2004, ANT XXI-4 and XXII-2; 2006, ANT XXIII-6) with the German research icebreaker R/V Polarstern, six different amphipod species were recorded under the pack ice of the Weddell Sea and the Lazarev Sea. These cruises covered Austral autumn (April), summer

  4. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. A. Queiroz

    Full Text Available Abstract The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855 (on two skeletons, and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies.

  5. First fossil record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae from the Late Oligocene sediments of Assam, India and comments on its phytogeography.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gaurav Srivastava

    Full Text Available A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°-15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa.

  6. Fossil Hunting: Intracluster Stars in Virgo

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Murphy, Eric; Bridge, Carrie; Desai, Vandana; Kenney, Jeffrey; Krick, Jessica; Surace, Jason; van Gorkom, Jacqueline


    In dense clusters, galaxy interactions and mergers play a significant role in galaxy evolution. During these interactions, tidal forces can lead to the ejection of stars from their parent galaxies; these stars are a fossil record of environmentally-driven galaxy evolution. We propose to map the

  7. Fossil isotope records of seasonal climate and ecology: Straight from the horse's mouth (United States)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Cerling, T. E.


    Isotope analysis of a bulk fossil tooth gives a “snapshot” impression of paleoclimatic conditions—a single point in time. However, hypsodont teeth grow over a period of a year or more, so that stable carbon and oxygen isotope variations along their length are a “tape recorder” of short-term seasonal variations from the distant past. We have used a new in situ micro-laser sampling method to determine submillimeter carbon and oxygen isotope variations in the enamel of individual fossil horse teeth to assess ancient annual meteoric water variations and feeding patterns. The δ18O values from a 6.8 Ma fossil horse tooth (Astrohippus ansae) from Texas vary cyclically along the 6 cm length of the tooth with a smoothed amplitude of >4‰, similar to the monthly averaged amplitude measured in modern meteoric waters from the region. The seasonal δ18O values are ˜3‰ to 4‰ higher than those calculated from modern meteoric water data, suggesting either a higher local meteoric water value in the Miocene of Texas, or that the animal received a high proportion of its dietary water from plants or highly evaporated water. A Holocene horse tooth from the shores of Glacial Lake Agassiz, North Dakota (Equus sp.), also has isotopic variations with the same 35 mm periodicity, but a smoothed amplitude of only 2‰. This horse most likely had a buffered drinking supply. The calculated δ18O of the water in equilibrium with this tooth is the same as the modern measured annual average. The variations within a single tooth can be as large as those generally observed in entire stratigraphic sections of fossil teeth analyzed by bulk methods. The new method provides an important technique for evaluating fossil diagenesis; conventional bulk analyses of teeth fragments may not be representative of the whole tooth, thus explaining analytical scatter that has been previously attributed to diagenesis.

  8. Extreme late chronotypes and social jetlag challenged by Antarctic conditions in a population of university students from Uruguay. (United States)

    Tassino, Bettina; Horta, Stefany; Santana, Noelia; Levandovski, Rosa; Silva, Ana


    In humans, a person's chronotype depends on environmental cues and on individual characteristics, with late chronotypes prevailing in youth. Social jetlag (SJL), the misalignment between an individual׳s biological clock and social time, is higher in late chronotypes. Strong SJL is expected in Uruguayan university students with morning class schedules and very late entertainment activities. Sleep disorders have been reported in Antarctic inhabitants, that might be a response to the extreme environment or to the strictness of Antarctic life. We evaluated, for the first time in Uruguay, the chronotypes and SJL of 17 undergraduate students of the First Uruguayan Summer School on Antarctic Research, using Munich Chronotype Questionnaire (MCTQ) and sleep logs (SL) recorded during 3 phases: pre-Antarctic, Antarctic, and post-Antarctic. The midsleep point of free days corrected for sleep debt on work days (MSFsc,) was used as proxy of individuals' chronotype, whose values (around 6 a.m.) are the latest ever reported. We found a SJL of around 2 h in average, which correlated positively with MSFsc, confirming that late chronotypes generate a higher sleep debt during weekdays. Midsleep point and sleep duration significantly decreased between pre-Antarctic and Antarctic phases, and sleep duration rebounded to significant higher values in the post-Antarctic phase. Waking time, but not sleep onset time, significantly varied among phases. This evidence suggests that sleep schedules more likely depended on the social agenda than on the environmental light-dark shifts. High motivation of students towards Antarctic activities likely induced a subjective perception of welfare non-dependent on sleep duration.

  9. Time Matters: Increasing the Efficiency of Antarctic Marine Geology and Paleoceanography Expeditions by Providing Improved Sediment Chronology (United States)

    Rosenheim, B. E.; Domack, E. W.; Shevenell, A.; Subt, C.


    To maximize the areal extent of Antarctic sedimentary records of past deglaciation, it is necessary to ensure more sediment cores can be adequately dated. Antarctic margin sediment is challenging to date due to the lack of preserved calcium carbonate, but the records contained in these sediments readily recount the history of deglaciation. Recent and continued development of new chronological methods for Antarctic margin sediments have allowed better use of the efforts of marine geological coring expeditions to the region. The development of Ramped PyrOx radiocarbon dating has allowed us to 1. improve dates in deglacial sediments where no carbonate is preserved, 2. date glacial sediments lying below the tills marking the last glaciation, and 3. compile core chronologies into a regional framework of ice shelf collapse that has eluded many marine geology campaigns over the last few decades. These advances in a fundamental aspect of geological sciences will put the U.S. and international community on a better foothold to interpret the past as it relates to our warming future. We will present these advances in chronology as well as the science that is enabled by them, while arguing that the future of Antarctic marine science also depends on investments in shore-based technologies that come at a relatively low cost.

  10. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin. (United States)

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique


    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. A recent case of Antarctic bioprospecting from Japan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akiho Shibata


    Full Text Available Antarctic bioprospecting, namely the search for valuable genetic or chemical compounds in Antarctic nature, has been the subject of intense discussion within Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. In this discussion, based on the so-called "end-users view point," utilizing the patent database to see how much Antarctic biological material has been used in patents, Antarctic bioprospecting has been depicted as a lucrative commercial activity operated by big multinational companies. This paper, instead, proposes an "access view point" for Antarctic bioprospecting, by examining a recent Japanese case in which scientists participating in the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition in 2007 collected some sediment from Antarctic lakes near Syowa Station, isolated and cultured a particular fungus, and found the first evidence of the presence of antifreezing activity in oomycetes. In 2009, the scientists' affiliate institutions, including the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, applied for a patent on Antarctomyces psychrotrophicus Syw-1 and the antifreeze protein obtained from it. A detailed examination of this case demonstrates that the dichotomy of Antarctic bioprospecting into "commercial" and "scientific" does not reflect the reality of bioprospecting activities and, therefore, does not provide an appropriate ground for legal and policy discussion on Antarctic bioprospecting.

  12. Links between Patagonian Ice Sheet fluctuations and Antarctic dust variability during the last glacial period (MIS 4-2) (United States)

    Kaiser, Jérôme; Lamy, Frank


    Antarctic and Greenland ice-core records reveal large fluctuations of dust input on both orbital and millennial time-scales with potential global climate implications. At least during glacial periods, the Antarctic dust fluctuations appear to be largely controlled by environmental changes in southern South America. We compare dust flux records from two Antarctic ice-cores to variations in the composition of the terrigenous supply at ODP Site 1233 located off southern Chile and known to record fluctuations in the extent of the northern part of the Patagonian ice-sheet (NPIS) during the last glacial period (Marine Isotope Stage, MIS, 4 to 2). Within age uncertainties, millennial-scale glacial advances (retreats) of the NPIS correlate to Antarctic dust maxima (minima). In turn, NPIS fluctuations were closely related to offshore sea surface temperature (SST) changes. This pattern suggests a causal link involving changes in temperature, in rock flour availability, in latitudinal extensions of the westerly winds and in foehn winds in the southern Pampas and Patagonia. We further suggest that the long-term trend of dust accumulation is partly linked to the sea-level related changes in the size if the Patagonian source area due to the particular morphology of the Argentine shelf. We suggest that sea-level drops at the beginning of MIS 4 and MIS 2 were important for long-term dust increases, while changes in the Patagonian dust source regions primarily control the early dust decrease during the MIS 4/3 transition and Termination 1.

  13. Stable isotope and sea-level data from New Guinea supports Antarctic ice-surge theory of ice ages

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Aharon, P.; Chappell, J.; Compston, W.


    Two theories of glaciation which have received considerable attention, the Milankovitch orbital theory and the Antarctic surge hypothesis, are discussed. Oxygen-18 and sea-level data obtained from the coral reefs of Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea which contain a particularly good record of the interval 140-105 kyr, are presented. These seem to require an Antarctic surge at 120 kyr and also have a bearing on the role of the Milankovitch factor. (UK)

  14. Stable isotope and sea-level data from New Guinea supports Antarctic ice-surge theory of ice ages

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aharon, P; Chappell, J; Compston, W [Australian National Univ., Canberra. Inst. of Advanced Studies


    Two theories of glaciation which have received considerable attention, the Milankovitch orbital theory and the Antarctic surge hypothesis, are discussed. Oxygen-18 and sea-level data obtained from the coral reefs of Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea which contain a particularly good record of the interval 140-105 kyr, are presented. These seem to require an Antarctic surge at 120 kyr and also have a bearing on the role of the Milankovitch factor.

  15. Millennial-scale instability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last glaciation.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kanfoush, S.L.; Hodell, D.A.; Charles, C.D.; Guilderson, T.P.; Mortyn, P.G.


    Records of ice-rafted detritus (IRD) concentration in deep-sea cores from the southeast Atlantic Ocean reveal millennial-scale pulses of IRD delivery between 20,000 and 74,000 years ago. Prominent IRD layers correlate across the Polar Frontal Zone, suggesting episodes of Antarctic Ice Sheet

  16. Contrasting patterns in lichen diversity in the continental and maritime Antarctic (United States)

    Singh, Shiv Mohan; Olech, Maria; Cannone, Nicoletta; Convey, Peter


    Systematic surveys of the lichen floras of Schirmacher Oasis (Queen Maud Land, continental Antarctic), Victoria Land (Ross Sector, continental Antarctic) and Admiralty Bay (South Shetland Islands, maritime Antarctic) were compared to help infer the major factors influencing patterns of diversity and biogeography in the three areas. Biogeographic patterns were determined using a variety of multivariate statistical tools. A total of 54 lichen species were documented from Schirmacher Oasis (SO), 48 from Victoria Land (VL) and 244 from Admiralty Bay (AB). Of these, 21 species were common to all areas. Most lichens from the SO and VL areas were microlichens, the dominant genus being Buellia. In AB, in contrast, many macrolichens were also present and the dominant genus was Caloplaca. In SO and VL large areas lacked any visible lichen cover, even where the ground was snow-free in summer. Small-scale diversity patterns were present in AB, where the number of species and genera was greater close to the coast. Most species recorded were rare in the study areas in which they were present and endemic to Antarctica.

  17. Combined ice core and climate-model evidence for the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during Marine Isotope Stage 5e. (United States)

    Steig, Eric J.; Huybers, Kathleen; Singh, Hansi A.; Steiger, Nathan J.; Frierson, Dargan M. W.; Popp, Trevor; White, James W. C.


    It has been speculated that collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet explains the very high eustatic sea level rise during the last interglacial period, marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e, but the evidence remains equivocal. Changes in atmospheric circulation resulting from a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) would have significant regional impacts that should be detectable in ice core records. We conducted simulations using general circulation models (GCMs) at varying levels of complexity: a gray-radiation aquaplanet moist GCM (GRaM), the slab ocean version of GFDL-AM2 (also as an aquaplanet), and the fully-coupled version of NCAR's CESM with realistic topography. In all the experiments, decreased elevation from the removal of the WAIS leads to greater cyclonic circulation over the West Antarctic region. This creates increased advection of relatively warm marine air from the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas towards the South Pole, and increased cold-air advection from the East Antarctic plateau towards the Ross Sea and coastal Marie Byrd Land. The result is anomalous warming in some areas of the East Antarctic interior, and significant cooling in Marie Byrd Land. Comparison of ice core records shows good agreement with the model predictions. In particular, isotope-paleotemperature records from ice cores in East Antarctica warmed more between the previous glacial period (MIS 6) and MIS 5e than coastal Marie Byrd Land. These results add substantial support to other evidence for WAIS collapse during the last interglacial period.

  18. New methods reveal oldest known fossil epiphyllous moss: Bryiidites utahensis gen. et sp. nov. (Bryidae). (United States)

    Barclay, Richard S; McElwain, Jennifer C; Duckett, Jeffrey G; van Es, Maarten H; Mostaert, Anika S; Pressel, Silvia; Sageman, Bradley B


    Epiphyllous bryophytes are a highly characteristic feature of many humid tropical forest ecosystems. In contrast to the extensive fossil record for the leaves of their host plants, the record is virtually nonexistent for the epiphylls themselves, despite a fossil record for mosses that begins in the Middle Carboniferous Period, 330 million years ago. Epifluorescence optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy were employed to investigate an intimate association between a newly discovered epiphyllous moss and a Lauraceae plant host from the middle Cretaceous. We describe the oldest fossil specimen of an epiphyllous moss, Bryiidites utahensis gen. et sp. nov., identified from an individual specimen only 450 µm long, situated on an approximately one millimeter square fossil leaf fragment. The moss epiphyll is exquisitely preserved as germinating spores and short-celled protonemata with transverse and oblique cross-walls closely matching those of extant epiphyllous mosses on the surface of the plant-leaf hosts. The extension of the epiphyll record back to the middle Cretaceous provides fossil evidence for the appearance of epiphyllous mosses during the diversification of flowering plants, at least 95 million years ago. It also provides substantive evidence for a tropical maritime climate in central North America during the middle Cretaceous.

  19. Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Changes and Impacts (Invited) (United States)

    Nghiem, S. V.


    The extent of springtime Arctic perennial sea ice, important to preconditioning summer melt and to polar sunrise photochemistry, continues its precipitous reduction in the last decade marked by a record low in 2012, as the Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury Experiment (BROMEX) was conducted around Barrow, Alaska, to investigate impacts of sea ice reduction on photochemical processes, transport, and distribution in the polar environment. In spring 2013, there was further loss of perennial sea ice, as it was not observed in the ocean region adjacent to the Alaskan north coast, where there was a stretch of perennial sea ice in 2012 in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea. In contrast to the rapid and extensive loss of sea ice in the Arctic, Antarctic sea ice has a trend of a slight increase in the past three decades. Given the significant variability in time and in space together with uncertainties in satellite observations, the increasing trend of Antarctic sea ice may arguably be considered as having a low confidence level; however, there was no overall reduction of Antarctic sea ice extent anywhere close to the decreasing rate of Arctic sea ice. There exist publications presenting various factors driving changes in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. After a short review of these published factors, new observations and atmospheric, oceanic, hydrological, and geological mechanisms contributed to different behaviors of sea ice changes in the Arctic and Antarctic are presented. The contribution from of hydrologic factors may provide a linkage to and enhance thermal impacts from lower latitudes. While geological factors may affect the sensitivity of sea ice response to climate change, these factors can serve as the long-term memory in the system that should be exploited to improve future projections or predictions of sea ice changes. Furthermore, similarities and differences in chemical impacts of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice changes are discussed. Understanding sea ice changes and

  20. Implications of a fossil stickleback assemblage for Darwinian gradualism. (United States)

    Bell, M A


    Darwin postulated that a complete fossil record would contain numerous gradual transitions between ancestral and descendant species, but 150 years after publication of The Origin of Species, few such transitions have materialized. The fossil stickleback Gasterosteus doryssus and the deposit in which it occurs provide excellent conditions to detect such transitions. Abundant, well-preserved fossils occur in a stratigraphic setting with fine temporal resolution. The paleoecology of G. doryssus resembles the ecology of modern lakes that harbour the phenotypically similar three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. Gasterosteus aculeatus are primitively highly armoured, but G. doryssus comprised two contemporaneous biological species with relatively weak armour, including a near-shore, benthic feeder (benthic) and an offshore planktivore (limnetic). The benthic species expanded its range into the limnetic zone of the lake, where it apparently switched to planktivory and evolved reduced armour within c. 5000 years in response to directional selection. Although gradual evolution of mean phenotypes occurred, a single major gene caused much of evolutionary change of the pelvic skeleton. Thus, Darwin's expectation that transitions between species in the fossil record would be gradual was met at a fine time scale, but for pelvic structure, a well-studied trait, his expectation that gradual change would depend entirely on numerous, small, heritable differences among individuals was incorrect.

  1. Expanding Antarctic Sea Ice: Anthropogenic or Natural Variability? (United States)

    Bitz, C. M.


    Antarctic sea ice extent has increased over the last 36 years according to the satellite record. Concurrent with Antarctic sea-ice expansion has been broad cooling of the Southern Ocean sea-surface temperature. Not only are Southern Ocean sea ice and SST trends at odds with expectations from greenhouse gas-induced warming, the trend patterns are not reproduced in historical simulations with comprehensive global climate models. While a variety of different factors may have contributed to the observed trends in recent decades, we propose that it is atmospheric circulation changes - and the changes in ocean circulation they induce - that have emerged as the most likely cause of the observed Southern Ocean sea ice and SST trends. I will discuss deficiencies in models that could explain their incorrect response. In addition, I will present results from a series of experiments where the Antarctic sea ice and ocean are forced by atmospheric perturbations imposed within a coupled climate model. Figure caption: Linear trends of annual-mean SST (left) and annual-mean sea-ice concentration (right) over 1980-2014. SST is from NOAA's Optimum Interpolation SST dataset (version 2; Reynolds et al. 2002). Sea-ice concentration is from passive microwave observations using the NASA Team algorithm. Only the annual means are shown here for brevity and because the signal to noise is greater than in the seasonal means. Figure from Armour and Bitz (2015).

  2. Fossil birds in the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia: composition, development and scientific value

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boev, Z.N.


    A review of the fossil and subfossil avian record kept in Bulgaria is presented. The only collection of fossil birds in Bulgaria was established in the 1980s. 99.6% originates from 98 localities throughout Bulgaria. Foreign fossils originate from Azerbaijan, Greece, Hungary, Namibia and New Zealand.

  3. Utilizing the Antarctic Master Directory to find orphan datasets (United States)

    Bonczkowski, J.; Carbotte, S. M.; Arko, R. A.; Grebas, S. K.


    While most Antarctic data are housed at an established disciplinary-specific data repository, there are data types for which no suitable repository exists. In some cases, these "orphan" data, without an appropriate national archive, are served from local servers by the principal investigators who produced the data. There are many pitfalls with data served privately, including the frequent lack of adequate documentation to ensure the data can be understood by others for re-use and the impermanence of personal web sites. For example, if an investigator leaves an institution and the data moves, the link published is no longer accessible. To ensure continued availability of data, submission to long-term national data repositories is needed. As stated in the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs (NSF/OPP) Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data, investigators are obligated to submit their data for curation and long-term preservation; this includes the registration of a dataset description into the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD), The AMD is a Web-based, searchable directory of thousands of dataset descriptions, known as DIF records, submitted by scientists from over 20 countries. It serves as a node of the International Directory Network/Global Change Master Directory (IDN/GCMD). The US Antarctic Program Data Coordination Center (USAP-DCC),, funded through NSF/OPP, was established in 2007 to help streamline the process of data submission and DIF record creation. When data does not quite fit within any existing disciplinary repository, it can be registered within the USAP-DCC as the fallback data repository. Within the scope of the USAP-DCC we undertook the challenge of discovering and "rescuing" orphan datasets currently registered within the AMD. In order to find which DIF records led to data served privately, all records relating to US data within the AMD were parsed. After

  4. Estimating Age-Dependent Extinction: Contrasting Evidence from Fossils and Phylogenies. (United States)

    Hagen, Oskar; Andermann, Tobias; Quental, Tiago B; Antonelli, Alexandre; Silvestro, Daniele


    The estimation of diversification rates is one of the most vividly debated topics in modern systematics, with considerable controversy surrounding the power of phylogenetic and fossil-based approaches in estimating extinction. Van Valen's seminal work from 1973 proposed the "Law of constant extinction," which states that the probability of extinction of taxa is not dependent on their age. This assumption of age-independent extinction has prevailed for decades with its assessment based on survivorship curves, which, however, do not directly account for the incompleteness of the fossil record, and have rarely been applied at the species level. Here, we present a Bayesian framework to estimate extinction rates from the fossil record accounting for age-dependent extinction (ADE). Our approach, unlike previous implementations, explicitly models unobserved species and accounts for the effects of fossil preservation on the observed longevity of sampled lineages. We assess the performance and robustness of our method through extensive simulations and apply it to a fossil data set of terrestrial Carnivora spanning the past 40 myr. We find strong evidence of ADE, as we detect the extinction rate to be highest in young species and declining with increasing species age. For comparison, we apply a recently developed analogous ADE model to a dated phylogeny of extant Carnivora. Although the phylogeny-based analysis also infers ADE, it indicates that the extinction rate, instead, increases with increasing taxon age. The estimated mean species longevity also differs substantially, with the fossil-based analyses estimating 2.0 myr, in contrast to 9.8 myr derived from the phylogeny-based inference. Scrutinizing these discrepancies, we find that both fossil and phylogeny-based ADE models are prone to high error rates when speciation and extinction rates increase or decrease through time. However, analyses of simulated and empirical data show that fossil-based inferences are more

  5. Peatland Ecosystem Processes in the Maritime Antarctic During Warm Climates. (United States)

    Loisel, Julie; Yu, Zicheng; Beilman, David W; Kaiser, Karl; Parnikoza, Ivan


    We discovered a 50-cm-thick peat deposit near Cape Rasmussen (65.2°S), in the maritime Antarctic. To our knowledge, while aerobic 'moss banks' have often been examined, waterlogged 'peatlands' have never been described in this region before. The waterlogged system is approximately 100 m 2 , with a shallow water table. Surface vegetation is dominated by Warnstorfia fontinaliopsis, a wet-adapted moss commonly found in the Antarctic Peninsula. Peat inception was dated at 2750 cal. BP and was followed by relatively rapid peat accumulation (~0.1 cm/year) until 2150 cal. BP. Our multi-proxy analysis then shows a 2000-year-long stratigraphic hiatus as well as the recent resurgence of peat accumulation, sometime after 1950 AD. The existence of a thriving peatland at 2700-2150 cal. BP implies regionally warm summer conditions extending beyond the mid-Holocene; this finding is corroborated by many regional records showing moss bank initiation and decreased sea ice extent during this time period. Recent peatland recovery at the study site (maritime Antarctic region may promote a more peatland-rich landscape in the future.

  6. Past Penguin Colony Linkages to Climate Change and Catastrophic Volcanism on the Northern Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Roberts, S. J.; Monien, P.; Foster, L. C.; Loftfield, J.; Schnetger, B.; Pearson, E. J.; Hocking, E. P.; Fretwell, P.; Ireland, L.; Ochyra, R.; Haworth, A.; Allen, C. S.; Brumsack, H. J.; Bentley, M.; Hodgson, D.


    Recent warming and reductions in sea-ice in some parts of Antarctica are thought to be having a negative impact on populations of `ice-dependent' penguin species (e.g., Emperor, Adélie) that feed at the sea-ice edge because populations of `ice-avoiding'/more `adaptable' species (e.g., Gentoo, Chinstrap) have remained stable or increased, and some Adélie colonies located in areas of sea-ice expansion have increased. This hypothesis is based on short observational records and limited subfossil evidence, but has not been tested over longer, mid-late Holocene, timescales on the Antarctic Peninsula. Between 1950-1997, the northern Antarctic Peninsula was one of the most rapidly warming regions in the Southern Hemisphere and, over the last 30 years, the largest breeding population of Gentoo penguins in Antarctica on Ardley Island, north-western Antarctic Peninsula, has increased. We tracked past changes in the Ardley Island penguin colony size by comparing detailed biogeochemical analysis of an 8,500-year Ardley Lake sediment profile with past records of penguin presence, climate and sea-ice extent across the Antarctic Peninsula and found that the colony also responded positively during some local-regionally warmer parts of the late Holocene. However, at least three large volcanic eruptions from nearby Deception Island had a devastating impact on the colony between 7000-2000 years ago, with colony recovery taking up to 800 years following the most disruptive period of volcanic activity c. 5500-5000 years ago.

  7. Environmental contamination in Antarctic ecosystems. (United States)

    Bargagli, R


    Although the remote continent of Antarctica is perceived as the symbol of the last great wilderness, the human presence in the Southern Ocean and the continent began in the early 1900s for hunting, fishing and exploration, and many invasive plant and animal species have been deliberately introduced in several sub-Antarctic islands. Over the last 50 years, the development of research and tourism have locally affected terrestrial and marine coastal ecosystems through fuel combustion (for transportation and energy production), accidental oil spills, waste incineration and sewage. Although natural "barriers" such as oceanic and atmospheric circulation protect Antarctica from lower latitude water and air masses, available data on concentrations of metals, pesticides and other persistent pollutants in air, snow, mosses, lichens and marine organisms show that most persistent contaminants in the Antarctic environment are transported from other continents in the Southern Hemisphere. At present, levels of most contaminants in Antarctic organisms are lower than those in related species from other remote regions, except for the natural accumulation of Cd and Hg in several marine organisms and especially in albatrosses and petrels. The concentrations of organic pollutants in the eggs of an opportunistic top predator such as the south polar skua are close to those that may cause adverse health effects. Population growth and industrial development in several countries of the Southern Hemisphere are changing the global pattern of persistent anthropogenic contaminants and new classes of chemicals have already been detected in the Antarctic environment. Although the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty provides strict guidelines for the protection of the Antarctic environment and establishes obligations for all human activity in the continent and the Southern Ocean, global warming, population growth and industrial development in countries of the Southern

  8. An extraordinary gobioid fish fossil from Southern France.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christoph Gierl

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The classification of gobioid fishes is still under discussion. Several lineages, including the Eleotridae and Butidae, remain difficult to characterize because synapomorphies are rare (Eleotridae or have not yet been determined (Butidae. Moreover, the fossil record of these groups is scarce. RESULTS: Exceptionally well-preserved fish fossils with otoliths in situ from uppermost Oligocene sediments (≈23-24 Mio. y. ago in Southern France provide the most in-depth description of a fossil gobioid to date. The species was initially described as Cottus aries Agassiz, then transferred to †Lepidocottus Sauvage, and subsequently assigned to Gobius. Based on a comparative analysis of meristic, osteological and otolith data, this species most likely is a member of the family Butidae. This discovery is important because it represents the first record of a fossil butid fish based on articulated skeletons from Europe. SIGNIFICANCE: The Butidae and Eleotridae are currently distributed in W-Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Australia, but they do not appear in Europe and also not in the Mediterranean Sea. The new results indicate that several species of the Butidae thrived in Europe during the Oligocene and Early Miocene. Similar to the recent Butidae and Eleotridae, these fishes were adapted to a wide range of salinities and thrived in freshwater, brackish and marginal marine habitats. The fossil Butidae disappeared from Europe and the Mediterranean and Paratethys areas during the Early Miocene, due probably to their lack of competitiveness compared to other Gobioidei that radiated during this period of time. In addition, this study documents the great value of otoliths for gobioid systematics.

  9. Distribution and abundance of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) along the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Siegel, Volker; Reiss, Christian S.; Dietrich, Kimberly S.; Haraldsson, Matilda; Rohardt, Gerhard


    Net-based data on the abundance, distribution, and demographic patterns of Antarctic krill are quantified from a contemporaneous two ship survey of the Antarctic Peninsula during austral summer 2011. Two survey areas were sampled focussed on Marguerite Bay in the south, and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in the north. Data from 177 stations showed that the highest concentrations of krill were found in the southern sampling area. Differences between areas were associated with a few large catches of one year old krill found in anomalously warm and productive waters in Marguerite Bay, and small krill catches in the less-productive, offshore waters in the north. Estimated krill density across the survey area was 3.4 krill m-2, and was low compared to the long-term average of 45 krill m-2 for the Elephant Island area. Overall recruitment between the two survey regions was similar, but per capita recruitment was about 60% lower than historical mean recruitment levels measured at Elephant Island since the late 1970s. Demographic patterns showed small krill concentrated near the coast, and large krill concentrated offshore on the shelf and slope all along the survey area. The offshore distribution of adult krill was delineated by the warm (˜1 °C), low salinity (33.8) water at 30 m, suggesting that most krill were present shoreward of the southern boundary of Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front. Distributions of larvae indicated that three hotspot areas were important for the production of krill: slope areas outside Marguerite Bay and north of the South Shetland Islands, and near the coast around Antarctic Sound. Successful spawning, as inferred from larval abundance, was roughly coincident with the shelf break and not with inshore waters. Given the rapid changes in climate along the Antarctic Peninsula and the lower per capita recruitment observed in recent years, studies comparing and contrasting production, growth, and recruitment across the Peninsula will be

  10. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record (United States)

    Carrillo, Juan D.; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.


    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10–7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI. PMID:25601879

  11. Regulating Antarctic Tourism and the Precautionary Principle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bastmeijer, C.J.; Roura, R.


    On the basis of an overview of the developments in Antarctic tourism since 1956, this current development note examines the issue of international regulation of Antarctic tourism. After discussing one of the main management issues in respect of Antarctic tourism ¿ the assessment and prevention of

  12. On the distribution of decapod crustaceans from the Magellan Biogeographic Province and the Antarctic region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Enrique E. Boschi


    Full Text Available The distribution of decapod crustaceans in the southernmost areas of South America and the Antarctic is assessed considering the Magellan Biogeographic Province instead of the antiboreal region. Possible associations between decapod crustaceans from the Magellan Biogeographic Province and those from the Antarctic region are analysed. Species records were assigned to seven geographic regions that were clustered using multivariate analyses based on species presence/absence and Bray-Curtis similarity. The results showed two well-established clusters, one of which included the Pacific and Atlantic areas of the Magellan Province, the southern tip of South America and the Kerguelen Arc islands, with the highest similarity between the southern tip and the Atlantic area. Another cluster was well separated and included the Antarctic and South Georgia with the highest similarity index. Earlier studies and results obtained here suggest that the faunas of southern Chile and southern Argentina are biogeographically related. There is a low level of association among decapod species from the circum-Antarctic region and the Magellan Province.

  13. Using extant taxa to inform studies of fossil footprints (United States)

    Falkingham, Peter; Gatesy, Stephen


    Attempting to use the fossilized footprints of extinct animals to study their palaeobiology and palaeoecology is notoriously difficult. The inconvenient extinction of the trackmaker makes direct correlation between footprints and foot far from straightforward. However, footprints are the only direct evidence of vertebrate motion recorded in the fossil record, and are potentially a source of data on palaeobiology that cannot be obtained from osteological remains alone. Our interests lie in recovering information about the movements of dinosaurs from their tracks. In particular, the Hitchcock collection of early Jurassic tracks held at the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst, provide a rare look into the 3D form of tracks at and below the surface the animal walked on. Breaking naturally along laminations into 'track books', the specimens present sediment deformation at multiple levels, and in doing so record more of the foot's motion than a single surface might. In order to utilize this rich information source to study the now extinct trackmakers, the process of track formation must be understood at a fundamental level; the interaction of the moving foot and compliant substrate. We used bi-planar X-ray techniques (X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology) to record the limb and foot motions of a Guineafowl traversing both granular and cohesive substrates. This data was supplemented with photogrammetric records of the resultant track surfaces, as well as the motion of metal beads within the sediment, to provide a full experimental dataset of foot and footprint formation. The physical experimental data was used to generate computer simulations of the process using high performance computing and the Discrete Element Method. The resultant simulations showed excellent congruence with reality, and enabled visualization within the sediment volume, and throughout the track-forming process. This physical and virtual experimental set-up has provided major insight into

  14. Antarctic news clips, 1991 (United States)


    Published stories are presented that sample a year's news coverage of Antarctica. The intent is to provide the U.S. Antarctic Program participants with a digest of current issues as presented by a variety of writers and popular publications. The subject areas covered include the following: earth science; ice studies; stratospheric ozone; astrophysics; life science; operations; education; antarctic treaty issues; and tourism

  15. Regional genetic diversity patterns in Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antartica Desv.)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van de Wouw, M.J.; Van Dijk, P.J.; Huiskes, A.H.L.


    Aim To determine patterns in diversity of a major Antarctic plant species, including relationships of Antarctic populations with those outside the Antarctic zone. Location Antarctic Peninsula, Maritime Antarctica, sub-Antarctic islands, Falkland Islands and South America. Methods Amplified fragment

  16. Structural Uncertainty in Antarctic sea ice simulations (United States)

    Schneider, D. P.


    The inability of the vast majority of historical climate model simulations to reproduce the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice has motivated many studies about the quality of the observational record, the role of natural variability versus forced changes, and the possibility of missing or inadequate forcings in the models (such as freshwater discharge from thinning ice shelves or an inadequate magnitude of stratospheric ozone depletion). In this presentation I will highlight another source of uncertainty that has received comparatively little attention: Structural uncertainty, that is, the systematic uncertainty in simulated sea ice trends that arises from model physics and mean-state biases. Using two large ensembles of experiments from the Community Earth System Model (CESM), I will show that the model is predisposed towards producing negative Antarctic sea ice trends during 1979-present, and that this outcome is not simply because the model's decadal variability is out-of-synch with that in nature. In the "Tropical Pacific Pacemaker" ensemble, in which observed tropical Pacific SST anomalies are prescribed, the model produces very realistic atmospheric circulation trends over the Southern Ocean, yet the sea ice trend is negative in every ensemble member. However, if the ensemble-mean trend (commonly interpreted as the forced response) is removed, some ensemble members show a sea ice increase that is very similar to the observed. While this results does confirm the important role of natural variability, it also suggests a strong bias in the forced response. I will discuss the reasons for this systematic bias and explore possible remedies. This an important problem to solve because projections of 21st -Century changes in the Antarctic climate system (including ice sheet surface mass balance changes and related changes in the sea level budget) have a strong dependence on the mean state of and changes in the Antarctic sea ice cover. This problem is not unique to

  17. The Fossil Calibration Database-A New Resource for Divergence Dating. (United States)

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Parham, James F; Allman, James F; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Cranston, Karen A; Donoghue, Philip C J; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Irmis, Randall B; Joyce, Walter G; Kohli, Manpreet; Lamm, Kristin D; Leehr, Dan; Patané, Josés L; Polly, P David; Phillips, Matthew J; Smith, N Adam; Smith, Nathan D; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M


    Fossils provide the principal basis for temporal calibrations, which are critical to the accuracy of divergence dating analyses. Translating fossil data into minimum and maximum bounds for calibrations is the most important-often least appreciated-step of divergence dating. Properly justified calibrations require the synthesis of phylogenetic, paleontological, and geological evidence and can be difficult for nonspecialists to formulate. The dynamic nature of the fossil record (e.g., new discoveries, taxonomic revisions, updates of global or local stratigraphy) requires that calibration data be updated continually lest they become obsolete. Here, we announce the Fossil Calibration Database (, a new open-access resource providing vetted fossil calibrations to the scientific community. Calibrations accessioned into this database are based on individual fossil specimens and follow best practices for phylogenetic justification and geochronological constraint. The associated Fossil Calibration Series, a calibration-themed publication series at Palaeontologia Electronica, will serve as a key pipeline for peer-reviewed calibrations to enter the database. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

  18. Draft genome of the Antarctic dragonfish, Parachaenichthys charcoti. (United States)

    Ahn, Do-Hwan; Shin, Seung Chul; Kim, Bo-Mi; Kang, Seunghyun; Kim, Jin-Hyoung; Ahn, Inhye; Park, Joonho; Park, Hyun


    The Antarctic bathydraconid dragonfish, Parachaenichthys charcoti, is an Antarctic notothenioid teleost endemic to the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean has cooled to -1.8ºC over the past 30 million years, and the seawater had retained this cold temperature and isolated oceanic environment because of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Notothenioids dominate Antarctic fish, making up 90% of the biomass, and all notothenioids have undergone molecular and ecological diversification to survive in this cold environment. Therefore, they are considered an attractive Antarctic fish model for evolutionary and ancestral genomic studies. Bathydraconidae is a speciose family of the Notothenioidei, the dominant taxonomic component of Antarctic teleosts. To understand the process of evolution of Antarctic fish, we select a typical Antarctic bathydraconid dragonfish, P. charcoti. Here, we have sequenced, de novo assembled, and annotated a comprehensive genome from P. charcoti. The draft genome of P. charcoti is 709 Mb in size. The N50 contig length is 6145 bp, and its N50 scaffold length 178 362 kb. The genome of P. charcoti is predicted to contain 32 712 genes, 18 455 of which have been assigned preliminary functions. A total of 8951 orthologous groups common to 7 species of fish were identified, while 333 genes were identified in P. charcoti only; 2519 orthologous groups were also identified in both P. charcoti and N. coriiceps, another Antarctic fish. Four gene ontology terms were statistically overrepresented among the 333 genes unique to P. charcoti, according to gene ontology enrichment analysis. The draft P. charcoti genome will broaden our understanding of the evolution of Antarctic fish in their extreme environment. It will provide a basis for further investigating the unusual characteristics of Antarctic fishes. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  19. Diatom and silicoflagellate biostratigraphy for the late Eocene: ODP 1090 (sub-Antarctic Atlantic) (United States)

    Barron, John A.; Bukry, David B.; Gersonde, Rainer


    Abundant and well-preserved diatoms and silicofl agellate assemblages are documented through a complete late Eocene sequence, ODP Hole 1090B, recovered from the southern Agulhas Ridge in the sub-Antarctic South Atlantic. A sequence of Cestodiscus (diatom) species occurrence events involving C. pulchellus var. novazealandica, C. fennerae, C. antarcticus, C. convexus, C. trochus, and C. robustus is tied with paleomagnetic stratigraphy and provides the basis of proposing a new diatom zonation for the latest middle Eocene to early Oligocene (~37.6–33.4 Ma) of the sub-Antarctic South Atlantic. Comparison with previously published diatom occurrence charts suggested this zonation should be applicable throughout the low latitude regions of the world’s oceans. Silicofl agellates belong to the Dictyocha hexacantha and the overlying Corbisema apiculata Zones. The late Eocene succession of silicofl agellate species is dominated by Naviculopsis (20–60%). Naviculopsis constricta and N. foliacea dominate the D. hexacantha Zone, followed by the N. constricta, then N. biapiculata in the C. apiculata Zone. Cold-water Distephanus is most abundant in the latest Eocene along with N. biapiculata. The tops of zonal guide fossils Dictyocha hexacantha and Hannaites quadria (both 36.6 Ma) and Dictyocha spinosa (37.1 Ma) are tied with paleomagnetic stratigraphy.

  20. Integrating developmental biology and the fossil record of reptiles. (United States)

    Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz


    Numerous new discoveries and new research techniques have influenced our understanding of reptile development from a palaeontological perspective. They suggest for example that transition from mineralized to leathery eggshells and from oviparity to viviparity appeared much more often in the evolution of reptiles than was previously thought. Most marine reptiles evolved from viviparous terrestrial ancestors and had probably genetic sex determination. Fossil forms often display developmental traits absent or rare among modern ones such as polydactyly, hyperphalangy, the presence of ribcage armour, reduction of head ornamentation during ontogeny, extreme modifications of vertebral count or a wide range of feather-like structures. Thus, they provide an empirical background for many morphogenetic considerations.

  1. Atmospheric Influences on the Anomalous 2016 Antarctic Sea Ice Decay (United States)

    Raphael, M. N.; Schlosser, E.; Haumann, A.


    Over the past three decades, a small but significant increase in sea ice extent (SIE) has been observed in the Antarctic. However, in 2016 there was a surprisingly early onset of the melt season. The maximum Antarctic SIE was reached in August rather than end of September, and was followed by a rapid decrease. The decline of the sea ice area (SIA) started even earlier, in July. The retreat of the ice was particularly large in November where Antarctic SIE exhibited a negative anomaly (compared to the 1981-2010 average) of almost 2 Mio. km2, which, combined with reduced Arctic SIE, led to a distinct minimum in global SIE. And, satellite observations show that from November 2016 to February 2017, the daily Antarctic SIE has been at record low levels. We use sea level pressure and geopotential height data from the ECMWF- Interim reanalysis, in conjunction with sea ice data obtained from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), to investigate possible atmospheric influences on the observed phenomena. Indications are that both the onset of the melt in July and the rapid decrease in SIA and SIE in November were triggered by atmospheric flow patterns related to a positive Zonal Wave 3 index, i.e. synoptic situations leading to strong meridional flow. Additionally the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index reached its second lowest November value since the beginning of the satellite observations. It is likely that the SIE decrease was preconditioned by SIA decrease. Positive feedback effects led to accelerated melt and consequently to the extraordinary low November SIE.

  2. First report of fossil "keratose" demosponges in Phanerozoic carbonates: preservation and 3-D reconstruction. (United States)

    Luo, Cui; Reitner, Joachim


    Fossil record of Phanerozoic non-spicular sponges, beside of being important with respect to the lineage evolution per se, could provide valuable references for the investigation of Precambrian ancestral animal fossils. However, although modern phylogenomic studies resolve non-spicular demosponges as the sister group of the remaining spiculate demosponges, the fossil record of the former is extremely sparse or unexplored compared to that of the latter; the Middle Cambrian Vauxiidae Walcott 1920, is the only confirmed fossil taxon of non-spicular demosponges. Here, we describe carbonate materials from Devonian (Upper Givetian to Lower Frasnian) bioherms of northern France and Triassic (Anisian) microbialites of Poland that most likely represent fossil remnants of keratose demosponges. These putative fossils of keratose demosponges are preserved as automicritic clumps. They are morphologically distinguishable from microbial fabrics but similar to other spiculate sponge fossils, except that the skeletal elements consist of fibrous networks instead of assembled spicules. Consistent with the immunological behavior of sponges, these fibrous skeletons often form a rim at the edge of the automicritic aggregate, separating the inner part of the aggregate from foreign objects. To confirm the architecture of these fibrous networks, two fossil specimens and a modern thorectid sponge for comparison were processed for three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction using serial grinding tomography. The resulting fossil reconstructions are three-dimensionally anastomosing, like modern keratose demosponges, but their irregular and nonhierarchical meshes indicate a likely verongid affinity, although a precise taxonomic conclusion cannot be made based on the skeletal architecture alone. This study is a preliminary effort, but an important start to identify fossil non-spicular demosponges in carbonates and to re-evaluate their fossilization potential.

  3. Precambrian evolution and the rock record (United States)

    Awramik, S.


    The Precambrian time which refers to geological time prior to the first appearance of animals with mineralized hard parts was investigated. Best estimates for this event are around 570 million years ago. Because the rock record begins some 3,800 million years ago the Precambrian encompasses about 84% of geologic time. The fossil record for this immense span of time is dominated by prokaryotes and the sedimentary structures produced by them. The first fossil remains that are considered eukaryotic are found in 1,000 million year old rocks. The first animals may be as old as 700 million years. The fossil records of the first 84% of the Earth's history are collected and described.

  4. Presence of endocrine disruptors in freshwater in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. (United States)

    Esteban, S; Moreno-Merino, L; Matellanes, R; Catalá, M; Gorga, M; Petrovic, M; López de Alda, M; Barceló, D; Silva, A; Durán, J J; López-Martínez, J; Valcárcel, Y


    The increasing human presence in Antarctica and the waste it generates is causing an impact on the environment at local and border scale. The main sources of anthropic pollution have a mainly local effect, and include the burning of fossil fuels, waste incineration, accidental spillage and wastewater effluents, even when treated. The aim of this work is to determine the presence and origin of 30 substances of anthropogenic origin considered to be, or suspected of being, endocrine disruptors in the continental waters of the Antarctic Peninsula region. We also studied a group of toxic metals, metalloids and other elements with possible endocrine activity. Ten water samples were analyzed from a wide range of sources, including streams, ponds, glacier drain, and an urban wastewater discharge into the sea. Surprisingly, the concentrations detected are generally similar to those found in other studies on continental waters in other parts of the world. The highest concentrations of micropollutants found correspond to the group of organophosphate flame retardants (19.60-9209ngL(-1)) and alkylphenols (1.14-7225ngL(-1)); and among toxic elements the presence of aluminum (a possible hormonal modifier) (1.7-127µgL(-1)) is significant. The concentrations detected are very low and insufficient to cause acute or subacute toxicity in aquatic organisms. However, little is known as yet of the potential sublethal and chronic effects of this type of pollutants and their capacity for bioaccumulation. These results point to the need for an ongoing system of environmental monitoring of these substances in Antarctic continental waters, and the advisability of regulating at least the most environmentally hazardous of these in the Antarctic legislation. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Precipitation regime influence on oxygen triple-isotope distributions in Antarctic precipitation and ice cores (United States)

    Miller, Martin F.


    The relative abundance of 17O in meteoric precipitation is usually reported in terms of the 17O-excess parameter. Variations of 17O-excess in Antarctic precipitation and ice cores have hitherto been attributed to normalised relative humidity changes at the moisture source region, or to the influence of a temperature-dependent supersaturation-controlled kinetic isotope effect during in-cloud ice formation below -20 °C. Neither mechanism, however, satisfactorily explains the large range of 17O-excess values reported from measurements. A different approach, based on the regression characteristics of 103 ln (1 +δ17 O) versus 103 ln (1 +δ18 O), is applied here to previously published isotopic data sets. The analysis indicates that clear-sky precipitation ('diamond dust'), which occurs widely in inland Antarctica, is characterised by an unusual relative abundance of 17O, distinct from that associated with cloud-derived, synoptic snowfall. Furthermore, this distinction appears to be largely preserved in the ice core record. The respective mass contributions to snowfall accumulation - on both temporal and spatial scales - provides the basis of a simple, first-order explanation for the observed oxygen triple-isotope ratio variations in Antarctic precipitation, surface snow and ice cores. Using this approach, it is shown that precipitation during the last major deglaciation, both in western Antarctica at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide and at Vostok on the eastern Antarctic plateau, consisted essentially of diamond dust only, despite a large temperature differential (and thus different water vapour supersaturation conditions) at the two locations. In contrast, synoptic snowfall events dominate the accumulation record throughout the Holocene at both sites.

  6. Invited review: climate change impacts in polar regions: lessons from Antarctic moss bank archives. (United States)

    Royles, Jessica; Griffiths, Howard


    Mosses are the dominant plants in polar and boreal regions, areas which are experiencing rapid impacts of regional warming. Long-term monitoring programmes provide some records of the rate of recent climate change, but moss peat banks contain an unrivalled temporal record of past climate change on terrestrial plant Antarctic systems. We summarise the current understanding of climatic proxies and determinants of moss growth for contrasting continental and maritime Antarctic regions, as informed by 13C and 18O signals in organic material. Rates of moss accumulation are more than three times higher in the maritime Antarctic than continental Antarctica with growing season length being a critical determinant of growth rate, and high carbon isotope discrimination values reflecting optimal hydration conditions. Correlation plots of 13C and 18O values show that species (Chorisodontium aciphyllum / Polytrichum strictum) and growth form (hummock / bank) are the major determinants of measured isotope ratios. The interplay between moss growth form, photosynthetic physiology, water status and isotope composition are compared with developments of secondary proxies, such as chlorophyll fluorescence. These approaches provide a framework to consider the potential impact of climate change on terrestrial Antarctic habitats as well as having implications for future studies of temperate, boreal and Arctic peatlands. There are many urgent ecological and environmental problems in the Arctic related to mosses in a changing climate, but the geographical ranges of species and life-forms are difficult to track individually. Our goal was to translate what we have learned from the more simple systems in Antarctica, for application to Arctic habitats. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. First records of aphid-pathogenic Entomophthorales in the sub-Antarctic archipelagos of Crozet and Kerguelen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernard Papierok


    Full Text Available Since the 20th century, the sub-Antarctic islands have suffered an increasing number of biological invasions. Despite the large number of publications on this topic, there is a lack of knowledge on parasitism rates of invasive species and on the role of parasites and pathogens to regulate their populations. Six aphid species have been introduced in the archipelagos of Crozet (Île de la Possession, 46° 25’ S–51° 51’ E and Kerguelen (49° 21’ S–70° 13’ E. Five of these species were found infected by entomopathogenic fungi of the order Entomophthorales. All these fungal species are cosmopolitan. Conidiobolus obscurus and Entomophthora planchoniana were the most frequently observed on Île de la Possession and in Archipel des Kerguelen, respectively. This is the first report of pathogenic fungi of aphids on the sub-Antarctic islands. We discuss these results in the light of our current knowledge of these insect pathogens. Their introduction by aphids surviving on plants during transportation is the most likely hypothesis to explain their presence on these remote islands.

  8. The Antarctic Centennial Oscillation: A Natural Paleoclimate Cycle in the Southern Hemisphere That Influences Global Temperature

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. Jackson Davis


    Full Text Available We report a previously-unexplored natural temperature cycle recorded in ice cores from Antarctica—the Antarctic Centennial Oscillation (ACO—that has oscillated for at least the last 226 millennia. Here we document the properties of the ACO and provide an initial assessment of its role in global climate. We analyzed open-source databases of stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen as proxies for paleo-temperatures. We find that centennial-scale spectral peaks from temperature-proxy records at Vostok over the last 10,000 years occur at the same frequencies (±2.4% in three other paleoclimate records from drill sites distributed widely across the East Antarctic Plateau (EAP, and >98% of individual ACOs evaluated at Vostok match 1:1 with homologous cycles at the other three EAP drill sites and conversely. Identified ACOs summate with millennial periodicity to form the Antarctic Isotope Maxima (AIMs known to precede Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O oscillations recorded in Greenland ice cores. Homologous ACOs recorded at the four EAP drill sites during the last glacial maximum appeared first at lower elevations nearest the ocean and centuries later on the high EAP, with latencies that exceed dating uncertainty >30-fold. ACO homologs at different drill sites became synchronous, however, during the warmer Holocene. Comparative spectral analysis suggests that the millennial-scale AIM cycle declined in period from 1500 to 800 years over the last 70 millennia. Similarly, over the last 226 millennia ACO repetition period (mean 352 years declined by half while amplitude (mean 0.67 °C approximately doubled. The period and amplitude of ACOs oscillate in phase with glacial cycles and related surface insolation associated with planetary orbital forces. We conclude that the ACO: encompasses at least the EAP; is the proximate source of D-O oscillations in the Northern Hemisphere; therefore affects global temperature; propagates with increased velocity as temperature

  9. Air-sea interaction regimes in the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean and Antarctic marginal ice zone revealed by icebreaker measurements (United States)

    Yu, Lisan; Jin, Xiangze; Schulz, Eric W.; Josey, Simon A.


    This study analyzed shipboard air-sea measurements acquired by the icebreaker Aurora Australis during its off-winter operation in December 2010 to May 2012. Mean conditions over 7 months (October-April) were compiled from a total of 22 ship tracks. The icebreaker traversed the water between Hobart, Tasmania, and the Antarctic continent, providing valuable in situ insight into two dynamically important, yet poorly sampled, regimes: the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean and the Antarctic marginal ice zone (MIZ) in the Indian Ocean sector. The transition from the open water to the ice-covered surface creates sharp changes in albedo, surface roughness, and air temperature, leading to consequential effects on air-sea variables and fluxes. Major effort was made to estimate the air-sea fluxes in the MIZ using the bulk flux algorithms that are tuned specifically for the sea-ice effects, while computing the fluxes over the sub-Antarctic section using the COARE3.0 algorithm. The study evidenced strong sea-ice modulations on winds, with the southerly airflow showing deceleration (convergence) in the MIZ and acceleration (divergence) when moving away from the MIZ. Marked seasonal variations in heat exchanges between the atmosphere and the ice margin were noted. The monotonic increase in turbulent latent and sensible heat fluxes after summer turned the MIZ quickly into a heat loss regime, while at the same time the sub-Antarctic surface water continued to receive heat from the atmosphere. The drastic increase in turbulent heat loss in the MIZ contrasted sharply to the nonsignificant and seasonally invariant turbulent heat loss over the sub-Antarctic open water.Plain Language SummaryThe icebreaker Aurora Australis is a research and supply vessel that is regularly chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division during the southern summer to operate in waters between Hobart, Tasmania, and Antarctica. The vessel serves as the main lifeline to three permanent research stations on the

  10. Lichen flora around the Korean Antarctic Scientific Station, King George Island, Antarctic. (United States)

    Kim, Ji Hee; Ahn, In-Young; Hong, Soon Gyu; Andreev, Mikhail; Lim, Kwang-Mi; Oh, Mi Jin; Koh, Young Jin; Hur, Jae-Seoun


    As part of the long-term monitoring projects on Antarctic terrestrial vegetation in relation to global climate change, a lichen floristical survey was conducted around the Korean Antarctic Station (King Sejong Station), which is located on Barton Peninsula, King George Island, in January and February of 2006. Two hundred and twenty-five lichen specimens were collected and sixty-two lichen species in 38 genera were identified by morphological characteristics, chemical constituents, TLC analysis and ITS nucleotide sequence analysis.

  11. Fossil Explorers (United States)

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael


    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  12. New Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossils from Ecuador: Invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, and microfossils (United States)

    Cadena, Edwin A.; Mejia-Molina, Alejandra; Brito, Carla M.; Peñafiel, Sofia; Sanmartin, Kleber J.; Sarmiento, Luis B.


    Ecuador is well known for its extensive extant biodiversity, however, its paleobiodiversity is still poorly explored. Here we report seven new Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil localities from the Pacific coast, inter-Andean depression and Napo basin of Ecuador, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and microfossils. The first of these localities is called El Refugio, located near the small town of Chota, Imbabura Province, from where we report several morphotypes of fossil leaves and a mycetopodid freshwater mussel of the Upper Miocene Chota Formation. A second site is also located near the town of Chota, corresponding to potentially Pleistocene to Holocene lake deposits from which we report the occurrence of leaves and fossil diatoms. A third locality is at the Pacific coast of the country, near Rocafuerte, a town in Esmeraldas Province, from which we report a late Miocene palm leaf. We also report the first partially articulated skull with teeth from a Miocene scombridid (Mackerels) fish from El Cruce locality, and completely preserved seeds from La Pila locality, both sites from Manabí Province. Two late Cretaceous fossil sites from the Napo Province, one near Puerto Napo showing a good record of fossil shrimps and a second near the town of Loreto shows the occurrence of granular amber and small gymnosperms seeds and cuticles. All these new sites and fossils show the high potential of the sedimentary sequences and basins of Ecuador for paleontological studies and for a better understanding of the fossil record of the country and northern South America.

  13. RADARSAT: The Antarctic Mapping Project (United States)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.; Lindstrom, E. (Technical Monitor)


    The first Antarctic Imaging Campaign (AIC) occurred during the period September 9, 1997 through October 20, 1997. The AIC utilized the unique attributes of the Canadian RADARSAT-1 to acquire the first, high-resolution, synthetic aperture imagery covering the entire Antarctic Continent. Although the primary goal of the mission was the acquisition of image data, the nearly flawless execution of the mission enabled additional collections of exact repeat orbit data. These data, covering an extensive portion of the interior Antarctic, potentially are suitable for interferometric analysis of topography and surface velocity. This document summarizes the Project through completion with delivery of products to the NASA DAACs.

  14. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase (United States)

    Rice, Andrew L.; Butenhoff, Christopher L.; Teama, Doaa G.; Röger, Florian H.; Khalil, M. Aslam K.; Rasmussen, Reinhold A.


    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 (13C/12C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y-1 CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust.

  15. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents


    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T. R.; McDonough, Molly M.; Jacobs, Louis L.; Flynn, Lawrence J.


    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly reco...

  16. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. (United States)

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig


    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

  17. Environmental constraints on West Antarctic ice-sheet formation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lindstrom, D R; MacAyeal, D R


    Small perturbations in Antarctic environmental conditions can culminate in the demise of the Antarctic ice sheet's western sector. This may have happened during the last interglacial period, and could recur within the next millennium due to atmospheric warming from trace gas and CO/sub 2/ increases. In this study, we investigate the importance of sea-level, accumulation rate, and ice influx from the East Antarctic ice sheet in the re-establishment of the West Antarctic ice sheet from a thin cover using a time-dependent numerical ice-shelf model. Our results show that a precursor to the West Antarctic ice sheet can form within 3000 years. Sea-level lowering caused by ice-sheet development in the Northern Hemisphere has the greatest environmental influence. Under favorable conditions, ice grounding occurs over all parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet except up-stream of Thwaites Glacier and in the Ross Sea region.

  18. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans. (United States)

    Smith, Tanya M


    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. Copyright © 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  19. Geostatistical analysis and isoscape of ice core derived water stable isotope records in an Antarctic macro region (United States)

    Hatvani, István Gábor; Leuenberger, Markus; Kohán, Balázs; Kern, Zoltán


    Water stable isotopes preserved in ice cores provide essential information about polar precipitation. In the present study, multivariate regression and variogram analyses were conducted on 22 δ2H and 53 δ18O records from 60 ice cores covering the second half of the 20th century. Taking the multicollinearity of the explanatory variables into account, as also the model's adjusted R2 and its mean absolute error, longitude, elevation and distance from the coast were found to be the main independent geographical driving factors governing the spatial δ18O variability of firn/ice in the chosen Antarctic macro region. After diminishing the effects of these factors, using variography, the weights for interpolation with kriging were obtained and the spatial autocorrelation structure of the dataset was revealed. This indicates an average area of influence with a radius of 350 km. This allows the determination of the areas which are as yet not covered by the spatial variability of the existing network of ice cores. Finally, the regional isoscape was obtained for the study area, and this may be considered the first step towards a geostatistically improved isoscape for Antarctica.

  20. Terrestrial Origin of Viviparity in Mesozoic Marine Reptiles Indicated by Early Triassic Embryonic Fossils


    Motani, Ryosuke; Jiang, Da-yong; Tintori, Andrea; Rieppel, Olivier; Chen, Guan-bao


    Viviparity in Mesozoic marine reptiles has traditionally been considered an aquatic adaptation. We report a new fossil specimen that strongly contradicts this traditional interpretation. The new specimen contains the oldest fossil embryos of Mesozoic marine reptile that are about 10 million years older than previous such records. The fossil belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), which is the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles (ca. 248 million years ago, Early Triassic). This exc...

  1. Late Glacial–Holocene record of benthic foraminiferal ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    K Verma


    Mar 6, 2018 ... influence of oxygen-rich Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW). Keywords. Paleontology; benthic ..... nent changes at millennial scale are noticed during certain intervals ...... become environmental change? The proxy record of ...

  2. Potential ash impact from Antarctic volcanoes: Insights from Deception Island's most recent eruption. (United States)

    Geyer, A; Marti, A; Giralt, S; Folch, A


    Ash emitted during explosive volcanic eruptions may disperse over vast areas of the globe posing a threat to human health and infrastructures and causing significant disruption to air traffic. In Antarctica, at least five volcanoes have reported historic activity. However, no attention has been paid to the potential socio-economic and environmental consequences of an ash-forming eruption occurring at high southern latitudes. This work shows how ash from Antarctic volcanoes may pose a higher threat than previously believed. As a case study, we evaluate the potential impacts of ash for a given eruption scenario from Deception Island, one of the most active volcanoes in Antarctica. Numerical simulations using the novel MMB-MONARCH-ASH model demonstrate that volcanic ash emitted from Antarctic volcanoes could potentially encircle the globe, leading to significant consequences for global aviation safety. Results obtained recall the need for performing proper hazard assessment on Antarctic volcanoes, and are crucial for understanding the patterns of ash distribution at high southern latitudes with strong implications for tephrostratigraphy, which is pivotal to synchronize palaeoclimatic records.

  3. Antarctic climate change and the environment (United States)


    This volume provides a comprehensive, up-to-date account of how the physical and biological : environment of the Antarctic continent and Southern Ocean has changed from Deep Time until : the present day. It also considers how the Antarctic environmen...

  4. Transport of Antarctic bottom water through the Kane Gap, tropical NE Atlantic Ocean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Morozov, E.G.; Tarakanov, R.Y.; van Haren, H.


    We study low-frequency properties of the Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) flow through the Kane Gap (9° N) in the Atlantic Ocean. The measurements in the Kane Gap include five visits with CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) sections in 2009–2012 and a year-long record of currents on a mooring using

  5. Temperature effects on hemocyanin oxygen binding in an antarctic cephalopod. (United States)

    Zielinski, S; Sartoris, F J; Pörtner, H O


    The functional relevance of oxygen transport by hemocyanin of the Antarctic octopod Megaleledone senoi and of the eurythermal cuttlefish Sepia officinalis was analyzed by continuous and simultaneous recordings of changes in pH and hemocyanin oxygen saturation in whole blood at various temperatures. These data were compared to literature data on other temperate and cold-water cephalopods (octopods and giant squid). In S. officinalis, the oxygen affinity of hemocyanin changed at deltaP50/degrees C = 0.12 kPa (pH 7.4) with increasing temperatures; this is similar to observations in temperate octopods. In M. senoi, thermal sensitivity was much smaller (delta log P50/delta pH) increased with increasing temperature in both the cuttlefish and the Antarctic octopod. At low PO2 (1.0 kPa) and pH (7.2), the presence of a large venous oxygen reserve (43% saturation) insensitive to pH reflects reduced pH sensitivity and high oxygen affinity in M. senoi hemocyanin at 0 degrees C. In S. officinalis, this reserve was 19% at pH 7.4, 20 degrees C, and 1.7 kPa O2, a level still higher than in squid. These findings suggest that the lower metabolic rate of octopods and cuttlefish compared to squid is reflected in less pH-dependent oxygen transport. Results of the hemocyanin analysis for the Antarctic octopod were similar to those reported for Vampyroteuthis--an extremely high oxygen affinity supporting a very low metabolic rate. In contrast to findings in cold-adapted giant squid, the minimized thermal sensitivity of oxygen transport in Antarctic octopods will reduce metabolic scope and thereby contribute to their stenothermality.

  6. Parasites of the Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni Norman, 1937 (Perciformes, Nototheniidae in the Pacific sector of the Antarctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilya I. Gordeev


    Full Text Available The Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni Norman, 1937 is one of the main target species of commercial fisheries in the Antarctic. It is an endemic and is found along the shelf of Antarctica, as well as on the slopes of seamounts, underwater elevations and islands in the sub-Antarctic. It feeds on a variety of fish and cephalopods and can be an intermediate/paratenic host of some helminthes, whose final hosts are whales, seals, large rays and sharks. This article presents new data on toothfish infection in the Pacific sector of the Antarctic. Specimens were examined during commercial longline fishing in the Ross Sea and the Amundsen Sea in January–February 2013. Fourteen species of parasites were found using standard parasitological methods and genetic analysis.

  7. South African antarctic biological research programme

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)



    Full Text Available This document provides a description of the past, current and planned South African biological research activities in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions. Future activities will fall under one of the five components of the research programme...

  8. Species-energy relationship in the deep sea: A test using the Quaternary fossil record (United States)

    Hunt, G.; Cronin, T. M.; Roy, K.


    Little is known about the processes regulating species richness in deep-sea communities. Here we take advantage of natural experiments involving climate change to test whether predictions of the species-energy hypothesis hold in the deep sea. In addition, we test for the relationship between temperature and species richness predicted by a recent model based on biochemical kinetics of metabolism. Using the deep-sea fossil record of benthic foraminifera and statistical meta-analyses of temperature-richness and productivity-richness relationships in 10 deep-sea cores, we show that temperature but not productivity is a significant predictor of species richness over the past c. 130 000 years. Our results not only show that the temperature-richness relationship in the deep-sea is remarkably similar to that found in terrestrial and shallow marine habitats, but also that species richness tracks temperature change over geological time, at least on scales of c. 100 000 years. Thus, predicting biotic response to global climate change in the deep sea would require better understanding of how temperature regulates the occurrences and geographical ranges of species. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  9. Fossilization History of Fossil Resin from Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia Based on Physico-Chemical Studies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Beata Naglik


    Full Text Available A unique specimen of fossil resin originating from the Dipterocarpaceae tree family found in Miocene brown coal deposits in Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia was investigated via microscopic observations, microhardness testing and infrared and Raman spectroscopic methods. Its form is rare in nature, being an aggregate of three varieties of resin differing in colour, transparency and internal structure. This suggests the formation of the resins at different stages. Further alteration processes, including fossilization and maturation of the resin in a swamp environment resulted in stepwise aromatization of the cyclohexane ring in steroids and cross-linking through formation of ester bonds as well as carbon–carbon bonds between steroid molecules. The various environmental and geological conditions affecting the formation processes of the resins were recorded in their physico-chemical properties. Additionally, heating conditions accelerated by volcanism were proposed as a factor determining the maturation grade of the resin.

  10. A minute fossil phoretic mite recovered by phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography. (United States)

    Dunlop, Jason A; Wirth, Stefan; Penney, David; McNeil, Andrew; Bradley, Robert S; Withers, Philip J; Preziosi, Richard F


    High-resolution phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography (CT) reveals the phoretic deutonymph of a fossil astigmatid mite (Acariformes: Astigmata) attached to a spider's carapace (Araneae: Dysderidae) in Eocene (44-49 Myr ago) Baltic amber. Details of appendages and a sucker plate were resolved, and the resulting three-dimensional model demonstrates the potential of tomography to recover morphological characters of systematic significance from even the tiniest amber inclusions without the need for a synchrotron. Astigmatids have an extremely sparse palaeontological record. We confirm one of the few convincing fossils, potentially the oldest record of Histiostomatidae. At 176 µm long, we believe this to be the smallest arthropod in amber to be CT-scanned as a complete body fossil, extending the boundaries for what can be recovered using this technique. We also demonstrate a minimum age for the evolution of phoretic behaviour among their deutonymphs, an ecological trait used by extant species to disperse into favourable environments. The occurrence of the fossil on a spider is noteworthy, as modern histiostomatids tend to favour other arthropods as carriers.

  11. A minute fossil phoretic mite recovered by phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography (United States)

    Dunlop, Jason A.; Wirth, Stefan; Penney, David; McNeil, Andrew; Bradley, Robert S.; Withers, Philip J.; Preziosi, Richard F.


    High-resolution phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography (CT) reveals the phoretic deutonymph of a fossil astigmatid mite (Acariformes: Astigmata) attached to a spider's carapace (Araneae: Dysderidae) in Eocene (44–49 Myr ago) Baltic amber. Details of appendages and a sucker plate were resolved, and the resulting three-dimensional model demonstrates the potential of tomography to recover morphological characters of systematic significance from even the tiniest amber inclusions without the need for a synchrotron. Astigmatids have an extremely sparse palaeontological record. We confirm one of the few convincing fossils, potentially the oldest record of Histiostomatidae. At 176 µm long, we believe this to be the smallest arthropod in amber to be CT-scanned as a complete body fossil, extending the boundaries for what can be recovered using this technique. We also demonstrate a minimum age for the evolution of phoretic behaviour among their deutonymphs, an ecological trait used by extant species to disperse into favourable environments. The occurrence of the fossil on a spider is noteworthy, as modern histiostomatids tend to favour other arthropods as carriers. PMID:22072283

  12. Persistent organohalogen contaminant burdens in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) from the eastern Antarctic sector: A baseline study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bengtson Nash, S.M.; Poulsen, A.H.; Kawaguchi, S.; Vetter, W.; Schlabach, M.


    A baseline for persistent organohalogen compound (POC) accumulation in the Antarctic keystone species, Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) has been established for a 50 deg. longitudinal range of the eastern Antarctic sector. Samples of adult krill, caught from 12 sites distributed between 30 deg. and 80 deg. E (60-70 deg. S), were analysed for > 100 organohalogen compounds including chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated organic compounds and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs). Organochlorine pesticides dominated measured krill contaminant burdens with hexachlorobenzene (HCB) as the single most abundant compound quantified. Krill HCB concentrations were comparable to those detected at this trophic level in both the Arctic and temperate northwest Atlantic, lending support for the hypothesis that HCB will approach global equilibrium at a faster rate than other POCs. Para, para'-dichlorodiphenylethene (p,p'-DDE) was detected at notable concentrations. Measurements of DDT and its degradation products provide an important baseline for monitoring the temporal and geographical influence of renewed, DDT usage for malaria-control in affected southern hemisphere countries. In contrast to the Arctic, PCBs did not feature prominently in contaminant burdens of Antarctic krill. The major commercial polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners -99 and -47 were quantified at low background levels with clear concentration spikes observed at around 70 deg. E , in the vicinity of modern, active research stations. The likelihood that local anthropogenic activities are supplementing low PBDE levels, delivered otherwise primarily via long range environmental transport, is discussed. The suspected naturally occurring brominated organic compound, 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA), was a ubiquitous contaminant in all samples whereas the only PCDD/Fs quantifiable were trace levels of octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (OCDD) and 1

  13. Parasites in the fossil record: a Cretaceous fauna with isopod-infested decapod crustaceans, infestation patterns through time, and a new ichnotaxon.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adiël A Klompmaker

    Full Text Available Parasites are common in modern ecosystems and are also known from the fossil record. One of the best preserved and easily recognisable examples of parasitism in the fossil record concerns isopod-induced swellings in the branchial chamber of marine decapod crustaceans. However, very limited quantitative data on the variability of infestation percentages at the species, genus, and family levels are available. Here we provide this type of data for a mid-Cretaceous (upper Lower Cretaceous, upper Albian reef setting at Koskobilo, northern Spain, on the basis of 874 specimens of anomurans and brachyurans. Thirty-seven specimens (4.2%, arranged in ten species, are infested. Anomurans are more heavily infested than brachyurans, variability can be high within genera, and a relationship may exist between the number of specimens and infestation percentage per taxon, possibly suggesting host-specificity. We have also investigated quantitative patterns of infestation through geological time based on 88 infested species (25 anomurans, 55 brachyurans, seven lobsters, and one shrimp, to show that the highest number of infested species can be found in the Late Jurassic, also when corrected for the unequal duration of epochs. The same Late Jurassic peak is observed for the percentage of infested decapod species per epoch. This acme is caused entirely by infested anomurans and brachyurans. Biases (taphonomic and otherwise and causes of variability with regard to the Koskobilo assemblage and infestation patterns through time are discussed. Finally, a new ichnogenus and -species, Kanthyloma crusta, are erected to accommodate such swellings or embedment structures (bioclaustrations.

  14. The changing form of Antarctic biodiversity. (United States)

    Chown, Steven L; Clarke, Andrew; Fraser, Ceridwen I; Cary, S Craig; Moon, Katherine L; McGeoch, Melodie A


    Antarctic biodiversity is much more extensive, ecologically diverse and biogeographically structured than previously thought. Understanding of how this diversity is distributed in marine and terrestrial systems, the mechanisms underlying its spatial variation, and the significance of the microbiota is growing rapidly. Broadly recognizable drivers of diversity variation include energy availability and historical refugia. The impacts of local human activities and global environmental change nonetheless pose challenges to the current and future understanding of Antarctic biodiversity. Life in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean is surprisingly rich, and as much at risk from environmental change as it is elsewhere.

  15. The consequences of time averaging for measuring temporal species turnover in the fossil record (United States)

    Tomašových, Adam; Kidwell, Susan


    Modeling time averaging effects with simple simulations allows us to evaluate the magnitude of change in temporal species turnover that is expected to occur in long (paleoecological) time series with fossil assemblages. Distinguishing different modes of metacommunity dynamics (such as neutral, density-dependent, or trade-off dynamics) with time-averaged fossil assemblages requires scaling-up time-averaging effects because the decrease in temporal resolution and the decrease in temporal inter-sample separation (i.e., the two main effects of time averaging) substantially increase community stability relative to assemblages without or with weak time averaging. Large changes in temporal scale that cover centuries to millennia can lead to unprecedented effects on temporal rate of change in species composition. Temporal variation in species composition monotonically decreases with increasing duration of time-averaging in simulated fossil assemblages. Time averaging is also associated with the reduction of species dominance owing to the temporal switching in the identity of dominant species. High degrees of time averaging can cause that community parameters of local fossil assemblages converge to parameters of metacommunity rather that to parameters of individual local non-averaged communities. We find that the low variation in species composition observed among mollusk and ostracod subfossil assemblages can be explained by time averaging alone, and low temporal resolution and reduced temporal separation among assemblages in time series can thus explain a substantial part of the reduced variation in species composition relative to unscaled predictions of neutral model (i.e., species do not differ in birth, death, and immigration rates on per capita basis). The structure of time-averaged assemblages can thus provide important insights into processes that act over larger temporal scales, such as evolution of niches and dispersal, range-limit dynamics, taxon cycles, and

  16. The first fossil of a bolbitidoid fern belongs to the early-divergent lineages of Elaphoglossum (Dryopteridaceae). (United States)

    Lóriga, Josmaily; Schmidt, Alexander R; Moran, Robbin C; Feldberg, Kathrin; Schneider, Harald; Heinrichs, Jochen


    • Closing gaps in the fossil record and elucidating phylogenetic relationships of mostly incomplete fossils are major challenges in the reconstruction of the diversification of fern lineages through time. The cosmopolitan family Dryopteridaceae represents one of the most species-rich families of leptosporangiate ferns, yet its fossil record is sparse and poorly understood. Here, we describe a fern inclusion in Miocene Dominican amber and investigate its relationships to extant Dryopteridaceae.• The morphology of the fossil was compared with descriptions of extant ferns, resulting in it being tentatively assigned to the bolbitidoid fern genus Elaphoglossum. This assignment was confirmed by reconstructing the evolution of the morphological characters preserved in the inclusion on a molecular phylogeny of 158 extant bolbitidoid ferns. To assess the morphology-based assignment of the fossil to Elaphoglossum, we examined DNA-calibrated divergence time estimates against the age of the amber deposits from which it came.• The fossil belongs to Elaphoglossum and is the first of a bolbitidoid fern. Its assignment to a particular section of Elaphoglossum could not be determined; however, sects. Lepidoglossa, Polytrichia, and Setosa can be discounted because the fossil lacks subulate scales or scales with acicular marginal hairs. Thus, the fossil might belong to either sects. Amygdalifolia, Wrightiana, Elaphoglossum, or Squamipedia or to an extinct lineage.• The discovery of a Miocene Elaphoglossum fossil provides remarkable support to current molecular clock-based estimates of the diversification of these ferns. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  17. Insights on nitrate sources at Dome C (East Antarctic Plateau from multi-year aerosol and snow records

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rita Traversi


    Full Text Available Here we present the first multi-year record of nitrate in the atmospheric aerosol (2005–2008 and surface snow (2006–08 from central Antarctica. PM10 and size-segregated aerosol, together with superficial snow, have been collected all year-round at high resolution (daily for all the snow samples and for most of aerosol samples at Dome C since the 2004/05 field season and analysed for main and trace ionic markers. The suitability of the sampling location in terms of possible contamination from the base is shown in detail. In spite of the relevance of nitrate in Antarctic atmosphere, both for better understanding the chemistry of N cycle in the plateau boundary layer and for improving the interpretation of long-term nitrate records from deep ice core records, nitrate sources in Antarctica are not well constrained yet, neither in extent nor in timing. A recurring seasonal pattern was pointed out in both aerosol and snow records, showing summer maxima and winter minima, although aerosol maxima lead the snow ones of 1–2 months, possibly due to a higher acidity in the atmosphere in mid-summer, favouring the repartition of nitrate as nitric acid and thus its uptake by the surface snow layers. On the basis of a meteorological analysis of one major nitrate event, of data related to PSC I extent and of irradiance values, we propose that the high nitrate summer levels in aerosol and snow are likely due to a synergy of enhanced source of nitrate and/or its precursors (such as the stratospheric inputs, higher solar irradiance and higher oxidation rates in this season. Moreover, we show here a further evidence of the substantial contribution of HNO3/NOx re-emission from the snowpack, already shown in previous works, and which can explain a significant fraction of atmospheric nitrate, maintaining the same seasonal pattern in the snow. As concerning snow specifically, the presented data suggest that nitrate is likely to be controlled mainly by atmospheric

  18. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction (United States)

    Raup, D. M.


    There is increasing evidence that events in space have had direct effects on Earth history and on the history of life on Earth. Nowhere is this more evident than in mass extinction. The biosphere has undergone repeated devastation caused by relatively short-lived environmental stress, with species kill rates up to 80 and 95%. For five of the mass extinctions, geochemical or other evidence was reported suggesting large body impact as the cause of the environmental stress producing the extinctions. It was argued on statistical ground that the major extinction events are uniformly periodic in geological time. If it is true that large body impact is a principal cause of mass extinctions and if the periodicity is real, than a cosmic driving mechanism is inescapable. Paleontological data sets were developed which detail the ranges in geological time of about 4,000 families and 25,000 genera of fossil marine organisms. Analyses to date have concentrated on the most recent 250 million years. Associated with these studies are analyses of other aspects of Earth history which may have signatures indicative of extraterrestrial effects.

  19. Antarctic Ice Sheet Discharge Driven by Atmosphere-Ocean Feedbacks Across the Last Glacial Termination (United States)

    Fogwill, C. J.; Turney, C. S.; Golledge, N. R.; Etheridge, D. M.; Rubino, M.; Thornton, D.; Baker, A.; Weber, M. E.; Woodward, J.; van Ommen, T. D.; Moy, A. D.; Davies, S. M.; Bird, M. I.; Winter, K.; Munksgaard, N.; Menviel, L.; Rootes, C.; Vohra, J.; Rivera, A.; Cooper, A.


    Reconstructing the dynamic response of the Antarctic ice sheets to warming during the Last Glacial Termination (LGT; 18,000-11,650 yrs ago) allows us to identify ice-climate feedbacks that could improve future projections1,2. Whilst the sequence of events during this period are reasonably well-known, relatively poor chronological control has precluded precise alignment of ice, atmospheric and marine records2, making it difficult to assess relationships between Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics, climate change and sea-level rise3-5. Here we present results from a highly-resolved `horizontal ice core'6,7 from the Weddell Sea Embayment, which records millennial-scale ice-sheet dynamics across this extensive sector of Antarctica. Counterintuitively, we find ice-sheet surface drawdown of 600 m across the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR; 14,600-12,700 yrs ago)5, with stabilisation during the subsequent millennia of atmospheric warming. Earth system and ice-sheet modelling highlights that this response was likely sustained by strong ocean-ice feedbacks4,8; however, the drivers remain uncertain. Given the coincidence of the ice-sheet changes recorded with marked shifts in atmospheric circulation9,10,11we suggest that millennial-scale Antarctic ice-sheet behaviour was initiated and sustained by global atmospheric teleconnections across the LGT. This has important ramifications ice-sheet stability under contemporary climate change, with changing atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. 1 Collins, M. et al. in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. 2 Weber, M. E. et al. Nature 510, 134-138, (2014). 3 Weaver, A. J., et al., Science 299, 1709-1713, (2003). 4 Golledge, N. R. et al. Nat Commun 5, (2014). 5 Pedro, J. B. et al. Nature Geosci9. 51-55 (2015). 6 Turney, C. S. M. et al. Journal of Quaternary Science 28, 697-704 (2013). 7 Winter, K. et al. Geophys. Res. Lett.43. 5. 2019-2026 (2016). 8 Menviel, L., A. et al., Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 1155-1172 (2011). 9 Hogg

  20. Neoglacial Antarctic sea-ice expansion driven by mid-Holocene retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf. (United States)

    Bendle, J. A.; Newton, K.; Mckay, R. M.; Crosta, X.; Etourneau, J.; Anya, A. B.; Seki, O.; Golledge, N. R.; Bertler, N. A. N.; Willmott, V.; Schouten, S.; Riesselman, C. R.; Masse, G.; Dunbar, R. B.


    Recent decades have seen expanding Antarctic sea-ice coverage, coeval with thinning West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) ice shelves and the rapid freshening of surface and bottom waters along the Antarctic margin. The mid-Holocene Neoglacial transition represents the last comparable baseline shift in sea-ice behaviour. The drivers and feedbacks involved in both the recent and Holocene events are poorly understood and characterised by large proxy-model mismatches. We present new records of compound specific fatty acid isotope analyses (δ2H-FA), highly-branched isoprenoid alkenes (HBIs) TEX86L temperatures, grain-size, mass accumulations rates (MARs) and image analyses from a 171m Holocene sediment sequence from Site U1357 (IODP leg 318). In combination with published records we reconstruct Holocene changes in glacial meltwater, sedimentary inputs and sea-ice. The early Holocene (11 to 10 ka) is characterised by large fluctuations in inputs of deglacial meltwater and sediments and seismic evidence of downlapping material from the south, suggesting a dominating influence from glacial retreat of the local outlet glaciers. From 10 to 8 ka there is decreasing meltwater inputs, an onlapping drift and advection of material from the east. After ca. 8 ka positively correlated δ2H-FA and MARs infer that pulses of glacial melt correlate to stronger easterly currents, driving erosion of material from upstream banks and that the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) becomes a major influence. A large mid-Holocene meltwater pulse (preceded by warming TEX86L temperatures) is evident between ca. 6 to 4.5 ka, culminating in a rapid and permanent increase in sea-ice from 4.5 ka. This is coeval with cosmogenic nuclide evidence for a rapid thinning of the Antarctic ice sheet during the mid-Holocene (Hein et al., 2016). We suggest this represents a final major pulse of deglaciation from the Ross Ice Shelf, which initiates the Neoglacial, driving cool surface waters along the coast and greater sea

  1. Calcium-phosphate biomineralization induced by alkaline phosphatase activity in Escherichia coli: localization, kinetics and potential signatures in the fossil record (United States)

    Cosmidis, Julie; Benzerara, Karim; Guyot, François; Skouri-Panet, Fériel; Duprat, Elodie; Férard, Céline; Guigner, Jean-Michel; Babonneau, Florence; Coelho, Cristina


    Bacteria are thought to play an important role in the formation of calcium-phosphate minerals composing marine phosphorites, as supported by the common occurrence of fossil microbes in these rocks. Phosphatase enzymes may play a key role in this process. Indeed, they may increase the supersaturation with respect to Ca-phosphates by releasing orthophosphate ions following hydrolysis of organic phosphorus. However, several questions remain unanswered about the cellular-level mechanisms involved in this model, and its potential signatures in the mineral products. We studied Ca-phosphate precipitation by different strains of Escherichia coli which were genetically modified to differ in the abundance and cellular localization of the alkaline phosphatase (PHO A) produced. The mineral precipitated by either E. coli or purified PHO A was invariably identified as a carbonate-free non-stoichiometric hydroxyapatite. However, the bacterial precipitates could be discriminated from the ones formed by purified PHO A at the nano-scale. PHO A localization was shown to influence the pattern of Ca-phosphate nucleation and growth. Finally, the rate of calcification was proved to be consistent with the PHO A enzyme kinetics. Overall, this study provides mechanistic keys to better understand phosphogenesis in the environment, and experimental references to better interpret the microbial fossil record in phosphorites.

  2. Carbon dioxide emissions of Antarctic tourism

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Farreny, R.; Oliver-Solà, J.; Lamers, M.A.J.; Amelung, B.; Gabarrell, X.; Rieradevall, J.; Boada, M.; Benayas, J.


    The increase of tourism to the Antarctic continent may entail not only local but also global environmental impacts. These latter impacts, which are mainly caused by transport, have been generally ignored. As a result, there is a lack of data on the global impacts of Antarctic tourism in terms of

  3. Archival processes of the water stable isotope signal in East Antarctic ice cores (United States)

    Casado, Mathieu; Landais, Amaelle; Picard, Ghislain; Münch, Thomas; Laepple, Thomas; Stenni, Barbara; Dreossi, Giuliano; Ekaykin, Alexey; Arnaud, Laurent; Genthon, Christophe; Touzeau, Alexandra; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie; Jouzel, Jean


    The oldest ice core records are obtained from the East Antarctic Plateau. Water isotopes are key proxies to reconstructing past climatic conditions over the ice sheet and at the evaporation source. The accuracy of climate reconstructions depends on knowledge of all processes affecting water vapour, precipitation and snow isotopic compositions. Fractionation processes are well understood and can be integrated in trajectory-based Rayleigh distillation and isotope-enabled climate models. However, a quantitative understanding of processes potentially altering snow isotopic composition after deposition is still missing. In low-accumulation sites, such as those found in East Antarctica, these poorly constrained processes are likely to play a significant role and limit the interpretability of an ice core's isotopic composition. By combining observations of isotopic composition in vapour, precipitation, surface snow and buried snow from Dome C, a deep ice core site on the East Antarctic Plateau, we found indications of a seasonal impact of metamorphism on the surface snow isotopic signal when compared to the initial precipitation. Particularly in summer, exchanges of water molecules between vapour and snow are driven by the diurnal sublimation-condensation cycles. Overall, we observe in between precipitation events modification of the surface snow isotopic composition. Using high-resolution water isotopic composition profiles from snow pits at five Antarctic sites with different accumulation rates, we identified common patterns which cannot be attributed to the seasonal variability of precipitation. These differences in the precipitation, surface snow and buried snow isotopic composition provide evidence of post-deposition processes affecting ice core records in low-accumulation areas.

  4. The Fossile Episode


    Hassler, John; Sinn, Hans-Werner


    We build a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model with one-sided substitutability between fossil carbon and biocarbon. One shock only, the discovery of the technology to use fossil fuels, leads to a transition from an inital pre-industrial phase to three following phases: a pure fossil carbon phase, a mixed fossil and biocarbon phase and an absorbing biocarbon phase. The increased competition for biocarbon during phase 3 and 4 leads to increasing food prices. We provide closed form expr...

  5. The Fossil Episode


    John Hassler; Hans-Werner Sinn


    We build a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model with one-sided substitutability between fossil carbon and biocarbon. One shock only, the discovery of the technology to use fossil fuels, leads to a transition from an initial pre-industrial phase to three following phases: a pure fossil carbon phase, a mixed fossil and biocarbon phase and an absorbing biocarbon phase. The increased competition for biocarbon during phase 3 and 4 leads to increasing food prices. We provide closed form exp...

  6. Increased West Antarctic and unchanged East Antarctic ice discharge over the last 7 years (United States)

    Gardner, Alex S.; Moholdt, Geir; Scambos, Ted; Fahnstock, Mark; Ligtenberg, Stefan; van den Broeke, Michiel; Nilsson, Johan


    Ice discharge from large ice sheets plays a direct role in determining rates of sea-level rise. We map present-day Antarctic-wide surface velocities using Landsat 7 and 8 imagery spanning 2013-2015 and compare to earlier estimates derived from synthetic aperture radar, revealing heterogeneous changes in ice flow since ˜ 2008. The new mapping provides complete coastal and inland coverage of ice velocity north of 82.4° S with a mean error of image pairs acquired during the daylight period. Using an optimized flux gate, ice discharge from Antarctica is 1929 ± 40 Gigatons per year (Gt yr-1) in 2015, an increase of 36 ± 15 Gt yr-1 from the time of the radar mapping. Flow accelerations across the grounding lines of West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, Getz Ice Shelf and Marguerite Bay on the western Antarctic Peninsula, account for 88 % of this increase. In contrast, glaciers draining the East Antarctic Ice Sheet have been remarkably constant over the period of observation. Including modeled rates of snow accumulation and basal melt, the Antarctic ice sheet lost ice at an average rate of 183 ± 94 Gt yr-1 between 2008 and 2015. The modest increase in ice discharge over the past 7 years is contrasted by high rates of ice sheet mass loss and distinct spatial patters of elevation lowering. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is experiencing high rates of mass loss and displays distinct patterns of elevation lowering that point to a dynamic imbalance. We find modest increase in ice discharge over the past 7 years, which suggests that the recent pattern of mass loss in Antarctica is part of a longer-term phase of enhanced glacier flow initiated in the decades leading up to the first continent-wide radar mapping of ice flow.

  7. Chilean Antarctic Stations on King George Island


    Katsutada Kaminuma


    The purpose of my visit to Chilean Antarctic Stations was to assess the present status of geophysical observations and research, as the South Shetland Island, West Antarctica, where the stations are located, are one of the most active tectonic regions on the Antarctic plate. The Instituto Antartico Chileno (INACH) kindly gave me a chance to stay in Frei/Escudero Bases as an exchange scientist under the Antarctic Treaty for two weeks in January 2000. I stayed in Frei Base as a member of a geol...

  8. Terrestrial and exposure histories of Antarctic meteorites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nishiizumi, K.


    Records of cosmogenic effects were studied in a large suite of Antarctic meteorites. The cosmogenic nuclide measurements together with cosmic ray track measurements on Antartic meteorites provide information such as exposure age, terrestrial age, size and depth in meteoroid or parent body, influx rate in the past, and pairing. The terrestrail age is the time period between the fall of the meteorite on the Earth and the present. To define terrestrial age, two or more nuclides with different half-lives and possibly noble gases are required. The cosmogenic radionuclides used are C-14, Kr-81, Cl-36, Al-26, Be-10, Mn-53, and K-40

  9. Terrestrial and exposure histories of Antarctic meteorites (United States)

    Nishiizumi, K.


    Records of cosmogenic effects were studied in a large suite of Antarctic meteorites. The cosmogenic nuclide measurements together with cosmic ray track measurements on Antartic meteorites provide information such as exposure age, terrestrial age, size and depth in meteoroid or parent body, influx rate in the past, and pairing. The terrestrail age is the time period between the fall of the meteorite on the Earth and the present. To define terrestrial age, two or more nuclides with different half-lives and possibly noble gases are required. The cosmogenic radionuclides used are C-14, Kr-81, Cl-36, Al-26, Be-10, Mn-53, and K-40.

  10. Fossil nutlets of Boraginaceae from the continental Eocene of Hamada of Méridja (southwestern Algeria): The first fossil of the Borage family in Africa. (United States)

    Hammouda, Sid Ahmed; Weigend, Maximilian; Mebrouk, Fateh; Chacón, Juliana; Bensalah, Mustapha; Ensikat, Hans-Jürgen; Adaci, Mohammed


    The Paleogene deposits of the Hamada of Méridja, southwestern Algeria, are currently dated as lower-to-middle Eocene in age based on fossil gastropods and charophytes. Here we report the presence of fruits that can be assigned to the Boraginaceae s.str., apparently representing the first fossil record for this family in Africa, shedding new light on the historical biogeography of this group. Microscopic studies of the fossil nutlets were carried out and compared to extant Boraginaceae nutlets, and to types reported in the literature for this family. The fossils are strikingly similar in general size and morphology, particularly in the finer details of the attachment scar and ornamentation, to nutlets of extant representatives of the Boraginaceae tribe Echiochileae, and especially the genus Ogastemma. We believe that these nutlets represent an extinct member of this lineage. The Ogastemma-like fossils indicate that the Echiochileae, which are most diverse in northern Africa and southwestern Asia, have a long history in this region, dating back to the Eocene. This tribe corresponds to the basal-most clade in Boraginaceae s.str., and the fossils described here agree well with an assumed African origin of the family and the Boraginales I, providing an important additional calibration point for dating the phylogenies of this clade. © 2015 Botanical Society of America.

  11. Putting fossils on the map: Applying a geographical information system to heritage resources

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Merrill van der Walt


    Full Text Available A geographical information system (GIS database was compiled of Permo-Triassic tetrapod fossils from the Karoo Supergoup in South African museum collections. This database is the first of its kind and has great time applicability for understanding tetrapod biodiversity change though time more than 200 million years ago. Because the museum catalogues all differed in recorded information and were not compliant with field capture requirements, this information had to be standardised to a format that could be utilised for archival and research application. Our paper focuses on the processes involved in building the GIS project, capturing metadata on fossil collections and formulating future best practices. The result is a multi-layered GIS database of the tetrapod fossil record of the Beaufort Group of South Africa for use as an accurate research tool in palaeo- and geoscience research with applications for ecology, ecosystems, stratigraphy and basin development.

  12. The first fossil salmonfly (Insecta: Plecoptera: Pteronarcyidae), back to the Middle Jurassic. (United States)

    Cui, Yingying; Béthoux, Olivier; Kondratieff, Boris; Shih, Chungkun; Ren, Dong


    The fossil record of Plecoptera (stoneflies) is considered relatively complete, with stem-groups of each of the three major lineages, viz. Antarctoperlaria, Euholognatha and Systellognatha (and some of their families) represented in the Mesozoic. However, the family Pteronarcyidae (the salmonflies; including two genera, Pteronarcys and Pteronarcella) has no fossil record to date, and the family has been suggested to have diverged recently. In this paper, we report on a set of specimens belonging to a new fossil species of stonefly, discovered from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou locality (China). Our comparative analysis of wing venation and body characters demonstrates that the new species belongs to the Pteronarcyidae, and is more closely related to Pteronarcys than to Pteronarcella. However, it differs from all known species of the former genus. It is therefore assigned to a new genus and named Pteroliriope sinitshenkovae gen. et sp. nov. under the traditional nomenclatural procedure. The cladotypic nomenclatural procedure is also employed, with the resulting combination Pteroliriope nec Pteronarcys sinitshenkovae sp. nov. The first discovery of a fossil member of the Pteronarcyidae demonstrates that the corresponding lineage is not a very recent offshoot but was already present ca. 165 million years ago. This discovery concurs with the view that divergence of most stonefly families took place very early, probably in the Triassic, or even in the Permian. This contribution demonstrates the need for (re-)investigations of the systematics of fossil stoneflies to refine divergence date estimates for Plecoptera lineages.

  13. A dating success story: genomes and fossils converge on placental mammal origins

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Goswami Anjali


    Full Text Available Abstract The timing of the placental mammal radiation has been a source of contention for decades. The fossil record of mammals extends over 200 million years, but no confirmed placental mammal fossils are known prior to 64 million years ago, which is approximately 1.5 million years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg mass extinction that saw the end of non-avian dinosaurs. Thus, it came as a great surprise when the first published molecular clock studies suggested that placental mammals originated instead far back in the Cretaceous, in some cases doubling divergence estimates based on fossils. In the last few decades, more than a hundred new genera of Mesozoic mammals have been discovered, and molecular divergence studies have grown from simple clock-like models applied to a few genes to sophisticated analyses of entire genomes. Yet, molecular and fossil-based divergence estimates for placental mammal origins have remained remote, with knock-on effects for macro-scale reconstructions of mammal evolution. A few recent molecular studies have begun to converge with fossil-based estimates, and a new phylogenomic study in particular shows that the palaeontological record was mostly correct; most placental mammal orders diversified after the K-Pg mass extinction. While a small gap still remains for Late Cretaceous supraordinal divergences, this study has significantly improved the congruence between molecular and palaeontological data and heralds a broader integration of these fields of evolutionary science.

  14. Uranium concentration in fossils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Okano, J.; Uyeda, C.


    Recently it is known that fossil bones tend to accumulate uranium. The uranium concentration, C u in fossils has been measured so far by γ ray spectroscopy or by fission track method. The authors applied secondary ion mass spectrometry, SIMS, to detect the uranium in fossil samples. The purpose of this work is to investigate the possibility of semi-quantitative analyses of uranium in fossils, and to study the correlation between C u and the age of fossil bones. The further purpose of this work is to apply SIMS to measure the distribution of C u in fossil teeth

  15. Glacier extent in sub-Antarctic Kerguelen archipelago from MIS 3 period: Evidence from 36Cl dating (United States)

    Jomelli, Vincent; Schimmelpfennig, Irene; Favier, Vincent; Mokadem, Fatima; Landais, Amaelle; Rinterknecht, Vincent; Brunstein, Daniel; Verfaillie, Deborah; Legentil, Claude; Aumaitre, Georges; Bourlès, Didier L.; Keddadouche, Karim


    Documenting sub-Antarctic glacier variations during the local last glacial maximum is of major interest to better understand their sensitivity to atmospheric and oceanic temperature changes in conjunction with Antarctic ice sheet changes. However, data are sparse because evidence of earlier glacier extents is for most sub-Antarctic islands located offshore making their observation complex. Here, we present 22 cosmogenic 36Cl surface exposure ages obtained from five sites at Kerguelen to document the glacial history. The 36Cl ages from roche moutonnee surfaces, erratics and boulders collected on moraines span from 41.9 ± 4.4 ka to 14.3 ± 1.1 ka. Ice began to retreat on the eastern part of the main island before 41.4 ± 4.4 ka. Slow deglaciation occurred from ∼41 to ∼29 ka. There is no evidence of advances between 29 ka and the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR) period (∼14.5-12.9 ka) period. During the ACR, however, the Bontemps and possibly Belvedere moraines were formed by the advance of a Cook Ice Cap outlet glacier and a local glacier on the Presque Ile Jeanne d'Arc, respectively. This glacier evolution differs partly from that of glaciers in New Zealand and in Patagonia. These asynchronous glacier changes in the sub-Antarctic region are however in agreement with sea surface temperature changes recorded around Antarctica, which suggest differences in the climate evolution of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic sectors of Antarctica.

  16. Reconsidering connectivity in the sub-Antarctic. (United States)

    Moon, Katherine L; Chown, Steven L; Fraser, Ceridwen I


    Extreme and remote environments provide useful settings to test ideas about the ecological and evolutionary drivers of biological diversity. In the sub-Antarctic, isolation by geographic, geological and glaciological processes has long been thought to underpin patterns in the region's terrestrial and marine diversity. Molecular studies using increasingly high-resolution data are, however, challenging this perspective, demonstrating that many taxa disperse among distant sub-Antarctic landmasses. Here, we reconsider connectivity in the sub-Antarctic region, identifying which taxa are relatively isolated, which are well connected, and the scales across which this connectivity occurs in both terrestrial and marine systems. Although many organisms show evidence of occasional long-distance, trans-oceanic dispersal, these events are often insufficient to maintain gene flow across the region. Species that do show evidence of connectivity across large distances include both active dispersers and more sedentary species. Overall, connectivity patterns in the sub-Antarctic at intra- and inter-island scales are highly complex, influenced by life-history traits and local dynamics such as relative dispersal capacity and propagule pressure, natal philopatry, feeding associations, the extent of human exploitation, past climate cycles, contemporary climate, and physical barriers to movement. An increasing use of molecular data - particularly genomic data sets that can reveal fine-scale patterns - and more effective international collaboration and communication that facilitates integration of data from across the sub-Antarctic, are providing fresh insights into the processes driving patterns of diversity in the region. These insights offer a platform for assessing the ways in which changing dispersal mechanisms, such as through increasing human activity and changes to wind and ocean circulation, may alter sub-Antarctic biodiversity patterns in the future. © 2017 Cambridge

  17. Environmental radioactivity in the antarctic station

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gonzalez, S.; Osores, J.; Martinez, J.; Lopez, E.; Jara, R.


    Study about environmental radioactivity in the Peruvian antarctic station Machu Pichu they were carried out during the last three periods to the southern summer. The objective of the project it is to evaluate environmental component in order to elaborate a study it base on the levels background radioactivity and artificial in the antarctic region

  18. A Total-Evidence Approach to Dating with Fossils, Applied to the Early Radiation of the Hymenoptera (United States)

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L.; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P.


    Abstract Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.] PMID:22723471

  19. Modes of fossil preservation (United States)

    Schopf, J.M.


    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  20. Simulating a Dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Early to Middle Miocene (United States)

    Gasson, E.; DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.; Levy, R. H.


    There are a variety of sources of geological data that suggest major variations in the volume and extent of the Antarctic ice sheet during the early to middle Miocene. Simulating such variability using coupled climate-ice sheet models is problematic due to a strong hysteresis effect caused by height-mass balance feedback and albedo feedback. This results in limited retreat of the ice sheet once it has reached the continental size, as likely occurred prior to the Miocene. Proxy records suggest a relatively narrow range of atmospheric CO2 during the early to middle Miocene, which exacerbates this problem. We use a new climate forcing which accounts for ice sheet-climate feedbacks through an asynchronous GCM-RCM coupling, which is able to better resolve the narrow Antarctic ablation zone in warm climate simulations. When combined with recently suggested mechanisms for retreat into subglacial basins due to ice shelf hydrofracture and ice cliff failure, we are able to simulate large-scale variability of the Antarctic ice sheet in the Miocene. This variability is equivalent to a seawater oxygen isotope signal of ~0.5 ‰, or a sea level equivalent change of ~35 m, for a range of atmospheric CO2 between 280 - 500 ppm.

  1. Global patterns of insect diversification: towards a reconciliation of fossil and molecular evidence? (United States)

    Condamine, Fabien L; Clapham, Matthew E; Kergoat, Gael J


    Macroevolutionary studies of insects at diverse taxonomic scales often reveal dynamic evolutionary patterns, with multiple inferred diversification rate shifts. Responses to major past environmental changes, such as the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, or the development of major key innovations, such as wings or complete metamorphosis are usually invoked as potential evolutionary triggers. However this view is partially contradicted by studies on the family-level fossil record showing that insect diversification was relatively constant through time. In an attempt to reconcile both views, we investigate large-scale insect diversification dynamics at family level using two distinct types of diversification analyses on a molecular timetree representing ca. 82% of the extant families, and reassess the insect fossil diversity using up-to-date records. Analyses focusing on the fossil record recovered an early burst of diversification, declining to low and steady rates through time, interrupted by extinction events. Phylogenetic analyses showed that major shifts of diversification rates only occurred in the four richest holometabolous orders. Both suggest that neither the development of flight or complete metamorphosis nor the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution environmental changes induced immediate changes in diversification regimes; instead clade-specific innovations likely promoted the diversification of major insect orders.

  2. Present knowledge on the fossil mammals record from Chile; Estado actual del conocimiento de los mamiferos fosiles de Chile

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Canto, J.; Yanez, J.; Rovira, J.


    An updated revision is presented regarding fossil mammals of aquatic and terrestrial environments. This update includes up to year 2008. Those registrations of doubtful assignation or that couldn't be confirmed were not considered in this review. These new registrations are classified in four groups of time that extend from the Late Eocene-Early Oligocene to the Pleistocene-Recent. The evidence shows that the greatest quantity of fossils are concentrated from the Early Miocene to the Middle Miocene reaching 37 (41.5%) genus of a total of 77 and 54 (49.5%) fossil species of a total of 89. It is observed a significant increase in works devoted to paleontology of mammal fossils in Chile between 1981-2008. (Author)

  3. Trace Fossil Evidence of Trematode-Bivalve Parasite-Host Interactions in Deep Time. (United States)

    Huntley, John Warren; De Baets, Kenneth


    Parasitism is one of the most pervasive phenomena amongst modern eukaryotic life and yet, relative to other biotic interactions, almost nothing is known about its history in deep time. Digenean trematodes (Platyhelminthes) are complex life cycle parasites, which have practically no body fossil record, but induce the growth of characteristic malformations in the shells of their bivalve hosts. These malformations are readily preserved in the fossil record, but, until recently, have largely been overlooked by students of the fossil record. In this review, we present the various malformations induced by trematodes in bivalves, evaluate their distribution through deep time in the phylogenetic and ecological contexts of their bivalve hosts and explore how various taphonomic processes have likely biased our understanding of trematodes in deep time. Trematodes are known to negatively affect their bivalve hosts in a number of ways including castration, modifying growth rates, causing immobilization and, in some cases, altering host behaviour making the host more susceptible to their own predators. Digeneans are expected to be significant agents of natural selection. To that end, we discuss how bivalves may have adapted to their parasites via heterochrony and suggest a practical methodology for testing such hypotheses in deep time. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Fossil preservation and the stratigraphic ranges of taxa (United States)

    Foote, M.; Raup, D. M.


    The incompleteness of the fossil record hinders the inference of evolutionary rates and patterns. Here, we derive relationships among true taxonomic durations, preservation probability, and observed taxonomic ranges. We use these relationships to estimate original distributions of taxonomic durations, preservation probability, and completeness (proportion of taxa preserved), given only the observed ranges. No data on occurrences within the ranges of taxa are required. When preservation is random and the original distribution of durations is exponential, the inference of durations, preservability, and completeness is exact. However, reasonable approximations are possible given non-exponential duration distributions and temporal and taxonomic variation in preservability. Thus, the approaches we describe have great potential in studies of taphonomy, evolutionary rates and patterns, and genealogy. Analyses of Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician trilobite species, Paleozoic crinoid genera, Jurassic bivalve species, and Cenozoic mammal species yield the following results: (1) The preservation probability inferred from stratigraphic ranges alone agrees with that inferred from the analysis of stratigraphic gaps when data on the latter are available. (2) Whereas median durations based on simple tabulations of observed ranges are biased by stratigraphic resolution, our estimates of median duration, extinction rate, and completeness are not biased.(3) The shorter geologic ranges of mammalian species relative to those of bivalves cannot be attributed to a difference in preservation potential. However, we cannot rule out the contribution of taxonomic practice to this difference. (4) In the groups studied, completeness (proportion of species [trilobites, bivalves, mammals] or genera [crinoids] preserved) ranges from 60% to 90%. The higher estimates of completeness at smaller geographic scales support previous suggestions that the incompleteness of the fossil record reflects loss of

  5. Miocene Fossils Reveal Ancient Roots for New Zealand's Endemic Mystacina (Chiroptera and Its Rainforest Habitat.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suzanne J Hand

    Full Text Available The New Zealand endemic bat family Mystacinidae comprises just two Recent species referred to a single genus, Mystacina. The family was once more diverse and widespread, with an additional six extinct taxa recorded from Australia and New Zealand. Here, a new mystacinid is described from the early Miocene (19-16 Ma St Bathans Fauna of Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand. It is the first pre-Pleistocene record of the modern genus and it extends the evolutionary history of Mystacina back at least 16 million years. Extant Mystacina species occupy old-growth rainforest and are semi-terrestrial with an exceptionally broad omnivorous diet. The majority of the plants inhabited, pollinated, dispersed or eaten by modern Mystacina were well-established in southern New Zealand in the early Miocene, based on the fossil record from sites at or near where the bat fossils are found. Similarly, many of the arthropod prey of living Mystacina are recorded as fossils in the same area. Although none of the Miocene plant and arthropod species is extant, most are closely related to modern taxa, demonstrating potentially long-standing ecological associations with Mystacina.

  6. Mummified fossil woods of Fagaceae from the upper Oligocene of Guangxi, South China (United States)

    Huang, Luliang; Jin, Jianhua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A.


    Three new fossil species, two attributed to the genus Castanopsis (C. nanningensis and C. guangxiensis) and one to the organ genus Lithocarpoxylon (L. nanningensis) are described on the basis of well-preserved mummified wood from the upper Oligocene of Yongning Formation in the Nanning Basin, Guangxi Province, South China. The two species of Castanopsis represent the most ancient reliable wood record of this genus in China and also southeastern Asia, which is the center of diversity of extant species. The fossil leaf records of Castanopsis indicated this genus has migrated to South China in the late Eocene. This fossil wood evidence confirms the presence and persistence of Castanopsis in this region in the late Oligocene. In the Yongning Formation, the presence of numerous Fagaceae woods with faint or absent growth ring boundaries (in C. nanningensis) occasionally associated with prominent ring-porous patterns, suggests that Guangxi (South China) had a seasonal (probably monsoonal) tropical climate during the late Oligocene.

  7. The fossil Osmundales (Royal Ferns)—a phylogenetic network analysis, revised taxonomy, and evolutionary classification of anatomically preserved trunks and rhizomes


    Benjamin Bomfleur; Guido W. Grimm; Stephen McLoughlin


    The Osmundales (Royal Fern order) originated in the late Paleozoic and is the most ancient surviving lineage of leptosporangiate ferns. In contrast to its low diversity today (less than 20 species in six genera), it has the richest fossil record of any extant group of ferns. The structurally preserved trunks and rhizomes alone are referable to more than 100 fossil species that are classified in up to 20 genera, four subfamilies, and two families. This diverse fossil record constitutes an exce...

  8. Investigation of the weathering effect on Rb-Sr systematics and trace element abundances in Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nishikawa, Yoshiyuki; Nakamura, Noboru; Misawa, Keiji; Okano, Osamu; Yamamoto, Koshi; Kagami, Hiroo.


    In order to examine weathering effects on chondritic meteorites in Antarctic and non-Antarctic environments, the Rb-Sr isotopic ratios and abundances of REE, Ba, Sr, Rb, and K were determined for 8H-group chondrites (Yamato-790986 [H3], Yamato-74492 [H3], Grady [H3], Brownfield [H3], Clovis (No.1) [H3], Yamato-74155 [H4], Allegan [H5] [one whole-rock and two chondrules], and Yamato-74371 [H5]), and partly for the Etter (L5) chondrite. The Allegan whole-rock shows a flat REE pattern with a large negative Eu anomaly and Sr depletion. Analyses of Rb-Sr systematics of one whole-rock and two chondrules show somewhat younger age 4.38±0.12 b.y. It is suggested that REE and Rb-Sr were redistributed during the early thermal metamorphism. Except for Allegan, most other H-chondrites (finds) show the perturbation of the Rb-Sr systematics, indicating recent loss of Rb. It was found that the weathering degree is related with the Rb-Sr disturbance in Antarctic H-chondrite. In spite of different degrees of weathering, all the Antarctic H-chondrites studied (including heavily weathered ones) show flat REE patterns normal as H-chondrite with occasional occurrence of minor Eu anomalies, indicating the tough resistance of REE in H-chondrites to the Antarctic weathering. On the other hand, non-Antarctic finds (particularly the weathered chondrites) indicate light-REE enriched patterns with a large negative Ce anomaly and extreme enrichment of Ba, suggestive of terrestrial contaminations. (author)

  9. Cryptic iridescence in a fossil weevil generated by single diamond photonic crystals. (United States)

    McNamara, Maria E; Saranathan, Vinod; Locatelli, Emma R; Noh, Heeso; Briggs, Derek E G; Orr, Patrick J; Cao, Hui


    Nature's most spectacular colours originate in integumentary tissue architectures that scatter light via nanoscale modulations of the refractive index. The most intricate biophotonic nanostructures are three-dimensional crystals with opal, single diamond or single gyroid lattices. Despite intense interest in their optical and structural properties, the evolution of such nanostructures is poorly understood, due in part to a lack of data from the fossil record. Here, we report preservation of single diamond (Fd-3m) three-dimensional photonic crystals in scales of a 735,000 year old specimen of the brown Nearctic weevil Hypera diversipunctata from Gold Run, Canada, and in extant conspecifics. The preserved red to green structural colours exhibit near-field brilliancy yet are inconspicuous from afar; they most likely had cryptic functions in substrate matching. The discovery of pristine fossil examples indicates that the fossil record is likely to yield further data on the evolution of three-dimensional photonic nanostructures and their biological functions. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  10. First records of aphid-pathogenic Entomophthorales in the sub-Antarctic archipelagos of Crozet and Kerguelen


    Bernard Papierok; Charles-Antoine Dedryver; Maurice Hullé


    Since the 20th century, the sub-Antarctic islands have suffered an increasing number of biological invasions. Despite the large number of publications on this topic, there is a lack of knowledge on parasitism rates of invasive species and on the role of parasites and pathogens to regulate their populations. Six aphid species have been introduced in the archipelagos of Crozet (Île de la Possession, 46° 25’ S–51° 51’ E) and Kerguelen (49° 21’ S–70° 13’ E). Five of these species were found infec...

  11. [Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS): a novel approach to reconstructing historical changes of primary productivity in Antarctic lake]. (United States)

    Chen, Qian-Qian; Liu, Xiao-Dong; Liu, Wen-Qi; Jiang, Shan


    Compared with traditional chemical analysis methods, reflectance spectroscopy has the advantages of speed, minimal or no sample preparation, non-destruction, and low cost. In order to explore the potential application of spectroscopy technology in the paleolimnological study on Antarctic lakes, we took a lake sediment core in Mochou Lake at Zhongshan Station of Antarctic, and analyzed the near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) data in the sedimentary samples. The results showed that the factor loadings of principal component analysis (PCA) displayed very similar depth-profile change pattern with the S2 index, a reliable proxy for the change in historical lake primary productivity. The correlation analysis showed that the values of PCA factor loading and S2 were correlated significantly, suggesting that it is feasible to infer paleoproductivity changes recorded in Antarctic lakes using NIRS technology. Compared to the traditional method of the trough area between 650 and 700 nm, the authors found that the PCA statistical approach was more accurate for reconstructing the change in historical lake primary productivity. The results reported here demonstrate that reflectance spectroscopy can provide a rapid method for the reconstruction of lake palaeoenviro nmental change in the remote Antarctic regions.

  12. Increased West Antarctic and unchanged East Antarctic ice discharge over the last 7 years

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. S. Gardner


    Full Text Available Ice discharge from large ice sheets plays a direct role in determining rates of sea-level rise. We map present-day Antarctic-wide surface velocities using Landsat 7 and 8 imagery spanning 2013–2015 and compare to earlier estimates derived from synthetic aperture radar, revealing heterogeneous changes in ice flow since ∼ 2008. The new mapping provides complete coastal and inland coverage of ice velocity north of 82.4° S with a mean error of < 10 m yr−1, resulting from multiple overlapping image pairs acquired during the daylight period. Using an optimized flux gate, ice discharge from Antarctica is 1929 ± 40 Gigatons per year (Gt yr−1 in 2015, an increase of 36 ± 15 Gt yr−1 from the time of the radar mapping. Flow accelerations across the grounding lines of West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, Getz Ice Shelf and Marguerite Bay on the western Antarctic Peninsula, account for 88 % of this increase. In contrast, glaciers draining the East Antarctic Ice Sheet have been remarkably constant over the period of observation. Including modeled rates of snow accumulation and basal melt, the Antarctic ice sheet lost ice at an average rate of 183 ± 94 Gt yr−1 between 2008 and 2015. The modest increase in ice discharge over the past 7 years is contrasted by high rates of ice sheet mass loss and distinct spatial patters of elevation lowering. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is experiencing high rates of mass loss and displays distinct patterns of elevation lowering that point to a dynamic imbalance. We find modest increase in ice discharge over the past 7 years, which suggests that the recent pattern of mass loss in Antarctica is part of a longer-term phase of enhanced glacier flow initiated in the decades leading up to the first continent-wide radar mapping of ice flow.

  13. Monitoring of Antarctic moss ecosystems using a high spatial resolution imaging spectroscopy (United States)

    Malenovsky, Zbynek; Lucieer, Arko; Robinson, Sharon; Harwin, Stephen; Turner, Darren; Veness, Tony


    The most abundant photosynthetically active plants growing along the rocky Antarctic shore are mosses of three species: Schistidium antarctici, Ceratodon purpureus, and Bryum pseudotriquetrum. Even though mosses are well adapted to the extreme climate conditions, their existence in Antarctica depends strongly on availability of liquid water from snowmelt during the short summer season. Recent changes in temperature, wind speed and stratospheric ozone are stimulating faster evaporation, which in turn influences moss growing rate, health state and abundance. This makes them an ideal bio-indicator of the Antarctic climate change. Very short growing season, lasting only about three months, requires a time efficient, easily deployable and spatially resolved method for monitoring the Antarctic moss beds. Ground and/or low-altitude airborne imaging spectroscopy (called also hyperspectral remote sensing) offers a fast and spatially explicit approach to investigate an actual spatial extent and physiological state of moss turfs. A dataset of ground-based spectral images was acquired with a mini-Hyperspec imaging spectrometer (Headwall Inc., the USA) during the Antarctic summer 2012 in the surroundings of the Australian Antarctic station Casey (Windmill Islands). The collection of high spatial resolution spectral images, with pixels about 2 cm in size containing from 162 up to 324 narrow spectral bands of wavelengths between 399 and 998 nm, was accompanied with point moss reflectance measurements recorded with the ASD HandHeld-2 spectroradiometer (Analytical Spectral Devices Inc., the USA). The first spectral analysis indicates significant differences in red-edge and near-infrared reflectance of differently watered moss patches. Contrary to high plants, where the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) represents an estimate of green biomass, NDVI of mosses indicates mainly the actual water content. Similarly to high plants, reflectance of visible wavelengths is

  14. Trace-element analysis of Antarctic H chondrites: Chemical weathering and comparisons with their non-Antarctic counterparts

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kwok, J.E.


    Large numbers of meteorites have been discovered in Antarctica over the last decade (7000 fragments probably representing over 1200 separate events). They are important for their numbers and for their complement of unique or rare specimens; they also have long terrestrial ages (up to 1,000,000 years) compared to non-Antarctic falls (usually < 200 years). We report compositional data for mobile/volatile trace elements Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Co, Cs, In, Rb, Sb, Se, Te, Ti, U, and Zn in a suite of Antarctic H chondrites. Our data show that heavily oxidized H chondrites are leached of a portion of their trace elements and, therefore, have been chemically compromised by their stay in Antarctica. The less oxidized specimens seem to have retained their chemical integrity. We suggest possibilities for using chemical data to measure the degree of a chondrite's chemical weathering. We compare our data to that obtained previously for non-Antarctic H chondrites (Linger et al., 1986), by petrologic type (H4, H5, H6, H4-6) and shock-loading (moderately shocked facies a-c, heavily shocked facies d-f). Many statistically significant differences are found between non-Antarctic and Victoria Land, Antarctica H chondrites of each petrologic type and of shock facies d-f

  15. An evaluation of fossil tip-dating versus node-age calibrations in tetraodontiform fishes (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae). (United States)

    Arcila, Dahiana; Alexander Pyron, R; Tyler, James C; Ortí, Guillermo; Betancur-R, Ricardo


    Time-calibrated phylogenies based on molecular data provide a framework for comparative studies. Calibration methods to combine fossil information with molecular phylogenies are, however, under active development, often generating disagreement about the best way to incorporate paleontological data into these analyses. This study provides an empirical comparison of the most widely used approach based on node-dating priors for relaxed clocks implemented in the programs BEAST and MrBayes, with two recently proposed improvements: one using a new fossilized birth-death process model for node dating (implemented in the program DPPDiv), and the other using a total-evidence or tip-dating method (implemented in MrBayes and BEAST). These methods are applied herein to tetraodontiform fishes, a diverse group of living and extinct taxa that features one of the most extensive fossil records among teleosts. Previous estimates of time-calibrated phylogenies of tetraodontiforms using node-dating methods reported disparate estimates for their age of origin, ranging from the late Jurassic to the early Paleocene (ca. 150-59Ma). We analyzed a comprehensive dataset with 16 loci and 210 morphological characters, including 131 taxa (95 extant and 36 fossil species) representing all families of fossil and extant tetraodontiforms, under different molecular clock calibration approaches. Results from node-dating methods produced consistently younger ages than the tip-dating approaches. The older ages inferred by tip dating imply an unlikely early-late Jurassic (ca. 185-119Ma) origin for this order and the existence of extended ghost lineages in their fossil record. Node-based methods, by contrast, produce time estimates that are more consistent with the stratigraphic record, suggesting a late Cretaceous (ca. 86-96Ma) origin. We show that the precision of clade age estimates using tip dating increases with the number of fossils analyzed and with the proximity of fossil taxa to the node under

  16. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)



    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume II provides the model equations with each of their variables defined, while Volume III lists the equations, and a one line definition for equations, in a shorter, more readable format.

  17. Ultimate Eocene (Priabonian) Chondrichthyans (Holocephali, Elasmobranchii) of Antarctica. (United States)

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Engelbrecht, Andrea; Mörs, Thomas; Reguero, Marcelo; Pfaff, Cathrin


    The Eocene La Meseta Formation on Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula, is known for its remarkable wealth of fossil remains of chondrichthyans and teleosts. Chondrichthyans seemingly were dominant elements in the Antarctic Paleogene fish fauna, but decreased in abundance from middle to late Eocene, during which time remains of bony fishes increase. This decline of chondrichthyans at the end of the Eocene generally is related to sudden cooling of seawater, reduction in shelf area, and increasing shelf depth due to the onset of the Antarctic thermal isolation. The last chondrichthyan records known so far include a chimeroid tooth plate from TELM 6 (Lutetian) and a single pristiophorid rostral spine from TELM 7 (Priabonian). Here, we present new chondrichthyan records of Squalus , Squatina , Pristiophorus , Striatolamia , Palaeohypotodus , Carcharocles , and Ischyodus from the upper parts of TELM 7 (Priabonian), including the first record of Carcharocles sokolovi from Antarctica. This assemblage suggests that chondrichthyans persisted much longer in Antarctic waters despite rather cool sea surface temperatures of approximately 5°C. The final disappearance of chondrichthyans at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary concurs with abrupt ice sheet formation in Antarctica. Diversity patterns of chondrichthyans throughout the La Meseta Formation appear to be related to climatic conditions rather than plate tectonics.

  18. Meteorological observatory for Antarctic data collection

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Grigioni, P.; De Silvestri, L.


    In the last years, a great number of automatic weather stations was installed in Antarctica, with the aim to examine closely the weather and climate of this region and to improve the coverage of measuring points on the Antarctic surface. In 1987 the Italian Antarctic Project started to set up a meteorological network, in an area not completely covered by other countries. Some of the activities performed by the meteorological observatory, concerning technical functions such as maintenance of the AWS's and the execution of radio soundings, or relating to scientific purposes such as validation and elaboration of collected data, are exposed. Finally, some climatological considerations on the thermal behaviour of the Antarctic troposphere such as 'coreless winter', and on the wind field, including katabatic flows in North Victoria Land are described

  19. The Late Pleistocene-Holocene community development in Central and SE-Europe in direct fossil record: scope of the approach, common patterns and inter-regional differences. (United States)

    Horacek, Ivan; Lozek, Vojen


    The information provided by modern instrumental approaches (molecular phylogeography, ancient DNA analyses, large scale radiocarbon datings etc.) refined the knowledge on Late Quaternary faunal development and range history of particular taxa in essential way. Nevertheless, the direct fossil record remains still an essential substrate in study of that topics, and to reveal all the information, that it may provide, and integrate it with the outputs of the other approaches presents one of the essential aim of the present meeting. Unfortunately, the immediate use of fossil record for the paleoecologic and paleobiogeographic inferences is often limited by its fragmentarity (both in temporal and spatial respects), taphonomic influences and/or locally specific post-sedimentary effects which all may bias it in a considerable degree. Hence, each particular record is to be carefully reexamined in respect to all factor which may bias it - unfortunately, often it is not too easy to respond that task, particularly when the record is retrived from secondary sources. It should also be remembered that the records representing narrow time slices without a robust lithostratigraphic context do not provide any information on the historical and contextual setting of the respective faunal situation. Such information that is essential for reconstructions of paleobiogeography of community development and similar locally-sensitive phenomena can only be retrived from the continuous sedimentary series which establish the sequence of particular faunal events by direct superposition. A sufficiently dense network of such series provides than a possibility of direct inter-regional comparisons and a high resolution information on the paleobiogeography of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene rearrangements of mammalian communities, local variation in history of particular species and its community context. We illustrate productivity of such approach on with aid of the fossil record obtained from

  20. Fossil Fuels. (United States)

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  1. Total-Evidence Dating under the Fossilized Birth-Death Process. (United States)

    Zhang, Chi; Stadler, Tanja; Klopfstein, Seraina; Heath, Tracy A; Ronquist, Fredrik


    Bayesian total-evidence dating involves the simultaneous analysis of morphological data from the fossil record and morphological and sequence data from recent organisms, and it accommodates the uncertainty in the placement of fossils while dating the phylogenetic tree. Due to the flexibility of the Bayesian approach, total-evidence dating can also incorporate additional sources of information. Here, we take advantage of this and expand the analysis to include information about fossilization and sampling processes. Our work is based on the recently described fossilized birth-death (FBD) process, which has been used to model speciation, extinction, and fossilization rates that can vary over time in a piecewise manner. So far, sampling of extant and fossil taxa has been assumed to be either complete or uniformly at random, an assumption which is only valid for a minority of data sets. We therefore extend the FBD process to accommodate diversified sampling of extant taxa, which is standard practice in studies of higher-level taxa. We verify the implementation using simulations and apply it to the early radiation of Hymenoptera (wasps, ants, and bees). Previous total-evidence dating analyses of this data set were based on a simple uniform tree prior and dated the initial radiation of extant Hymenoptera to the late Carboniferous (309 Ma). The analyses using the FBD prior under diversified sampling, however, date the radiation to the Triassic and Permian (252 Ma), slightly older than the age of the oldest hymenopteran fossils. By exploring a variety of FBD model assumptions, we show that it is mainly the accommodation of diversified sampling that causes the push toward more recent divergence times. Accounting for diversified sampling thus has the potential to close the long-discussed gap between rocks and clocks. We conclude that the explicit modeling of fossilization and sampling processes can improve divergence time estimates, but only if all important model aspects

  2. High-resolution δ13C record of fossil wood and bulk organic matter from a deep Oligocene lacustrine succession, Bach Long Vi Island, Vietnam (United States)

    Rizzi, M.; Schovsbo, N. H.; Fyhn, M. B. W.; Korte, C.


    We present a high-resolution stable isotope record based on bulk organic matter (δ13Corg) and fossil wood (δ13Cwood) originating from Oligocene deep lacustrine sediments cored on the Bach Long Vi Island, northern Gulf of Tonkin, offshore Vietnam. The sediments are exceptionally well preserved. They are thus excellently suited for a detailed stratigraphical analysis of the stable isotope record and as proxy for environmental and climatic changes within this period. The sediments were deposited in rapid subsiding, narrow and elongated fault-bound graben (Fyhn and Phach, 2015) and are represented by deep pelagic lacustrine organic-rich mud interrupted by numerous density-flow deposits (Hovikoski et al., 2016). The density-flow deposits contain abundant fragments of fossil wood. Therefore it was possible to obtain 262 coalified wood fragments together with 1063 bulk organic samples throughout the span of the core. This allowed to establish a high resolution stable C isotope record (δ13Corg and δ13Cwood). In addition 2464 handheld XRF determinations were carried out to further characterize the depositional environment (Rizzi et al., 2017). The organic carbon isotope trend from the 500 m core succession provides insight into the palaeoenvironmental changes of the lake during the Oligocene. Both, global and local factors control the δ13C variations. The aim of the study is to obtain pure global δ13Corg and δ13Cwood signals that would allow comparison of the studied sediments with coeval syn-rift successions in the South China Sea region and other parts of the world. [1] Fyhn and Phach (2015) Tectonics, 34(2): 290-312. [2] Hovikoski et al. (2016) Journal of Sedimentary Research, 86(8): 982-1007. [3] Rizzi et al. (2017) EGU General Assembly Abstract EGU 2017-17584.

  3. Antarctic snow and global climate

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Granberg, H.B.


    Global circulation models (GCM) indicate that global warming will be most pronounced at polar regions and high latitudes, causing concern about the stability of the Antarctic ice cap. A project entitled the Seasonal Snow in Antarctica examined the properties of the near surface snow to determine the current conditions that influence snow cover development. The goal was to assess the response of the snow cover in Queen Maud Land (QML) to an increased atmospheric carbon dioxide content. The Antarctic snow cover in QML was examined as part of the FINNARP expeditions in 1999 and 2000 which examined the processes that influence the snow cover. Its energy and mass balance were also assessed by examining the near surface snow strata in shallow (1-2 m) pits and by taking measurements of environmental variables. This made it possible to determine if the glacier is in danger of melting at this northerly location in the Antarctic. The study also made it possible to determine which variables need to change and by how much, for significant melting to occur. It was shown that the Antarctic anticyclone creates particular conditions that protect the snow cover from melting. The anticyclone brings dry air from the stratosphere during most of the year and is exempt from the water vapour feedback. It was concluded that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will not produce major snow melt runoff. 8 refs

  4. Reaching for the Horizon: Enabling 21st Century Antarctic Science (United States)

    Rogan-Finnemore, M.; Kennicutt, M. C., II; Kim, Y.


    The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs' (COMNAP) Antarctic Roadmap Challenges(ARC) project translated the 80 highest priority Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific questionsidentified by the community via the SCAR Antarctic Science Horizon Scan into the highest prioritytechnological, access, infrastructure and logistics needs to enable the necessary research to answer thequestions. A workshop assembled expert and experienced Antarctic scientists and National AntarcticProgram operators from around the globe to discern the highest priority technological needs includingthe current status of development and availability, where the technologies will be utilized in the Antarctic area, at what temporal scales and frequencies the technologies will be employed,and how broadly applicable the technologies are for answering the highest priority scientific questions.Secondly the logistics, access, and infrastructure requirements were defined that are necessary todeliver the science in terms of feasibility including cost and benefit as determined by expected scientific return on investment. Finally, based on consideration of the science objectives and the mix oftechnologies implications for configuring National Antarctic Program logistics capabilities andinfrastructure architecture over the next 20 years were determined. In particular those elements thatwere either of a complexity, requiring long term investments to achieve and/or having an associated cost that realistically can only (or best) be achieved by international coordination, planning and partnerships were identified. Major trends (changes) in logistics, access, and infrastructure requirements were identified that allow for long-term strategic alignment of international capabilities, resources and capacity. The outcomes of this project will be reported.

  5. Psychrotrophic metal tolerant bacteria for mobilisation of metals in Antarctic waters

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Gonsalves, M.J.B.D.

    Cold tolerant psychrotrophic bacteria abound in the Antarctic waters. While Antarctic krills are known to concentrate heavy metals at ppm levels, psychrotrophic bacteria from Antarctic fresh and marine waters have been reported to tolerate them...

  6. New findings of Pleistocene fossil turtles (Geoemydidae, Kinosternidae and Chelydridae from Santa Elena Province, Ecuador

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin A. Cadena


    Full Text Available New Pleistocene fossilized turtle remains from five localities of western Ecuador (Santa Elena Province are described here. All these shell (carapace and plastron fossil remains come from the Tablazo Formation and belong to three different lineages of cryptodires (“hidden-necked” turtles. The most abundant remains belong to geoemydids, attributed here to the genus Rhinoclemmys (indeterminate species. Less abundant in occurrence are the kinosternidids, attributed to Kinosternon (indeterminate species, and the first fossil record of chelydrids, Chelydra(indeterminate species, in the entirety of Central and South America.

  7. New and interesting species of the genus Muelleria (Bacillariophyta) from the Antarctic region and South Africa (United States)

    Van De Vijver, B.; Mataloni, G.; Stanish, L.; Spaulding, S.A.


    During a survey of the terrestrial diatom flora of some sub-Antarctic islands in the southern Indian and Atlantic Oceans and of the Antarctic continent, more than 15 taxa belonging to the genus Muelleria were observed. Nine of these taxa are described as new species using light and scanning electron microscopy. Comments are made on their systematic position and how they are distinguished from other species in the genus. Additionally, two previously unrecognized taxa within the genus were discovered in samples from South Africa. One of these, Muelleria taylorii Van de Vijver & Cocquyt sp. nov., is new to science; the other, Muelleria vandermerwei (Cholnoky) Van de Vijver & Cocquyt nov. comb., had been included in the genus Diploneis. The large number of new Muelleria taxa on the (sub)-Antarctic locations is not surprising. Species in Muelleria occur rarely in collections; in many habitats, it is unusual to find more than 1-2 valves in any slide preparation. As a result, records are scarce. The practice of "force-fitting" (shoehorning) specimens into descriptions from common taxonomic keys (and species drift) results in European species, such as M. gibbula and M. linearis, being applied to Antarctic forms in ecological studies. Finally, the typical terrestrial habitats of soils, mosses and ephemeral water bodies of most of these taxa have been poorly studied in the past.

  8. Biological studies in the Antarctic waters: A review

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Dhargalkar, V.K.

    stream_size 12 stream_content_type text/plain stream_name Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_407.pdf.txt stream_source_info Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_407.pdf.txt Content-Encoding ISO-8859-1 Content-Type text/plain; charset...

  9. Chilean Antarctic Stations on King George Island

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katsutada Kaminuma


    Full Text Available The purpose of my visit to Chilean Antarctic Stations was to assess the present status of geophysical observations and research, as the South Shetland Island, West Antarctica, where the stations are located, are one of the most active tectonic regions on the Antarctic plate. The Instituto Antartico Chileno (INACH kindly gave me a chance to stay in Frei/Escudero Bases as an exchange scientist under the Antarctic Treaty for two weeks in January 2000. I stayed in Frei Base as a member of a geological survey group named "Tectonic Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula" which was organized by Prof. F. Herve, University of Chile, from January 05 to 19,2000. All my activity in the Antarctic was organized by INACH. During my stay in Frei Base, I also visited Bellingshausen (Russian, Great Wall (China and Artigas (Uruguay stations. All these stations are located within walking distance of Frei Base. King Sejong Station (Korea, located 10km east from Frei Base, and Jubany Base (Argentine, another 6km south-east from King Sejong Station, were also visited with the aid of a zodiac boat that was kindly operated for us by King Sejong Station. All stations except Escudero Base carry out meteorological observations. The seismological observations in Frei Base are operated by Washington State University of the U. S. monitoring of earthquake activity and three-component geomagnetic observations are done at King Sejong and Great Wall stations. Earth tide is monitored at Artigas Base. Continuous monitoring of GPS and gravity change are planned at King Sejong Station in the near future. Scientific research activities of each country in the area in the 1999/2000 Antarctic summer season were studied and the logistic ability of all stations was also assessed for our future international cooperation.

  10. Tolerance of Antarctic soil fungi to hydrocarbons

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hughes, Kevin A.; Bridge, Paul; Clark, Melody S. [British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET (United Kingdom)


    Little is known about the effects of hydrocarbons and fuel oil on Antarctic filamentous fungi in the terrestrial Antarctic environment. Growth of fungi and bacteria from soils around Rothera Research Station (Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula) was assessed in the presence of ten separate aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons [marine gas oil (MGO), dodecane, hexadecane, benzoic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, toluene, phenol, biphenyl, naphthalene and m- and p-xylenes with ethylbenzene]. Aromatic hydrocarbons inhibited soil microbial growth more than aliphatic hydrocarbons. Soil microorganisms from a moss patch, where little previous impact or hydrocarbon contamination had occurred, were less tolerant of hydrocarbons than those from high impact sites. Fungal growth rates of Mollisia sp., Penicillium commune, Mortierella sp., Trichoderma koningii, Trichoderma sp. and Phoma herbarum were assessed in the presence of hydrocarbons. Generally, aromatic hydrocarbons inhibited or stopped hyphal extension, though growth rates increased with some aliphatic hydrocarbons. Hyphal dry weight measurements suggested that Mortierella sp. may be able to use dodecane as sole carbon and energy source. Hydrocarbon-degrading Antarctic fungi may have use in future hydrocarbon spill bioremediation. (author)

  11. The genome of the Antarctic-endemic copepod, Tigriopus kingsejongensis. (United States)

    Kang, Seunghyun; Ahn, Do-Hwan; Lee, Jun Hyuck; Lee, Sung Gu; Shin, Seung Chul; Lee, Jungeun; Min, Gi-Sik; Lee, Hyoungseok; Kim, Hyun-Woo; Kim, Sanghee; Park, Hyun


    The Antarctic intertidal zone is continuously subjected to extremely fluctuating biotic and abiotic stressors. The West Antarctic Peninsula is the most rapidly warming region on Earth. Organisms living in Antarctic intertidal pools are therefore interesting for research into evolutionary adaptation to extreme environments and the effects of climate change. We report the whole genome sequence of the Antarctic-endemic harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus kingsejongensi . The 37 Gb raw DNA sequence was generated using the Illumina Miseq platform. Libraries were prepared with 65-fold coverage and a total length of 295 Mb. The final assembly consists of 48 368 contigs with an N50 contig length of 17.5 kb, and 27 823 scaffolds with an N50 contig length of 159.2 kb. A total of 12 772 coding genes were inferred using the MAKER annotation pipeline. Comparative genome analysis revealed that T. kingsejongensis -specific genes are enriched in transport and metabolism processes. Furthermore, rapidly evolving genes related to energy metabolism showed positive selection signatures. The T. kingsejongensis genome provides an interesting example of an evolutionary strategy for Antarctic cold adaptation, and offers new genetic insights into Antarctic intertidal biota. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  12. Checklist of fossil decapod crustaceans from tropical America. Part I: Anomura and Brachyura

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javier Luque


    Full Text Available Abstract Our knowledge of fossil crustaceans from the tropics has increased considerably during recent decades, thanks to novel findings and the re-examination of museum specimens. However, several previous records have been misidentified, numerous museum specimens have never been reported, and many new discoveries are yet to be published. Here, we present a detailed, up-to-date, and revised checklist for every marine, terrestrial, or freshwater fossil decapod crustacean occurrence from tropical America known to us, including their age, geographic occurrences, and related literature. We recognize the occurrence of at least 32 superfamilies, 69 families, 190 genera, and 415 species of brachyurans (‘true’ crabs, and anomurans (‘false’ crabs, hermit crabs, squat lobsters, and allies, several of them previously unknown. The checklist comprises records from three main geographic regions: 1 northern South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela; 2 Central America and southern North America (Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Mexico, southern and central Florida; and 3 the Caribbean Islands + Bermuda (Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, The Grenadines, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Bartélemy, Saint Martin, Trinidad. Previous findings, new occurrences, and the revised systematic placement for several problematic/misidentified records, indicate that the fossil record of anomurans and brachyurans in tropical America is more diverse than previously envisioned, with a considerable degree of endemism at the genus- and species-levels.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available Despite a long history of phocid studies, no fossil members of the Subfamily Cystophorinae have ever been described. New fossil material from the Middle Sarmatian (11.2-12.3 Ma in the Paratethyan Basin of Ukraine allows emended diagnoses and redescriptions to help clarify phylogenetic relationships within the Family Phocidae. After cladistic and morphological analyses of the material, a new genus ( Pachyphoca  was erected, with two new species of extinct fossil true seals ( Pachyphoca ukrainica and Pachyphoca chapskii , belonging to the Subfamily Cystophorinae. This new material shows exceptional pachyosteosclerotic bones, which is uncommon for the family as a whole. The new Miocene genus shares numerous characters with several Recent species of Cystophora and Mirounga , providing the first opportunity to study sexual dimorphism of limb bones and mandibles in the Subfamily Cystophorinae. Sexual dimorphism in postcranial bones and mandibles in living members of Cystophorinae is more obvious than in other representatives of true seals. Examination of anatomical traits demonstrated that both new species are more primitive and better adapted for terrestrial locomotion than any living representatives of Cystophorinae. The smaller Pachyphoca ukrainica is more adapted to terrestrial locomotion than its larger relative, P . chapskii . Phylogenetic analysis suggests that seals with 10 incisors (Phocinae are more primitive than those with 8 (Monachinae, and that Monachinae are more primitive than seals with 6 incisors (Cystophorinae.These findings indicate that the Subfamily Cystophorinae includes not only elephant and hooded seals, but also the two new Middle Sarmatian pachyosteosclerotic seals. 

  14. Avian fossils from the Early Miocene Moghra Formation of Egypt ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Avian remains from the Early Miocene (~17 Ma) Moghra Formation of Egypt include new records of 'waterbirds' (storks, herons, pelicans and allies) and a ratite. Only a single avian fossil has been previously reported from Wadi Moghra and, thus, additional knowledge of the avifauna complements previously documented ...

  15. Discovery of the fossil otter Enhydritherium terraenovae (Carnivora, Mammalia) in Mexico reconciles a palaeozoogeographic mystery. (United States)

    Tseng, Z Jack; Pacheco-Castro, Adolfo; Carranza-Castañeda, Oscar; Aranda-Gómez, José Jorge; Wang, Xiaoming; Troncoso, Hilda


    The North American fossil otter Enhydritherium terraenovae is thought to be partially convergent in ecological niche with the living sea otter Enhydra lutris , both having low-crowned crushing teeth and a close association with marine environments. Fossil records of Enhydritherium are found in mostly marginal marine deposits in California and Florida; despite presence of very rich records of fossil terrestrial mammals in contemporaneous localities inland, no Enhydritherium fossils are hitherto known in interior North America. Here we report the first occurrence of Enhydritherium outside of Florida and California, in a land-locked terrestrial mammal fauna of the upper Miocene deposits of Juchipila Basin, Zacatecas State, Mexico. This new occurrence of Enhydritherium is at least 200 km from the modern Pacific coastline, and nearly 600 km from the Gulf of Mexico. Besides providing further evidence that Enhydritherium was not dependent on coastal marine environments as originally interpreted, this discovery leads us to propose a new east-to-west dispersal route between the Florida and California Enhydritherium populations through central Mexico. The proximity of the fossil locality to nearby populations of modern neotropical otters Lontra longicaudis suggests that trans-Mexican freshwater corridors for vertebrate species in riparian habitats may have persisted for a prolonged period of time, pre-dating the Great American Biotic Interchange. © 2017 The Author(s).

  16. A great earthquake in the Antarctic plate on 25 March 1998

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yoko Tono


    Full Text Available A great earthquake occurred in the Antarctic Plate at 03h 12m 24.7s (UT on 25 March 1998. The location and magnitude of the earthquake determined by United States Geological Survey are as follows : 62.876°S, 149.712°E, 10km depth m_b 6.8,M_s 8.0. In response to a request for earthquake information from Syowa Station (69°00′S, 39°35′E to Dumont d'Urville Station of France (66°40′S, 140°01′E, the station leader reported that all wintering members in the station felt a quake and something on the shelf in the building fell down. The intensity at the station was estimated to be III∿IV by the intensity scale of Japanese Meteorological Agency. This earthquake is the first great earthquake of magnitude 8 recorded in the Antarctic Plate since IGY of 1957 and the first earthquake felt in Antarctica except for volcanic earthquakes.

  17. Recruitment, growth and mortality of an Antarctic hexactinellid sponge, Anoxycalyx joubini.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul K Dayton

    Full Text Available Polar ecosystems are sensitive to climate forcing, and we often lack baselines to evaluate changes. Here we report a nearly 50-year study in which a sudden shift in the population dynamics of an ecologically important, structure-forming hexactinellid sponge, Anoxycalyx joubini was observed. This is the largest Antarctic sponge, with individuals growing over two meters tall. In order to investigate life history characteristics of Antarctic marine invertebrates, artificial substrata were deployed at a number of sites in the southern portion of the Ross Sea between 1967 and 1975. Over a 22-year period, no growth or settlement was recorded for A. joubini on these substrata; however, in 2004 and 2010, A. joubini was observed to have settled and grown to large sizes on some but not all artificial substrata. This single settlement and growth event correlates with a region-wide shift in phytoplankton productivity driven by the calving of a massive iceberg. We also report almost complete mortality of large sponges followed over 40 years. Given our warming global climate, similar system-wide changes are expected in the future.

  18. Emerging spatial patterns in Antarctic prokaryotes. (United States)

    Chong, Chun-Wie; Pearce, David A; Convey, Peter


    Recent advances in knowledge of patterns of biogeography in terrestrial eukaryotic organisms have led to a fundamental paradigm shift in understanding of the controls and history of life on land in Antarctica, and its interactions over the long term with the glaciological and geological processes that have shaped the continent. However, while it has long been recognized that the terrestrial ecosystems of Antarctica are dominated by microbes and their processes, knowledge of microbial diversity and distributions has lagged far behind that of the macroscopic eukaryote organisms. Increasing human contact with and activity in the continent is leading to risks of biological contamination and change in a region whose isolation has protected it for millions of years at least; these risks may be particularly acute for microbial communities which have, as yet, received scant recognition and attention. Even a matter apparently as straightforward as Protected Area designation in Antarctica requires robust biodiversity data which, in most parts of the continent, remain almost completely unavailable. A range of important contributing factors mean that it is now timely to reconsider the state of knowledge of Antarctic terrestrial prokaryotes. Rapid advances in molecular biological approaches are increasingly demonstrating that bacterial diversity in Antarctica may be far greater than previously thought, and that there is overlap in the environmental controls affecting both Antarctic prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities. Bacterial dispersal mechanisms and colonization patterns remain largely unaddressed, although evidence for regional evolutionary differentiation is rapidly accruing and, with this, there is increasing appreciation of patterns in regional bacterial biogeography in this large part of the globe. In this review, we set out to describe the state of knowledge of Antarctic prokaryote diversity patterns, drawing analogy with those of eukaryote groups where appropriate

  19. Contrasting Arctic and Antarctic atmospheric responses to future sea-ice loss (United States)

    England, M.; Polvani, L. M.; Sun, L.


    By the end of this century, the annual mean Antarctic sea ice area is projected to decline by over a third, an amount similar to that in the Arctic, but the effect of Antarctic sea ice loss on the atmosphere remains largely unexplored. Using the Community Earth Systems Model (CESM) Whole Atmosphere Coupled Climate Model (WACCM), we investigate the effect of future Antarctic sea ice loss, and contrast it with its Arctic counterpart. This is accomplished by analyzing integrations of the model with historic and future sea ice levels, using the RCP8.5 scenario. This allows us to disentangle the effect of future sea ice loss on the atmosphere from other aspects of the coupled system. We find that both Antarctic and Arctic sea ice loss act to shift the tropospheric jet equatorwards, counteracting the poleward shift due to increases in greenhouse gases. Although the total forcing to the atmosphere is similar in both hemispheres, the response to Arctic sea ice loss is larger in amplitude and but more seasonally varying, while the response in the Antarctic persists throughout the year but with a smaller amplitude. Furthermore, the atmospheric temperature response over the Antarctic is trapped closer to the surface than in the Arctic, and perhaps surprisingly, we find that the surface temperature response to Antarctic sea ice loss is unable to penetrate the Antarctic continent.

  20. How many dinosaur species were there? Fossil bias and true richness estimated using a Poisson sampling model. (United States)

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang


    The fossil record is a rich source of information about biological diversity in the past. However, the fossil record is not only incomplete but has also inherent biases due to geological, physical, chemical and biological factors. Our knowledge of past life is also biased because of differences in academic and amateur interests and sampling efforts. As a result, not all individuals or species that lived in the past are equally likely to be discovered at any point in time or space. To reconstruct temporal dynamics of diversity using the fossil record, biased sampling must be explicitly taken into account. Here, we introduce an approach that uses the variation in the number of times each species is observed in the fossil record to estimate both sampling bias and true richness. We term our technique TRiPS (True Richness estimated using a Poisson Sampling model) and explore its robustness to violation of its assumptions via simulations. We then venture to estimate sampling bias and absolute species richness of dinosaurs in the geological stages of the Mesozoic. Using TRiPS, we estimate that 1936 (1543-2468) species of dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Mesozoic. We also present improved estimates of species richness trajectories of the three major dinosaur clades: the sauropodomorphs, ornithischians and theropods, casting doubt on the Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and demonstrating that all dinosaur groups are subject to considerable sampling bias throughout the Mesozoic. © 2016 The Authors.

  1. A fossil brain from the Cretaceous of European Russia and avian sensory evolution. (United States)

    Kurochkin, Evgeny N; Dyke, Gareth J; Saveliev, Sergei V; Pervushov, Evgeny M; Popov, Evgeny V


    Fossils preserving traces of soft anatomy are rare in the fossil record; even rarer is evidence bearing on the size and shape of sense organs that provide us with insights into mode of life. Here, we describe unique fossil preservation of an avian brain from the Volgograd region of European Russia. The brain of this Melovatka bird is similar in shape and morphology to those of known fossil ornithurines (the lineage that includes living birds), such as the marine diving birds Hesperornis and Enaliornis, but documents a new stage in avian sensory evolution: acute nocturnal vision coupled with well-developed hearing and smell, developed by the Late Cretaceous (ca 90Myr ago). This fossil also provides insights into previous 'bird-like' brain reconstructions for the most basal avian Archaeopteryx--reduction of olfactory lobes (sense of smell) and enlargement of the hindbrain (cerebellum) occurred subsequent to Archaeopteryx in avian evolution, closer to the ornithurine lineage that comprises living birds. The Melovatka bird also suggests that brain enlargement in early avians was not correlated with the evolution of powered flight.

  2. Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Ice and Clouds (United States)


    In this view of Antarctic ice and clouds, (56.5S, 152.0W), the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica is almost totally clear, showing stress cracks in the ice surface caused by wind and tidal drift. Clouds on the eastern edge of the picture are associated with an Antarctic cyclone. Winds stirred up these storms have been known to reach hurricane force.

  3. Transcriptomics and comparative analysis of three antarctic notothenioid fishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seung Chul Shin

    Full Text Available For the past 10 to 13 million years, Antarctic notothenioid fish have undergone extraordinary periods of evolution and have adapted to a cold and highly oxygenated Antarctic marine environment. While these species are considered an attractive model with which to study physiology and evolutionary adaptation, they are poorly characterized at the molecular level, and sequence information is lacking. The transcriptomes of the Antarctic fishes Notothenia coriiceps, Chaenocephalus aceratus, and Pleuragramma antarcticum were obtained by 454 FLX Titanium sequencing of a normalized cDNA library. More than 1,900,000 reads were assembled in a total of 71,539 contigs. Overall, 40% of the contigs were annotated based on similarity to known protein or nucleotide sequences, and more than 50% of the predicted transcripts were validated as full-length or putative full-length cDNAs. These three Antarctic fishes shared 663 genes expressed in the brain and 1,557 genes expressed in the liver. In addition, these cold-adapted fish expressed more Ub-conjugated proteins compared to temperate fish; Ub-conjugated proteins are involved in maintaining proteins in their native state in the cold and thermally stable Antarctic environments. Our transcriptome analysis of Antarctic notothenioid fish provides an archive for future studies in molecular mechanisms of fundamental genetic questions, and can be used in evolution studies comparing other fish.

  4. Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils. (United States)

    Cowan, Don A; Makhalanyane, Thulani P; Dennis, Paul G; Hopkins, David W


    The Antarctica Dry Valleys are regarded as the coldest hyperarid desert system on Earth. While a wide variety of environmental stressors including very low minimum temperatures, frequent freeze-thaw cycles and low water availability impose severe limitations to life, suitable niches for abundant microbial colonization exist. Antarctic desert soils contain much higher levels of microbial diversity than previously thought. Edaphic niches, including cryptic and refuge habitats, microbial mats and permafrost soils all harbor microbial communities which drive key biogeochemical cycling processes. For example, lithobionts (hypoliths and endoliths) possess a genetic capacity for nitrogen and carbon cycling, polymer degradation, and other system processes. Nitrogen fixation rates of hypoliths, as assessed through acetylene reduction assays, suggest that these communities are a significant input source for nitrogen into these oligotrophic soils. Here we review aspects of microbial diversity in Antarctic soils with an emphasis on functionality and capacity. We assess current knowledge regarding adaptations to Antarctic soil environments and highlight the current threats to Antarctic desert soil communities.

  5. Summer diet of the Salvin's prion at sub-Antarctic Marion Island

    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    Feb 14, 1988 ... Thirty-nine food samples were collected from Salvin's prions Pachyptila salvini at sub-Antarctic Marion Island,. Prince Edward Islands. ..... guide to foraging methods used by marine birds in. Antarctic and sub-Antarctic seas. BIOMASS Handbook. 24: 1-22. GRINDLEY, J.R. & LANE, S.B. 1979. Zooplankton.

  6. Borassodendron (Palmae) in the Southeast Asian fossil pollen record

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maloney, B.K.


    Borassodendron machadonis pollen occurred throughout the Holocene pollen record of Nong Thale Song Hong, Thailand, until about 4000 BP. It was also present in one sample from Khok Phanom Di, Thailand, and in the Mahakam Delta, Kalimantan, records, but B. machadonis has not been reported from the

  7. A fossil unicorn crestfish (Teleostei, Lampridiformes, Lophotidae) from the Eocene of Iran. (United States)

    Davesne, Donald


    Lophotidae, or crestfishes, is a family of rare deep-sea teleosts characterised by an enlarged horn-like crest on the forehead. They are poorly represented in the fossil record, by only three described taxa. One specimen attributed to Lophotidae has been described from the pelagic fauna of the middle-late Eocene Zagros Basin, Iran. Originally considered as a specimen of the fossil lophotid † Protolophotus , it is proposed hereby as a new genus and species † Babelichthys olneyi , gen. et sp. nov., differs from the other fossil lophotids by its relatively long and strongly projecting crest, suggesting a close relationship with the modern unicorn crestfish, Eumecichthys . This new taxon increases the diversity of the deep-sea teleost fauna to which it belongs, improving our understanding of the taxonomic composition of the early Cenozoic mesopelagic ecosystems.

  8. The fossilized birth–death process for coherent calibration of divergence-time estimates (United States)

    Heath, Tracy A.; Huelsenbeck, John P.; Stadler, Tanja


    Time-calibrated species phylogenies are critical for addressing a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology, such as those that elucidate historical biogeography or uncover patterns of coevolution and diversification. Because molecular sequence data are not informative on absolute time, external data—most commonly, fossil age estimates—are required to calibrate estimates of species divergence dates. For Bayesian divergence time methods, the common practice for calibration using fossil information involves placing arbitrarily chosen parametric distributions on internal nodes, often disregarding most of the information in the fossil record. We introduce the “fossilized birth–death” (FBD) process—a model for calibrating divergence time estimates in a Bayesian framework, explicitly acknowledging that extant species and fossils are part of the same macroevolutionary process. Under this model, absolute node age estimates are calibrated by a single diversification model and arbitrary calibration densities are not necessary. Moreover, the FBD model allows for inclusion of all available fossils. We performed analyses of simulated data and show that node age estimation under the FBD model results in robust and accurate estimates of species divergence times with realistic measures of statistical uncertainty, overcoming major limitations of standard divergence time estimation methods. We used this model to estimate the speciation times for a dataset composed of all living bears, indicating that the genus Ursus diversified in the Late Miocene to Middle Pliocene. PMID:25009181

  9. Peripheral cold acclimatization in Antarctic scuba divers. (United States)

    Bridgman, S A


    Peripheral acclimatization to cold in scuba divers stationed at the British Antarctic Survey's Signy Station was investigated during a year in Antarctica. Five divers and five non-diver controls underwent monthly laboratory tests of index finger immersion in cold water for 30 min. Index finger pulp temperature and time of onset of cold-induced vasodilatation (CIVD) were measured. Pain was recorded with verbal and numerical psychophysical subjective pain ratings. Average finger temperatures and median finger pain from 6-30 min of immersion, maximum finger temperatures during the first CIVD cycle, and finger temperatures at the onset of CIVD were calculated. Comparison of the variables recorded from divers and non-divers were performed with analysis of variance. No significant differences were found among the variables recorded from divers and non-divers. From a review of the literature, divers have responses typical of non-cold-adapted Caucasians. There is, therefore, no evidence that Signy divers peripherally acclimatized to cold. We suggest that these findings occur because either the whole body cooling which divers undergo inhibits peripheral acclimatization or because of insufficiently frequent or severe cold exposure while diving. Further basic studies on the duration, frequency and severity of cold exposure necessary to induce peripheral cold acclimatization are required before this question can be satisfactorily answered.

  10. Salmonella infections in Antarctic fauna and island populations of wildlife exposed to human activities in coastal areas of Australia. (United States)

    Iveson, J B; Shellam, G R; Bradshaw, S D; Smith, D W; Mackenzie, J S; Mofflin, R G


    Salmonella infections in Antarctic wildlife were first reported in 1970 and in a search for evidence linking isolations with exposure to human activities, a comparison was made of serovars reported from marine fauna in the Antarctic region from 1982-2004 with those from marine mammals in the Northern hemisphere. This revealed that 10 (83%) Salmonella enterica serovars isolated from Antarctic penguins and seals were classifiable in high-frequency (HF) quotients for serovars prevalent in humans and domesticated animals. In Australia, 16 (90%) HF serovars were isolated from marine birds and mammals compared with 12 (86%) HF serovars reported from marine mammals in the Northern hemisphere. In Western Australia, HF serovars from marine species were also recorded in humans, livestock, mussels, effluents and island populations of wildlife in urban coastal areas. Low-frequency S. enterica serovars were rarely detected in humans and not detected in seagulls or marine species. The isolation of S. Enteritidis phage type 4 (PT4), PT8 and PT23 strains from Adélie penguins and a diversity of HF serovars reported from marine fauna in the Antarctic region and coastal areas of Australia, signal the possibility of transient serovars and endemic Salmonella strains recycling back to humans from southern latitudes in marine foodstuffs and feed ingredients.

  11. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA (United States)

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Anderson, R. Scott; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Michael D., Cherney; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; McDonald, H. Gregory; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim


    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  12. Modelling the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Jens Olaf Pepke; Holm, A.


    to sea level high stands during past interglacial periods. A number of AIS models have been developed and applied to try to understand the workings of the AIS and to form a robust basis for future projections of the AIS contribution to sea level change. The recent DCESS (Danish Center for Earth System......The Antarctic ice sheet is a major player in the Earth’s climate system and is by far the largest depository of fresh water on the planet. Ice stored in the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) contains enough water to raise sea level by about 58 m, and ice loss from Antarctica contributed significantly...

  13. Exploring the effect of East Antarctic ice mass loss on GIA-induced horizontal bedrock motions (United States)

    Konfal, S. A.; Whitehouse, P. L.; Hermans, T.; van der Wal, W.; Wilson, T. J.; Bevis, M. G.; Kendrick, E. C.; Dalziel, I.; Smalley, R., Jr.


    Ice history inputs used in Antarctic models of GIA include major centers of ice mass loss in West Antarctica. In the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) region spanning the boundary between East and West Antarctica, horizontal crustal motions derived from GPS observations from the Antarctic Network (ANET) component of the Polar Earth Observing Network (POLENET) are towards these West Antarctic ice mass centers, opposite to the pattern of radial crustal motion expected in an unloading scenario. We investigate alternative ice history and earth structure inputs to GIA models in an attempt to reproduce observed crustal motions in the region. The W12 ice history model is altered to create scenarios including ice unloading in the Wilkes Subglacial Basin based on available glaciological records. These altered ice history models, along with the unmodified W12 ice history model, are coupled with 60 radially varying (1D) earth model combinations, including approximations of optimal earth profiles identified in published GIA models. The resulting model-predicted motions utilizing both the modified and unmodified ice history models fit ANET GPS-derived crustal motions in the northern TAM region for a suite of earth model combinations. Further south, where the influence of simulated Wilkes unloading is weakest and West Antarctic unloading is strongest, observed and predicted motions do not agree. The influence of simulated Wilkes ice unloading coupled with laterally heterogeneous earth models is also investigated. The resulting model-predicted motions do not differ significantly between the original W12 and W12 with simulated Wilkes unloading ice histories.

  14. Antarctic aerosols - A review (United States)

    Shaw, Glenn E.


    Tropospheric aerosols with the diameter range of half a micron reside in the atmosphere for tens of days and teleconnect Antarctica with other regions by transport that reaches planetary scales of distances; thus, the aerosol on the Antarctic ice represents 'memory modules' of events that took place at regions separated from Antarctica by tens of thousands of kilometers. In terms of aerosol mass, the aerosol species include insoluble crustal products (less than 5 percent), transported sea-salt residues (highly variable but averaging about 10 percent), Ni-rich meteoric material, and anomalously enriched material with an unknown origin. Most (70-90 percent by mass) of the aerosol over the Antarctic ice shield, however, is the 'natural acid sulfate aerosol', apparently deriving from biological processes taking place in the surrounding oceans.

  15. New fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens


    Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Ben-Ncer, Abdelouahed; Bailey, Shara E.; Freidline, Sarah E.; Neubauer, Simon; Skinner, Matthew M.; Bergmann, Inga; Le Cabec, Adeline; Benazzi, Stefano; Harvati, Katerina; Gunz, Philipp


    Fossil evidence points to an African origin of Homo sapiens from a group called either H. heidelbergensis or H. rhodesiensis. However, the exact place and time of emergence of H. sapiens remain obscure because the fossil record is scarce and the chronological age of many key specimens remains uncertain. In particular, it is unclear whether the present day ‘modern’ morphology rapidly emerged approximately 200 thousand years ago (ka) among earlier representatives of H. sapiens1 or evolved gradu...

  16. [The fossil record of the Eurasian Neogene insectivores (Erinaceomorpha, Soricomorpha, Mammalia) : Part I / L.W. van den Hoek Ostende, C.S. Doukas and J.W.F. Reumer (editors)]: Czech Republic and Slovak Republic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fejfar, O.; Sabol, M.


    Introduction The fossil record of insectivores in Czech Republic comes from two different settings: A. in the stratified deposits in the North Bohemian tectonic rift (the sites; Tuchořice, the Open Mine Merkur-Nord near Chomutov, Dolnice and Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad), and Β. in the karstic

  17. Observation of hydro-acoustic signal from the Balleny Islands, Ross Sea, Antarctic: Seasonal ice activities and earthquakes from Pacific-Antarctic ridge (United States)

    Hong, J. K.; Kang, S. G.; Dziak, R. P.; Park, Y.; Lau, T. K. A.; Haxel, J.; Matsumoto, H.


    From January 2015 to March 2016, five hydrophone moorings were deployed near the Balleny Islands to obtain the long-term hydroacoustic record as a collaborative effort between the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the Korea Polar Research Institute. The goal of this hydro-acoustic project is to understand seasonal sea-ice activities and identify potential underwater volcanic sources within the Balleny seamounts. All five of the hydrophone moorings were recovered in March 2016, however only three of them recorded 14 months of continuous, broadband (1 kHz sample rate) hydro-acoustic data successfully. In spite of coordinating problem by partial recovery, recorded data contain valuable information for seasonal sea-ice activities and earthquakes from Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. We analyzed events from ice-quakes and earthquakes statistically. The number of ice-quakes is maximum in the austral summer while minimum in the austral winter which shows a clear seasonal pattern consistent with freeze-thaw cycles. Comparing with global earthquakes catalogue, number of earthquake events are correlated well with the catalogue. Because the austral winter is more calm by ice-quakes, however, we can detect more earthquakes in this season.



    オオシマ; Kay I., OHSHIMA


    Seasonal variations of the Antarctic coastal oceans has not been well understood owing to logistical difficulties in observations, especially during the ice-covered season. Recently, 'Weddell Gyre Study' and 'Japanese Antarctic Climate Research program' have revealed the following seasonal variations in the Antarctic coastal ocean. First, the thickness of the Winter Water (WW) layer, characterized by cold, fresh, oxygen-rich water, exhibits its maximum in the austral fall and its minimum in t...

  19. Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Don A Cowan


    Full Text Available The Antarctica Dry Valleys are regarded as the coldest hyperarid desert system on Earth. While a wide variety of environmental stressors including very low minimum temperatures, frequent freeze-thaw cycles and low water availability impose severe limitations to life, suitable niches for abundant microbial colonization exist. Antarctic desert soils contain much higher levels of microbial diversity than previously thought. Edaphic niches, including cryptic and refuge habitats, microbial mats and permafrost soils all harbour microbial communities which drive key biogeochemical cycling processes. For example, lithobionts (hypoliths and endoliths possess a genetic capacity for nitrogen and carbon cycling, polymer degradation and other system processes. Nitrogen fixation rates of hypoliths, as assessed through acetylene reduction assays, suggest that these communities are a significant input source for nitrogen into these oligotrophic soils. Here we review aspects of microbial diversity in Antarctic soils with an emphasis on functionality and capacity. We assess current knowledge regarding adaptations to Antarctic soil environments and highlight the current threats to Antarctic desert soil communities.

  20. Mysterious iodine-overabundance in Antarctic meteorites (United States)

    Dreibus, G.; Waenke, H.; Schultz, L.


    Halogen as well as other trace element concentrations in meteorite finds can be influenced by alteration processes on the Earth's surface. The discovery of Antarctic meteorites offered the opportunity to study meteorites which were kept in one of the most sterile environment of the Earth. Halogen determination in Antartic meteorites was compared with non-Antarctic meteorites. No correlation was found between iodine concentration and the weathering index, or terrestrial age. The halogen measurements indicate a contaminating phase rich in iodine and also containing chlorine. Possible sources for this contamination are discussed.

  1. Mysterious iodine-overabundance in Antarctic meteorites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dreibus, G.; Waenke, H.; Schultz, L.


    Halogen as well as other trace element concentrations in meteorite finds can be influenced by alteration processes on the Earth's surface. The discovery of Antarctic meteorites offered the opportunity to study meteorites which were kept in one of the most sterile environment of the Earth. Halogen determination in Antartic meteorites was compared with non-Antarctic meteorites. No correlation was found between iodine concentration and the weathering index, or terrestrial age. The halogen measurements indicate a contaminating phase rich in iodine and also containing chlorine. Possible sources for this contamination are discussed

  2. A fossil unicorn crestfish (Teleostei, Lampridiformes, Lophotidae from the Eocene of Iran

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donald Davesne


    Full Text Available Lophotidae, or crestfishes, is a family of rare deep-sea teleosts characterised by an enlarged horn-like crest on the forehead. They are poorly represented in the fossil record, by only three described taxa. One specimen attributed to Lophotidae has been described from the pelagic fauna of the middle-late Eocene Zagros Basin, Iran. Originally considered as a specimen of the fossil lophotid †Protolophotus, it is proposed hereby as a new genus and species †Babelichthys olneyi, gen. et sp. nov., differs from the other fossil lophotids by its relatively long and strongly projecting crest, suggesting a close relationship with the modern unicorn crestfish, Eumecichthys. This new taxon increases the diversity of the deep-sea teleost fauna to which it belongs, improving our understanding of the taxonomic composition of the early Cenozoic mesopelagic ecosystems.

  3. Status of fossil fuel reserves; Etat des reserves des combustibles fossiles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Laherrere, J


    Reserves represent the sum of past and future productions up to the end of production. In most countries the reserve data of fields are confidential. Therefore, fossil fuel reserves are badly known because the published data are more political than technical and many countries make a confusion between resources and reserves. The cumulated production of fossil fuels represents only between a third and a fifth of the ultimate reserves. The production peak will take place between 2020 and 2050. In the ultimate reserves, which extrapolate the past, the fossil fuels represent three thirds of the overall energy. This document analyses the uncertainties linked with fossil fuel reserves: reliability of published data, modeling of future production, comparison with other energy sources, energy consumption forecasts, reserves/production ratio, exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons (tar sands, extra-heavy oils, bituminous shales, coal gas, gas shales, methane in overpressure aquifers, methane hydrates), technology impacts, prices impact, and reserves growth. (J.S.)

  4. 77 FR 5403 - Conservation of Antarctic Animals and Plants (United States)


    ... NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 45 CFR Part 670 Conservation of Antarctic Animals and Plants AGENCY: National Science Foundation. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978, The National Science Foundation (NSF) is amending its regulations to reflect newly designated...

  5. Biofuel: an alternative to fossil fuel for alleviating world energy and economic crises. (United States)

    Bhattarai, Keshav; Stalick, Wayne M; McKay, Scott; Geme, Gija; Bhattarai, Nimisha


    The time has come when it is desirable to look for alternative energy resources to confront the global energy crisis. Consideration of the increasing environmental problems and the possible crisis of fossil fuel availability at record high prices dictate that some changes will need to occur sooner rather than later. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is just another example of the environmental threats that fossil fuels pose. This paper is an attempt to explore various bio-resources such as corn, barley, oat, rice, wheat, sorghum, sugar, safflower, and coniferous and non-coniferous species for the production of biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel). In order to assess the potential production of biofuel, in this paper, countries are organized into three groups based on: (a) geographic areas; (b) economic development; and(c) lending types, as classified by the World Bank. First, the total fossil fuel energy consumption and supply and possible carbon emission from burning fossil fuel is projected for these three groups of countries. Second, the possibility of production of biofuel from grains and vegetative product is projected. Third, a comparison of fossil fuel and biofuel is done to examine energy sustainability issues.

  6. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions. (United States)

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A


    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  7. In vitro immunobiological activity of an Antarctic streptomyces polysaccharide

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Toshkova, R.; Yossifova, L.; Gardeva, E.; Zvetkova, E.; Ivanova, V.


    Antarctic Streptomyces sp. 1010, were obtained from sea water samples (Livingston Island, Antarctica), during the Third Bulgarian Antarctic Scientific Expedition (1994-1995). The ecophysiological methods for isolation and characterization of these active, cold-adapted, Gram-positive microorganisms (psychrophiles) in morphological, phenotypic, genetic and taxonomic aspects, have been earlier reported. In this study, a new extracellular polysaccharide (heteropolysaccharide) has been isolated and purified from cultured broth of the Antarctic Streptomyces sp. 1010. The monosaccharide content of the Antarctic streptomyces heteropolysaccharide has been examined by TLC and GC/MS. The mitogenic and immuno potential properties of the purified Antarctic Streptomyces polysaccharide (ASMP) have been studied in vitro - in the short-term cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMCs - lymphocytes and monocytes) and mouse spleen lymphocytes (mouse splenocytes - mSps). The results obtained show that ASMP has a double lectin-like effect on the proliferative activity of hPBMCs: similar to this of Con A on the lymphoid cells (preliminary T-lymphocytes) and to the effect of LPS on the mononuclear from monocyte-macrophage lineage. Expressed as proliferative index (PI), the mitogenic response of mSps to the in vitro influence of ASMP was also higher than PI in the negative, as well as in the positive controls (mSps, cultured in the presence of PHA, Con A and LPS). The new Antarctic Streptomyces' heteropolysaccharide examined could be useful in the future as an immunomodulative biologically active substance and its extracellular production may contribute to the development of thermobiochemistry, immunomodulative drug therapy and immunopharmaceutical industry. (authors)

  8. At the root of the early penguin neck: a study of the only two cervicodorsal spines recovered from the Eocene of Antarctica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Piotr Jadwiszczak


    Full Text Available The spinal column of early Antarctic penguins is poorly known, mainly due to the scarcity of articulated vertebrae in the fossil record. One of the most interesting segments of this part of the skeleton is the transitional series located at the root of the neck. Here, two such cervicodorsal series, comprising reinterpreted known material and a new specimen from the Eocene of Seymour Island (Antarctic Peninsula, were investigated and contrasted with those of modern penguins and some fossil bones. The new specimen is smaller than the counterpart elements in recent king penguins, whereas the second series belonged to a large-bodied penguin from the genus Palaeeudyptes. It had been assigned by earlier researchers to P. gunnari (a species of “giant” penguins and a Bayesian analysis—a Bayes factor approach based on size of an associated tarsometatarsus—strongly supported such an assignment. Morphological and functional studies revealed that mobility within the aforementioned segment probably did not differ substantially between extant and studied fossil penguins. There were, however, intriguing morphological differences between the smaller fossil specimen and the comparative material related to the condition of the lateral excavation in the first cervicodorsal vertebra and the extremely small size of the intervertebral foramen located just prior to the first “true” thoracic vertebra. The former feature could have resulted from discrepancy in severity of external pneumatization. Both fossils provided valuable insights into the morphology and functioning of the axial skeleton in early penguins.

  9. AGU honored for Antarctic book (United States)

    AGU has won an honorable mention award at the Fifteenth Annual Awards Program for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing sponsored by the Association of American Publishers for the book Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. The book is part of AGU's Antarctic Research Series, an outgrowth of research done during the International Geophysical Year that was begun in 1963 with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The award was presented at the AAP Annual Awards Dinner on February 6 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. The award consists of a medallion and a plate on which the names of the publisher, title, and authors are engraved.

  10. Introduction. Antarctic ecology: from genes to ecosystems. Part 2. Evolution, diversity and functional ecology. (United States)

    Rogers, Alex D; Murphy, Eugene J; Johnston, Nadine M; Clarke, Andrew


    The Antarctic biota has evolved over the last 100 million years in increasingly isolated and cold conditions. As a result, Antarctic species, from micro-organisms to vertebrates, have adapted to life at extremely low temperatures, including changes in the genome, physiology and ecological traits such as life history. Coupled with cycles of glaciation that have promoted speciation in the Antarctic, this has led to a unique biota in terms of biogeography, patterns of species distribution and endemism. Specialization in the Antarctic biota has led to trade-offs in many ecologically important functions and Antarctic species may have a limited capacity to adapt to present climate change. These include the direct effects of changes in environmental parameters and indirect effects of increased competition and predation resulting from altered life histories of Antarctic species and the impacts of invasive species. Ultimately, climate change may alter the responses of Antarctic ecosystems to harvesting from humans. The unique adaptations of Antarctic species mean that they provide unique models of molecular evolution in natural populations. The simplicity of Antarctic communities, especially from terrestrial systems, makes them ideal to investigate the ecological implications of climate change, which are difficult to identify in more complex systems.

  11. Upward revision of global fossil fuel methane emissions based on isotope database. (United States)

    Schwietzke, Stefan; Sherwood, Owen A; Bruhwiler, Lori M P; Miller, John B; Etiope, Giuseppe; Dlugokencky, Edward J; Michel, Sylvia Englund; Arling, Victoria A; Vaughn, Bruce H; White, James W C; Tans, Pieter P


    Methane has the second-largest global radiative forcing impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gases after carbon dioxide, but our understanding of the global atmospheric methane budget is incomplete. The global fossil fuel industry (production and usage of natural gas, oil and coal) is thought to contribute 15 to 22 per cent of methane emissions to the total atmospheric methane budget. However, questions remain regarding methane emission trends as a result of fossil fuel industrial activity and the contribution to total methane emissions of sources from the fossil fuel industry and from natural geological seepage, which are often co-located. Here we re-evaluate the global methane budget and the contribution of the fossil fuel industry to methane emissions based on long-term global methane and methane carbon isotope records. We compile the largest isotopic methane source signature database so far, including fossil fuel, microbial and biomass-burning methane emission sources. We find that total fossil fuel methane emissions (fossil fuel industry plus natural geological seepage) are not increasing over time, but are 60 to 110 per cent greater than current estimates owing to large revisions in isotope source signatures. We show that this is consistent with the observed global latitudinal methane gradient. After accounting for natural geological methane seepage, we find that methane emissions from natural gas, oil and coal production and their usage are 20 to 60 per cent greater than inventories. Our findings imply a greater potential for the fossil fuel industry to mitigate anthropogenic climate forcing, but we also find that methane emissions from natural gas as a fraction of production have declined from approximately 8 per cent to approximately 2 per cent over the past three decades.

  12. Antarctic isolation: immune and viral studies (United States)

    Tingate, T. R.; Lugg, D. J.; Muller, H. K.; Stowe, R. P.; Pierson, D. L.


    Stressful environmental conditions are a major determinant of immune reactivity. This effect is pronounced in Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition populations exposed to prolonged periods of isolation in the Antarctic. Alterations of T cell function, including depression of cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity responses and a peak 48.9% reduction of T cell proliferation to the mitogen phytohaemagglutinin, were documented during a 9-month period of isolation. T cell dysfunction was mediated by changes within the peripheral blood mononuclear cell compartment, including a paradoxical atypical monocytosis associated with altered production of inflammatory cytokines. There was a striking reduction in the production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells of the predominant pro-inflammatory monokine TNF-alpha and changes were also detected in the production of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-1ra and IL-10. Prolonged Antarctic isolation is also associated with altered latent herpesvirus homeostasis, including increased herpesvirus shedding and expansion of the polyclonal latent Epstein-Barr virus-infected B cell population. These findings have important long-term health implications.

  13. Fossils and living taxa agree on patterns of body mass evolution: a case study with Afrotheria. (United States)

    Puttick, Mark N; Thomas, Gavin H


    Most of life is extinct, so incorporating some fossil evidence into analyses of macroevolution is typically seen as necessary to understand the diversification of life and patterns of morphological evolution. Here we test the effects of inclusion of fossils in a study of the body size evolution of afrotherian mammals, a clade that includes the elephants, sea cows and elephant shrews. We find that the inclusion of fossil tips has little impact on analyses of body mass evolution; from a small ancestral size (approx. 100 g), there is a shift in rate and an increase in mass leading to the larger-bodied Paenungulata and Tubulidentata, regardless of whether fossils are included or excluded from analyses. For Afrotheria, the inclusion of fossils and morphological character data affect phylogenetic topology, but these differences have little impact upon patterns of body mass evolution and these body mass evolutionary patterns are consistent with the fossil record. The largest differences between our analyses result from the evolutionary model, not the addition of fossils. For some clades, extant-only analyses may be reliable to reconstruct body mass evolution, but the addition of fossils and careful model selection is likely to increase confidence and accuracy of reconstructed macroevolutionary patterns. © 2015 The Authors.

  14. Tardigrade eggs and exuviae in Antarctic lake sediments: insights into Holocene dynamics and origins of the fauna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra J. MCINNES


    Full Text Available The preservation of tardigrade eggs and exuviae in Antarctic lake sediments provided an opportunity to assess post-glacial colonisation and Holocene tardigrade dynamics on the southern continent. Tardigrade eggs were recovered from five lakes, two from the maritime Antarctic and three from continental Antarctica. Eggs were identified from the following species: Dactylobiotus cf. ambiguus, Macrobiotus furciger, Macrobiotus blocki, Minibiotus weinerorum and Acutuncus antarcticus. Other, unornamented eggs were also observed. The preservation of some of these eggs in exuviae allowed identification to at least genus. Significant variations were observed in egg abundance within the sediment of each lake, and in one lake a species (Dactylobiotus cf. ambiguus became locally extinct, probably as the result of penguin-associated eutrophication. Tardigrades generally did not become abundant for a considerable period after the lakes’ formation. The presence of an in-part endemic fauna is consistent with slow colonisation from Antarctic sources rather than wind transport from extra-continental sites. Tardigrade eggs appear to be abundant in high-latitude lake sediments, and greater use could be made of these records when evaluating tardigrade dynamics during the Holocene.

  15. Wildfire Activity Across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary in the Polish Basin: Evidence from New Fossil Charcoal & Carbon-isotope Data (United States)

    Pointer, R.; Belcher, C.; Hesselbo, S. P.; Hodbod, M.; Pieńkowski, G.


    New fossil charcoal abundance and carbon-isotope data from two sedimentary cores provide new evidence of extreme environmental conditions in the Polish Basin during the Latest Triassic to Earliest Jurassic. Sedimentary cores from the Polish Basin provide an excellent record of terrestrial environmental conditions across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary, a time of climatic extremes. Previous work has shown that the marine realm was affected by a large perturbation to the carbon cycle across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary (manifested by large negative and positive carbon-isotope excursions) and limited records of charcoal abundance and organic geochemistry have indicated important changes in fire regime in the coeval ecosystems. Here we present two new carbon-isotope records generated from fossil plant matter across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, and present new charcoal records. The charcoal abundance data confirm that there was variation in wildfire activity during the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic in the Polish Basin. Peaks in the number of fossil charcoal fragments present occur in both sedimentary cores, and increases in fossil charcoal abundance are linked to wildfires, signalling a short-lived rise in wildfire activity. Fossil charcoal abundance does not appear to be fully controlled by total organic matter content, depositional environment or bioturbation. We argue that increased wildfire activity is likely caused by an increase in ignition of plant material as a result of an elevated number of lightning strikes. Global warming (caused by a massive input of carbon into the atmosphere, as indicated by carbon-isotope data) can increase storm activity, leading to increased numbers of lightning strikes. Previous Triassic-Jurassic Boundary wildfire studies have found fossil charcoal abundance peaks at other northern hemisphere sites (Denmark & Greenland), and concluded that they represent increases in wildfire activity in the earliest Jurassic. Our new charcoal and

  16. Antarctic skuas recognize individual humans. (United States)

    Lee, Won Young; Han, Yeong-Deok; Lee, Sang-Im; Jablonski, Piotr G; Jung, Jin-Woo; Kim, Jeong-Hoon


    Recent findings report that wild animals can recognize individual humans. To explain how the animals distinguish humans, two hypotheses are proposed. The high cognitive abilities hypothesis implies that pre-existing high intelligence enabled animals to acquire such abilities. The pre-exposure to stimuli hypothesis suggests that frequent encounters with humans promote the acquisition of discriminatory abilities in these species. Here, we examine individual human recognition abilities in a wild Antarctic species, the brown skua (Stercorarius antarcticus), which lives away from typical human settlements and was only recently exposed to humans due to activities at Antarctic stations. We found that, as nest visits were repeated, the skua parents responded at further distances and were more likely to attack the nest intruder. Also, we demonstrated that seven out of seven breeding pairs of skuas selectively responded to a human nest intruder with aggression and ignored a neutral human who had not previously approached the nest. The results indicate that Antarctic skuas, a species that typically inhabited in human-free areas, are able to recognize individual humans who disturbed their nests. Our findings generally support the high cognitive abilities hypothesis, but this ability can be acquired during a relatively short period in the life of an individual as a result of interactions between individual birds and humans.

  17. Biological invasions in the Antarctic: extent, impacts and implications. (United States)

    Frenot, Yves; Chown, Steven L; Whinam, Jennie; Selkirk, Patricia M; Convey, Peter; Skotnicki, Mary; Bergstrom, Dana M


    Alien microbes, fungi, plants and animals occur on most of the sub-Antarctic islands and some parts of the Antarctic continent. These have arrived over approximately the last two centuries, coincident with human activity in the region. Introduction routes have varied, but are largely associated with movement of people and cargo in connection with industrial, national scientific program and tourist operations. The large majority of aliens are European in origin. They have both direct and indirect impacts on the functioning of species-poor Antarctic ecosystems, in particular including substantial loss of local biodiversity and changes to ecosystem processes. With rapid climate change occurring in some parts of Antarctica, elevated numbers of introductions and enhanced success of colonization by aliens are likely, with consequent increases in impacts on ecosystems. Mitigation measures that will substantially reduce the risk of introductions to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic must focus on reducing propagule loads on humans, and their food, cargo, and transport vessels.

  18. Ecuadorian antarctic act

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)


    To develop research in this continent involves to take communion with earth where the cold pole of the planet is located, the stormiest sea of the world surround it and where the capricious continental and geographical distribution permits the pass of meteorological violent and continuous systems. The Ecuador, in execution of the acquired commitments like Full Member of the System of the Antarctic Treaty, carried out the VII Expedition to the White Continent with an extensive program of scientific investigation in the field of: Sciences of Life, Sciences of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, so much in the environment of the Pacific Southeast, the Drake Pass, Bransfield Strait and the nearby ecosystems antarctic to Point Fort William in the Greenwich Island, site where the Ecuadorian station Pedro Vicente Maldonado is located. The scientific articles, result of the fruitful work of national investigator is consigned in this fourth edition. This publication constitutes our contribution to the world in the knowledge, understanding and handling of the marvelous White Continent from the middle of our planet, Ecuador

  19. Biogeographic distribution and metric dental variation of fossil and living orangutans (Pongo spp.). (United States)

    Tshen, Lim Tze


    The genus Pongo has a relatively richer Quaternary fossil record than those of the African great apes. Fossil materials are patchy in terms of anatomical parts represented, limited almost exclusively to isolated teeth, jaw and bone fragments. Fossil evidence indicates that the genus Pongo had a broadly continuous distribution across the southern part of the Indomalayan biogeographic region, ranging in time from Early Pleistocene to Holocene: southern China (77 fossil sites), Vietnam (15), Laos (6), Cambodia (2), Thailand (4), Peninsular Malaysia (6), Sumatra (4), Borneo (6) and Java (4). Within this distribution range, there are major geographical gaps with no known orangutan fossils, notably central and southern Indochina, central and southern Thailand, eastern Peninsular Malaysia, northern and southern Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The geological time and place of origin of the genus remain unresolved. Fossil orangutan assemblages usually show greater extent of dental metrical variation than those of modern-day populations. Such variability shown in prehistoric populations has partially contributed to confusion regarding past taxonomic diversity and systematic relationships among extinct and living forms. To date, no fewer than 14 distinct taxa have been identified and named for Pleistocene orangutans. Clear cases suggestive of predation by prehistoric human are few in number, and limited to terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene sites in Borneo and a Late Pleistocene site in Vietnam.

  20. Sediment core fossils in ancient Lake Ohrid: testing for faunal change since the Last Interglacial

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Albrecht


    Full Text Available Ancient Lake Ohrid is probably of early Pleistocene or Pliocene origin and amongst the few lakes in the world harbouring an outstanding degree of endemic biodiversity. Although there is a long history of evolutionary research in Lake Ohrid, particularly on molluscs, a mollusc fossil record has been missing up to date. For the first time, gastropod and bivalve fossils are reported from the basal, calcareous part of a 2.6 m long sediment succession (core Co1200 from the north-eastern part of Lake Ohrid. Electron spin resonance (ESR dating of mollusc shells from the same stratigraphic level yielded an age of 130 ± 28 ka. Lithofacies III sediments, i.e. a stratigraphic subdivision comprising the basal succession of core Co1200 between 181.5–263 cm, appeared solid, greyish-white, and consisted almost entirely of silt-sized endogenic calcite (CaCO3>70% and intact and broken mollusc shells. Here we compare the faunal composition of the thanatocoenosis with recent mollusc associations in Lake Ohrid. A total of 13 mollusc species (9 gastropod and 4 bivalve species could be identified within Lithofacies III sediments. The value of sediment core fossils for reconstructing palaeoenvironmental settings was evaluated and the agreement between sediment and palaeontological proxies was tested.

    The study also aims at investigating major faunal changes since the Last Interglacial and searching for signs of extinction events.

    The combined findings of the ecological study and the sediment characteristics suggest deposition in a shallow water environment during the Last Interglacial. The fossil fauna exclusively included species also found in the present fauna, i.e. no extinction events are evident for this site since the Last Interglacial. The thanatocoenosis showed the highest similarity with recent Intermediate Layer (5–25 m water depth mollusc assemblages. The demonstrated existence of a mollusc fossil record in Lake Ohrid

  1. Spatial pattern in Antarctica: what can we learn from Antarctic bacterial isolates? (United States)

    Chong, Chun Wie; Goh, Yuh Shan; Convey, Peter; Pearce, David; Tan, Irene Kit Ping


    A range of small- to moderate-scale studies of patterns in bacterial biodiversity have been conducted in Antarctica over the last two decades, most suggesting strong correlations between the described bacterial communities and elements of local environmental heterogeneity. However, very few of these studies have advanced interpretations in terms of spatially associated patterns, despite increasing evidence of patterns in bacterial biogeography globally. This is likely to be a consequence of restricted sampling coverage, with most studies to date focusing only on a few localities within a specific Antarctic region. Clearly, there is now a need for synthesis over a much larger spatial to consolidate the available data. In this study, we collated Antarctic bacterial culture identities based on the 16S rRNA gene information available in the literature and the GenBank database (n > 2,000 sequences). In contrast to some recent evidence for a distinct Antarctic microbiome, our phylogenetic comparisons show that a majority (~75 %) of Antarctic bacterial isolates were highly similar (≥99 % sequence similarity) to those retrieved from tropical and temperate regions, suggesting widespread distribution of eurythermal mesophiles in Antarctic environments. However, across different Antarctic regions, the dominant bacterial genera exhibit some spatially distinct diversity patterns analogous to those recently proposed for Antarctic terrestrial macroorganisms. Taken together, our results highlight the threat of cross-regional homogenisation in Antarctic biodiversity, and the imperative to include microbiota within the framework of biosecurity measures for Antarctica.

  2. Statistical Models for Inferring Vegetation Composition from Fossil Pollen (United States)

    Paciorek, C.; McLachlan, J. S.; Shang, Z.


    Fossil pollen provide information about vegetation composition that can be used to help understand how vegetation has changed over the past. However, these data have not traditionally been analyzed in a way that allows for statistical inference about spatio-temporal patterns and trends. We build a Bayesian hierarchical model called STEPPS (Spatio-Temporal Empirical Prediction from Pollen in Sediments) that predicts forest composition in southern New England, USA, over the last two millenia based on fossil pollen. The critical relationships between abundances of tree taxa in the pollen record and abundances in actual vegetation are estimated using modern (Forest Inventory Analysis) data and (witness tree) data from colonial records. This gives us two time points at which both pollen and direct vegetation data are available. Based on these relationships, and incorporating our uncertainty about them, we predict forest composition using fossil pollen. We estimate the spatial distribution and relative abundances of tree species and draw inference about how these patterns have changed over time. Finally, we describe ongoing work to extend the modeling to the upper Midwest of the U.S., including an approach to infer tree density and thereby estimate the prairie-forest boundary in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This work is part of the PalEON project, which brings together a team of ecosystem modelers, paleoecologists, and statisticians with the goal of reconstructing vegetation responses to climate during the last two millenia in the northeastern and midwestern United States. The estimates from the statistical modeling will be used to assess and calibrate ecosystem models that are used to project ecological changes in response to global change.

  3. Fossil biogeography: a new model to infer dispersal, extinction and sampling from palaeontological data. (United States)

    Silvestro, Daniele; Zizka, Alexander; Bacon, Christine D; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Salamin, Nicolas; Antonelli, Alexandre


    Methods in historical biogeography have revolutionized our ability to infer the evolution of ancestral geographical ranges from phylogenies of extant taxa, the rates of dispersals, and biotic connectivity among areas. However, extant taxa are likely to provide limited and potentially biased information about past biogeographic processes, due to extinction, asymmetrical dispersals and variable connectivity among areas. Fossil data hold considerable information about past distribution of lineages, but suffer from largely incomplete sampling. Here we present a new dispersal-extinction-sampling (DES) model, which estimates biogeographic parameters using fossil occurrences instead of phylogenetic trees. The model estimates dispersal and extinction rates while explicitly accounting for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Rates can vary between areas and through time, thus providing the opportunity to assess complex scenarios of biogeographic evolution. We implement the DES model in a Bayesian framework and demonstrate through simulations that it can accurately infer all the relevant parameters. We demonstrate the use of our model by analysing the Cenozoic fossil record of land plants and inferring dispersal and extinction rates across Eurasia and North America. Our results show that biogeographic range evolution is not a time-homogeneous process, as assumed in most phylogenetic analyses, but varies through time and between areas. In our empirical assessment, this is shown by the striking predominance of plant dispersals from Eurasia into North America during the Eocene climatic cooling, followed by a shift in the opposite direction, and finally, a balance in biotic interchange since the middle Miocene. We conclude by discussing the potential of fossil-based analyses to test biogeographic hypotheses and improve phylogenetic methods in historical biogeography. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. Antarctic glaciation caused ocean circulation changes at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. (United States)

    Goldner, A; Herold, N; Huber, M


    Two main hypotheses compete to explain global cooling and the abrupt growth of the Antarctic ice sheet across the Eocene-Oligocene transition about 34 million years ago: thermal isolation of Antarctica due to southern ocean gateway opening, and declining atmospheric CO2 (refs 5, 6). Increases in ocean thermal stratification and circulation in proxies across the Eocene-Oligocene transition have been interpreted as a unique signature of gateway opening, but at present both mechanisms remain possible. Here, using a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, we show that the rise of Antarctic glaciation, rather than altered palaeogeography, is best able to explain the observed oceanographic changes. We find that growth of the Antarctic ice sheet caused enhanced northward transport of Antarctic intermediate water and invigorated the formation of Antarctic bottom water, fundamentally reorganizing ocean circulation. Conversely, gateway openings had much less impact on ocean thermal stratification and circulation. Our results support available evidence that CO2 drawdown--not gateway opening--caused Antarctic ice sheet growth, and further show that these feedbacks in turn altered ocean circulation. The precise timing and rate of glaciation, and thus its impacts on ocean circulation, reflect the balance between potentially positive feedbacks (increases in sea ice extent and enhanced primary productivity) and negative feedbacks (stronger southward heat transport and localized high-latitude warming). The Antarctic ice sheet had a complex, dynamic role in ocean circulation and heat fluxes during its initiation, and these processes are likely to operate in the future.

  5. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ian M. Miller; Mitchell A. Plummer; Various Others


    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5

  6. Are Antarctic minke whales unusually abundant because of 20th century whaling? (United States)

    Ruegg, Kristen C; Anderson, Eric C; Scott Baker, C; Vant, Murdoch; Jackson, Jennifer A; Palumbi, Stephen R


    Severe declines in megafauna worldwide illuminate the role of top predators in ecosystem structure. In the Antarctic, the Krill Surplus Hypothesis posits that the killing of more than 2 million large whales led to competitive release for smaller krill-eating species like the Antarctic minke whale. If true, the current size of the Antarctic minke whale population may be unusually high as an indirect result of whaling. Here, we estimate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale prior to whaling by sequencing 11 nuclear genetic markers from 52 modern samples purchased in Japanese meat markets. We use coalescent simulations to explore the potential influence of population substructure and find that even though our samples are drawn from a limited geographic area, our estimate reflects ocean-wide genetic diversity. Using Bayesian estimates of the mutation rate and coalescent-based analyses of genetic diversity across loci, we calculate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale to be 670,000 individuals (95% confidence interval: 374,000-1,150,000). Our estimate of long-term abundance is similar to, or greater than, contemporary abundance estimates, suggesting that managing Antarctic ecosystems under the assumption that Antarctic minke whales are unusually abundant is not warranted.

  7. Children's Ideas about Fossils and Foundational Concepts Related to Fossils (United States)

    Borgerding, Lisa A.; Raven, Sara


    Many standards documents and learning progressions recommend evolution learning in elementary grades. Given young children's interest in dinosaurs and other fossils, fossil investigations can provide a rich entry into evolutionary biology for young learners. Educational psychology literature has addressed children's reasoning about foundational…

  8. Feasibility of Using Alternate Fuels in the U.S. Antarctic Program: Initial Assessment (United States)


    Polar Programs. Morris, A. 2015a. Email communication. 21 April. Centennial , CO: Antarctic Support Contractor. ———. 2015b. Personal...communication. 19 May. Centennial , CO: Antarctic Support Contractor. ———. 2014. Email communication. 24 November. Centennial , CO: Antarctic Support

  9. High-resolution leaf-fossil record spanning the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (United States)

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M.; Orth, C.J.


    THEORIES that explain the extinctions characterizing the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1-3 need to be tested by analyses of thoroughly sampled biotas. Palynological studies are the primary means for stratigraphic placement of the terrestrial boundary and for estimates of plant extinction4-12, but have not been combined with quantitative analyses of fossil leaves (megaflora). Megafloral studies complement palynology by representing local floras with assemblages capable of high taxonomic resolution13, but have previously lacked the sample size and stratigraphic spacing needed to resolve latest Cretaceous floral history5,14-18. We have now combined megafloral data from a 100-m-thick composite K/T boundary section in North Dakota with detailed palynological analysis. Here the boundary is marked by a 30% palynofloral extinction coincident with iridium and shocked-mineral anomalies and lies ???2 m above the highest dinosaur remains. The megaflora undergoes a 79% turnover across the boundary, and smaller changes 17- and 25-m below it. This pattern is consistent with latest Cretaceous climatic warming preceding a bolide impact. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  10. The use of drilling by the U.S. Antarctic program

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wade, M.C.; Webb, J.W.; Hedberg, W.H.


    This report on drilling in the Antarctic has been prepared by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to assist principal investigators and others in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. Implementing regulations for NEPA are spelled out in 40 CFR 1500-1508. Environmental protection under the Antarctic Treaty is addressed in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (hereafter referred to as the Protocol), which was adopted by 26 countries in 1991. In the United States, responsibility for compliance with these requirements rests with the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP), which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). The USAP recognizes the potentially profound impacts that its presence and activities can have on the antarctic environment. In its extensive support of operations and research in Antarctica, the USAP uses all practical means to foster and maintain natural conditions while supporting scientific endeavors in a safe and healthful manner. Reducing human impacts on the antarctic environment is a major goal of the USAP. The USAP`s operating philosophy is based on broad yet reasonable and practical assumptions concerning environmental protection. The USAP maintains three year-round stations on the continent to support scientific research. Research and associated support operations at these stations and camps sometimes involve drilling into ice, soil, or ocean sediments. In order to comply with NEPA and the Protocol, it is necessary for principal investigators and others to assess the environmental effects of drilling. This report has been prepared to assist in this process by describing various drilling technologies currently available for use in Antarctica, generally characterizing the potential environmental impacts associated with these drilling techniques, and identifying possible mitigation measures to reduce impacts.

  11. New Carcharhiniform Sharks (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii) from the Early to Middle Eocene of Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Engelbrecht, Andrea; Mörs, Thomas; Reguero, Marcelo A.; Kriwet, Jürgen


    Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula, is known for its wealth of fossil remains. This island provides one of the richest fossiliferous Paleogene sequences in the world. Chondrichthyans seemingly dominate this Eocene marine fauna and offer a rare insight into high-latitude faunas during the Palaeogene. So far, only a few isolated teeth of carcharhinid sharks have been reported from Seymour Island. Bulk sampling in the well-exposed La Meseta and Submeseta formations yielded new and abundant chondrichthyan material, including numerous teeth of carcharhinid and triakid sharks. Here, we present a reevaluation of the previously described carcharhinid remains and a description of new taxa: Meridiogaleus cristatus, gen. et sp. nov., Kallodentis rythistemma, gen. et sp. nov., Abdounia richteri, sp. nov., and Abdounia mesetae, sp. nov. The carcharhiniforms Mustelus sp. and Galeorhinus sp. are reported based on rare material, whereas teeth previously assigned to Scoliodon represent a nomen dubium. PMID:29551850

  12. Right-handed fossil humans. (United States)

    Lozano, Marina; Estalrrich, Almudena; Bondioli, Luca; Fiore, Ivana; Bermúdez de Castro, José-Maria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carbonell, Eudald; Rosas, Antonio; Frayer, David W


    Fossil hominids often processed material held between their upper and lower teeth. Pulling with one hand and cutting with the other, they occasionally left impact cut marks on the lip (labial) surface of their incisors and canines. From these actions, it possible to determine the dominant hand used. The frequency of these oblique striations in an array of fossil hominins documents the typically modern pattern of 9 right- to 1 left-hander. This ratio among living Homo sapiens differs from that among chimpanzees and bonobos and more distant primate relatives. Together, all studies of living people affirm that dominant right-handedness is a uniquely modern human trait. The same pattern extends deep into our past. Thus far, the majority of inferred right-handed fossils come from Europe, but a single maxilla from a Homo habilis, OH-65, shows a predominance of right oblique scratches, thus extending right-handedness into the early Pleistocene of Africa. Other studies show right-handedness in more recent African, Chinese, and Levantine fossils, but the sample compiled for non-European fossil specimens remains small. Fossil specimens from Sima del los Huesos and a variety of European Neandertal sites are predominately right-handed. We argue the 9:1 handedness ratio in Neandertals and the earlier inhabitants of Europe constitutes evidence for a modern pattern of handedness well before the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. NOAA Climate Data Record (CDR) of AVHRR Polar Pathfinder Extended (APP-X) Cryosphere (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Climate Data Record (CDR) of the extended AVHRR Polar Pathfinder (APP-x) cryosphere contains 19 geophysical variables over the Arctic and Antarctic for the...

  14. Faunal diversity of the benthic amphipods (Crustacea of the Magellan region as compared to the Antarctic (preliminary results

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claude de Broyer


    Full Text Available To investigate the marine benthic ecosystems of the Magellan region and to compare them with the better known Antarctic systems, three campaigns were recently carried out in this area: the Joint Magellan Victor Hensen Campaign 1994, the Polarstern ANT XIII/4 cruise 1996, and the Vidal Gormaz CIMAR FIORDO II cruise 1996. Numerous and diverse zoobenthos samples were collected mostly with an Agassiz trawl and with a small dredge, an epibenthic sledge, with baited traps or by diving. All gears together gathered more than 132,000 specimens of gammaridean and caprellidean amphipods. 137 species of gammaridean amphipods have been identified from the material to date. About 20% of these species appear to be new for science. This taxonomic work takes place in the framework of a general revision of the Southern Ocean amphipod fauna undertaken by theAntarctic Amphipodologists Network. A complete list of the benthic species of gammaridean and caprellidean amphipods is presented, including the zoogeographical distribution and the new records. The new abundant material collected, still under study, will allow a comparison of faunal diversity, zoogeographical and ecological traits of the Magellan benthic amphipod taxocoenoses with those of the West and East Antarctic benthos.

  15. Two fossil species of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) from the Oligo-Miocene Golden Fleece locality in Tasmania, Australia. (United States)

    Tarran, Myall; Wilson, Peter G; Macphail, Michael K; Jordan, Greg J; Hill, Robert S


    The capsular-fruited genus Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) is one of the most widely distributed flowering plant genera in the Pacific but is extinct in Australia today. The center of geographic origin for the genus and the reason for and timing of its extinction in Australia remain uncertain. We identify fossil Metrosideros fruits from the newly discovered Golden Fleece fossil flora in the Oligo-Miocene of Tasmania, Australia, shedding further light on these problems. Standard paleopalynological techniques were used to date the fossil-bearing sediments. Scanning electron microscopy and an auto-montage camera system were used to take high-resolution images of fossil and extant fruits taken from herbarium specimens. Fossils are identified using a nearest-living-relative approach. The fossil-bearing sediments are palynostratigraphically dated as being Proteacidites tuberculatus Zone Equivalent (ca. 33-16 Ma) in age and provide a confident Oligo-Miocene age for the macrofossils. Two new fossil species of Metrosideros are described and are here named Metrosideros dawsonii sp. nov. and Metrosideros wrightii sp. nov. These newly described fossil species of Metrosideros provide a second record of the genus in the Cenozoic of Australia, placing them in the late Early Oligocene to late Early Miocene. It is now apparent not only that Metrosideros was present in Australia, where the genus is now extinct, but that at least several Metrosideros species were present during the Cenozoic. These fossils further strengthen the case for an Australian origin of the genus. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  16. Geologic History of Eocene Stonerose Fossil Beds, Republic, Washington, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George E. Mustoe


    Full Text Available Eocene lakebed sediments at Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic, Washington, USA are one of the most important Cenozoic fossil sites in North America, having gained international attention because of the abundance and diversity of plant, insect, and fish fossils. This report describes the first detailed geologic investigation of this unusual lagerstätten. Strata are gradationally divided into three units: Siliceous shale that originated as diatomite, overlain by laminated mudstone, which is in turn overlain by massive beds of lithic sandstone. The sedimentary sequence records topographic and hydrologic changes that caused a deep lake to become progressively filled with volcaniclastic detritus from earlier volcanic episodes. The location of the ancient lake within an active graben suggests that displacements along the boundary faults were the most likely trigger for changes in depositional processes.

  17. Fossil wood flora from the Siwalik Group of Arunachal Pradesh, India and its climatic and phytogeographic significance (United States)

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, R. C.; Srikarni, C.


    The plant fossil records from the Siwalik Group of Arunachal Pradesh, India are far from satisfactory due to remoteness and dense vegetation of the area. We report seven fossil woods of which three belong to the Middle Siwalik (Subansiri Formation), while the rest are from the Upper Siwalik (Kimin Formation). The modern analogues of the fossils from the Middle Siwalik are Lophopetalum littorale (Celastraceae), Afzelia-Intsia and Sindora siamensis (Fabaceae) and from the Upper Siwalik are Miliusa velutina (Annonaceae), Calophyllum tomentosum and Kayea (Calophyllaceae) and Diospyros melanoxylon (Ebenaceae). The dominance of diffuse porosity in the fossil woods indicates a tropical climate with low seasonality (little variation) in temperature, while a high proportion of large vessels and simple perforation plates in the assemblage infer high precipitation during the deposition of the sediments. The aforesaid inference is in strong agreement with the previous quantitative reconstruction based on fossil leaves. Several modern analogues of the fossil taxa are now growing in low latitudes possibly due to an increase in seasonality (increased variation) in temperature caused by the rising Himalaya.

  18. A cosmopolitan late Ediacaran biotic assemblage: new fossils from Nevada and Namibia support a global biostratigraphic link (United States)

    Smith, E. F.; Nelson, L. L.; Tweedt, S. M.; Zeng, H.; Workman, Jeremiah B.


    Owing to the lack of temporally well-constrained Ediacaran fossil localities containing overlapping biotic assemblages, it has remained uncertain if the latest Ediacaran (ca 550–541 Ma) assemblages reflect systematic biological turnover or environmental, taphonomic or biogeographic biases. Here, we report new latest Ediacaran fossil discoveries from the lower member of the Wood Canyon Formation in Nye County, Nevada, including the first figured reports of erniettomorphs, Gaojiashania, Conotubus and other problematic fossils. The fossils are spectacularly preserved in three taphonomic windows and occur in greater than 11 stratigraphic horizons, all of which are below the first appearance of Treptichnus pedum and the nadir of a large negative δ13C excursion that is a chemostratigraphic marker of the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. The co-occurrence of morphologically diverse tubular fossils and erniettomorphs in Nevada provides a biostratigraphic link among latest Ediacaran fossil localities globally. Integrated with a new report of Gaojiashania from Namibia, previous fossil reports and existing age constraints, these finds demonstrate a distinctive late Ediacaran fossil assemblage comprising at least two groups of macroscopic organisms with dissimilar body plans that ecologically and temporally overlapped for at least 6 Myr at the close of the Ediacaran Period. This cosmopolitan biotic assemblage disappeared from the fossil record at the end of the Ediacaran Period, prior to the Cambrian radiation.

  19. The United States Antarctic Program Data Center (USAP-DC): Recent Developments (United States)

    Nitsche, F. O.; Bauer, R.; Arko, R. A.; Shane, N.; Carbotte, S. M.; Scambos, T.


    Antarctic earth and environmental science data are highly valuable, often unique research assets. They are acquired with substantial and expensive logistical effort, frequently in areas that will not be re-visited for many years. The data acquired in support of Antarctic research span a wide range of disciplines. Historically, data management for the US Antarctic Program (USAP) has made use of existing disciplinary data centers, and the international Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) has served as a central metadata catalog linking to data files hosted in these external repositories. However, disciplinary repositories do not exist for all USAP-generated data types and often it is unclear what repositories are appropriate, leading to many datasets being served locally from scientist's websites or not available at all. The USAP Data Center (USAP-DC;, operated as part of the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance (IEDA), contributes to the broader preservation of research data acquired with funding from NSF's Office of Polar Programs by providing a repository for diverse data from the Antarctic region. USAP-DC hosts data that spans the range of Antarctic research from snow radar to volcano observatory imagery to penguin counts to meteorological model outputs. Data services include data documentation, long-term preservation, and web publication, as well as scientist support for registration of data descriptions into the AMD in fulfillment of US obligations under the International Antarctic Treaty. In Spring 2016, USAP-DC and the NSIDC began a new collaboration to consolidate data services for Antarctic investigators and to integrate the NSF-funded glaciology collection at NSIDC with the collection hosted by USAP-DC. Investigator submissions for NSF's Glaciology program now make use of USAP-DC's web submission tools, providing a uniform interface for Antarctic investigators. The tools have been redesigned to collect a broader range of metadata. Each data

  20. Unequivocal detection of ozone recovery in the Antarctic Ozone Hole through significant increases in atmospheric layers with minimum ozone (United States)

    de Laat, Jos; van Weele, Michiel; van der A, Ronald


    An important new landmark in present day ozone research is presented through MLS satellite observations of significant ozone increases during the ozone hole season that are attributed unequivocally to declining ozone depleting substances. For many decades the Antarctic ozone hole has been the prime example of both the detrimental effects of human activities on our environment as well as how to construct effective and successful environmental policies. Nowadays atmospheric concentrations of ozone depleting substances are on the decline and first signs of recovery of stratospheric ozone and ozone in the Antarctic ozone hole have been observed. The claimed detection of significant recovery, however, is still subject of debate. In this talk we will discuss first current uncertainties in the assessment of ozone recovery in the Antarctic ozone hole by using multi-variate regression methods, and, secondly present an alternative approach to identify ozone hole recovery unequivocally. Even though multi-variate regression methods help to reduce uncertainties in estimates of ozone recovery, great care has to be taken in their application due to the existence of uncertainties and degrees of freedom in the choice of independent variables. We show that taking all uncertainties into account in the regressions the formal recovery of ozone in the Antarctic ozone hole cannot be established yet, though is likely before the end of the decade (before 2020). Rather than focusing on time and area averages of total ozone columns or ozone profiles, we argue that the time evolution of the probability distribution of vertically resolved ozone in the Antarctic ozone hole contains a better fingerprint for the detection of ozone recovery in the Antarctic ozone hole. The advantages of this method over more tradition methods of trend analyses based on spatio-temporal average ozone are discussed. The 10-year record of MLS satellite measurements of ozone in the Antarctic ozone hole shows a

  1. Antarctic science (United States)

    Summerhayes, Colin

    Once upon a time, dinosaurs roamed Antarctica and swam in its seas. Since then, life evolved as the climate cooled into the ice ages. Life will no doubt continue to evolve there as the globe now warms. But nowadays, humans are having a profound and direct effect on life in Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands, and the surrounding Southern Ocean, which are being invaded by a wide range of alien species including microbes, algae, fungi, bryophytes, land plants, invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals.

  2. The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise. (United States)

    Golledge, N R; Kowalewski, D E; Naish, T R; Levy, R H; Fogwill, C J; Gasson, E G W


    Atmospheric warming is projected to increase global mean surface temperatures by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial values by the end of this century. If anthropogenic emissions continue unchecked, the warming increase may reach 8-10 degrees Celsius by 2300 (ref. 2). The contribution that large ice sheets will make to sea-level rise under such warming scenarios is difficult to quantify because the equilibrium-response timescale of ice sheets is longer than those of the atmosphere or ocean. Here we use a coupled ice-sheet/ice-shelf model to show that if atmospheric warming exceeds 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above present, collapse of the major Antarctic ice shelves triggers a centennial- to millennial-scale response of the Antarctic ice sheet in which enhanced viscous flow produces a long-term commitment (an unstoppable contribution) to sea-level rise. Our simulations represent the response of the present-day Antarctic ice-sheet system to the oceanic and climatic changes of four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We find that substantial Antarctic ice loss can be prevented only by limiting greenhouse gas emissions to RCP 2.6 levels. Higher-emissions scenarios lead to ice loss from Antarctic that will raise sea level by 0.6-3 metres by the year 2300. Our results imply that greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades will strongly influence the long-term contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to global sea level.

  3. Transcriptome of the Antarctic brooding gastropod mollusc Margarella antarctica. (United States)

    Clark, Melody S; Thorne, Michael A S


    454 RNA-Seq transcriptome data were generated from foot tissue of the Antarctic brooding gastropod mollusc Margarella antarctica. A total of 6195 contigs were assembled de novo, providing a useful resource for researchers with an interest in Antarctic marine species, phylogenetics and mollusc biology, especially shell production. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Health aspects of Antarctic tourism. (United States)

    Prociv, P


    Increasing numbers of seaborne tourists are visiting Antarctica, with most coming from the United States (3503 in 1996-97), Germany (777), and Australia (680; cf. 356 in 1994-95 and 410 in 1995-96). The impression among travel medicine clinicians is that, each year, more prospective travelers seek advice about the health demands of this type of adventure, mostly relating to fitness for travel, exposure to extreme cold, hazards in ice and snow, and other potential health risks. This is a recent phenomenon. While a regular shipping service had been established between the Falklands and the subantarctic islands of South Georgia and the South Shetlands by 1924, the first documented tourists accompanied an Argentine expedition to the South Orkneys in 1933.1 Commercial airline flights over these islands and the Antarctic Peninsula began in 1956, from Chile, and recreational cruises to the Peninsula began in 1958. Tourist numbers subsequently grew slowly, for what was clearly an exclusive and very expensive undertaking, with few ships available for these hazardous voyages. From 1957 to 1993, 37,000 tourists visited by sea, most seeing only the Peninsula.2 The dramatic recent growth in numbers is a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The small fleet of ice-strengthened research vessels and working icebreakers, which was made redundant by withdrawal of central government support from isolated communities and military activities along the northern coast of Siberia (and from Antarctic research bases), now accounts for the bulk of charter-cruise tourism to Antarctica, at competitive prices. According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators,3 7322 people traveled to Antarctica on commercially organized voyages in the 1996-97 season, and a record 10,000 shipborne visitors were expected for the 1997-98 season (November-March), traveling mainly from South America to the Peninsula on 15 ice-reinforced vessels, each carrying between 36 and 180

  5. Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya


    Joordens , Josephine ,; Dupont-Nivet , Guillaume; Feibel , Craig ,; Spoor , Fred; Sier , Mark ,; Van Der Lubbe , Jeroen ,; Nielsen , Trine; Knul , Monika ,; Davies , Gareth ,; Vonhof , Hubert ,


    International audience; To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2 Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy...

  6. The original colours of fossil beetles. (United States)

    McNamara, Maria E; Briggs, Derek E G; Orr, Patrick J; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui


    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group.

  7. Quantarctica: A Unique, Open, Standalone GIS Package for Antarctic Research and Education (United States)

    Roth, George; Matsuoka, Kenichi; Skoglund, Anders; Melvær, Yngve; Tronstad, Stein


    The Norwegian Polar Institute has developed Quantarctica (, an open GIS package for use by the international Antarctic community. Quantarctica includes a wide range of cartographic basemap layers, geophysical and glaciological datasets, and satellite imagery in standardized open file formats with a consistent Antarctic map projection and customized layer and labeling styles for quick, effective cartography. Quantarctica's strengths as an open science platform lie in 1) The complete, ready-to-use data package which includes full-resolution, original-quality vector and raster data, 2) A policy for freely-redistributable and modifiable data including all metadata and citations, and 3) QGIS, a free, full-featured, modular, offline-capable open-source GIS suite with a rapid and active development and support community. The Quantarctica team is actively incorporating more up-to-date, peer-reviewed, freely distributable pan-Antarctic geospatial datasets for the next version release in 2017. As part of this ongoing development, we are investigating the best approaches for quickly and seamlessly distributing new and updated data to users, storing datasets in efficient, open file formats while maintaining full data integrity, and coexisting with numerous online data portals in a way that most actively benefits the Antarctic community. A recent survey of Quantarctica users showed broad geographical adoption among Antarctic Treaty countries, including those outside the large US and UK Antarctic programs. Maps and figures produced by Quantarctica have also appeared in open-access journals and outside of the formal scientific community on popular science and GIS blogs. Our experience with the Quantarctica project has shown the tremendous value of education and outreach, not only in promoting open software, data formats, and practices, but in empowering Antarctic science groups to more effectively use GIS and geospatial data. Open practices are

  8. Climate change and the marine ecosystem of the western Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Clarke, Andrew; Murphy, Eugene J; Meredith, Michael P; King, John C; Peck, Lloyd S; Barnes, David K.A; Smith, Raymond C


    The Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing one of the fastest rates of regional climate change on Earth, resulting in the collapse of ice shelves, the retreat of glaciers and the exposure of new terrestrial habitat. In the nearby oceanic system, winter sea ice in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas has decreased in extent by 10% per decade, and shortened in seasonal duration. Surface waters have warmed by more than 1 K since the 1950s, and the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current has also warmed. Of the changes observed in the marine ecosystem of the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region to date, alterations in winter sea ice dynamics are the most likely to have had a direct impact on the marine fauna, principally through shifts in the extent and timing of habitat for ice-associated biota. Warming of seawater at depths below ca 100 m has yet to reach the levels that are biologically significant. Continued warming, or a change in the frequency of the flooding of CDW onto the WAP continental shelf may, however, induce sublethal effects that influence ecological interactions and hence food-web operation. The best evidence for recent changes in the ecosystem may come from organisms which record aspects of their population dynamics in their skeleton (such as molluscs or brachiopods) or where ecological interactions are preserved (such as in encrusting biota of hard substrata). In addition, a southwards shift of marine isotherms may induce a parallel migration of some taxa similar to that observed on land. The complexity of the Southern Ocean food web and the nonlinear nature of many interactions mean that predictions based on short-term studies of a small number of species are likely to be misleading. PMID:17405211

  9. Climate change and the marine ecosystem of the western Antarctic Peninsula. (United States)

    Clarke, Andrew; Murphy, Eugene J; Meredith, Michael P; King, John C; Peck, Lloyd S; Barnes, David K A; Smith, Raymond C


    The Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing one of the fastest rates of regional climate change on Earth, resulting in the collapse of ice shelves, the retreat of glaciers and the exposure of new terrestrial habitat. In the nearby oceanic system, winter sea ice in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas has decreased in extent by 10% per decade, and shortened in seasonal duration. Surface waters have warmed by more than 1 K since the 1950s, and the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current has also warmed. Of the changes observed in the marine ecosystem of the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region to date, alterations in winter sea ice dynamics are the most likely to have had a direct impact on the marine fauna, principally through shifts in the extent and timing of habitat for ice-associated biota. Warming of seawater at depths below ca 100 m has yet to reach the levels that are biologically significant. Continued warming, or a change in the frequency of the flooding of CDW onto the WAP continental shelf may, however, induce sublethal effects that influence ecological interactions and hence food-web operation. The best evidence for recent changes in the ecosystem may come from organisms which record aspects of their population dynamics in their skeleton (such as molluscs or brachiopods) or where ecological interactions are preserved (such as in encrusting biota of hard substrata). In addition, a southwards shift of marine isotherms may induce a parallel migration of some taxa similar to that observed on land. The complexity of the Southern Ocean food web and the nonlinear nature of many interactions mean that predictions based on short-term studies of a small number of species are likely to be misleading.

  10. Initiation and long-term instability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. (United States)

    Gulick, Sean P S; Shevenell, Amelia E; Montelli, Aleksandr; Fernandez, Rodrigo; Smith, Catherine; Warny, Sophie; Bohaty, Steven M; Sjunneskog, Charlotte; Leventer, Amy; Frederick, Bruce; Blankenship, Donald D


    Antarctica's continental-scale ice sheets have evolved over the past 50 million years. However, the dearth of ice-proximal geological records limits our understanding of past East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) behaviour and thus our ability to evaluate its response to ongoing environmental change. The EAIS is marine-terminating and grounded below sea level within the Aurora subglacial basin, indicating that this catchment, which drains ice to the Sabrina Coast, may be sensitive to climate perturbations. Here we show, using marine geological and geophysical data from the continental shelf seaward of the Aurora subglacial basin, that marine-terminating glaciers existed at the Sabrina Coast by the early to middle Eocene epoch. This finding implies the existence of substantial ice volume in the Aurora subglacial basin before continental-scale ice sheets were established about 34 million years ago. Subsequently, ice advanced across and retreated from the Sabrina Coast continental shelf at least 11 times during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. Tunnel valleys associated with half of these glaciations indicate that a surface-meltwater-rich sub-polar glacial system existed under climate conditions similar to those anticipated with continued anthropogenic warming. Cooling since the late Miocene resulted in an expanded polar EAIS and a limited glacial response to Pliocene warmth in the Aurora subglacial basin catchment. Geological records from the Sabrina Coast shelf indicate that, in addition to ocean temperature, atmospheric temperature and surface-derived meltwater influenced East Antarctic ice mass balance under warmer-than-present climate conditions. Our results imply a dynamic EAIS response with continued anthropogenic warming and suggest that the EAIS contribution to future global sea-level projections may be under-estimated.

  11. The oldest gibbon fossil (Hylobatidae) from insular Southeast Asia: evidence from Trinil, (East Java, Indonesia), Lower/Middle Pleistocene. (United States)

    Ingicco, Thomas; de Vos, John; Huffman, O Frank


    A fossil femur excavated by Eugène Dubois between 1891-1900 in the Lower/Middle Pleistocene bonebed of the Trinil site (Java, Indonesia) was recognised by us as that of a Hylobatidae. The specimen, Trinil 5703 of the Dubois Collection (Leiden, The Netherlands), has the same distinctive form of fossilization that is seen in many of the bonebed fossils from Trinil in the collection. Anatomical comparison of Trinil 5703 to a sample of carnivore and primate femora, supported by morphometric analyses, lead to the attribution of the fossil to gibbon. Trinil 5703 therefore provides the oldest insular record of this clade, one of the oldest known Hylobatidae fossils from Southeast Asia. Because living Hylobatidae only inhabit evergreen rain forests, the paleoenvironment within the river drainage in the greater Trinil area evidently included forests of this kind during the Lower/Middle Pleistocene as revealed here.

  12. The legacy of fossil fuels. (United States)

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo


    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  13. The legacy of fossil fuels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Armaroli, N.; Balzani, V. [CNR, Bologna (Italy)


    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production.

  14. Annually resolved southern hemisphere volcanic history from two Antarctic ice cores (United States)

    Cole-Dai, Jihong; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen; Thompson, Lonnie G.


    The continuous sulfate analysis of two Antarctic ice cores, one from the Antarctic Peninsula region and one from West Antarctica, provides an annually resolved proxy history of southern semisphere volcanism since early in the 15th century. The dating is accurate within ±3 years due to the high rate of snow accumulation at both core sites and the small sample sizes used for analysis. The two sulfate records are consistent with each other. A systematic and objective method of separating outstanding sulfate events from the background sulfate flux is proposed and used to identify all volcanic signals. The resulting volcanic chronology covering 1417-1989 A.D. resolves temporal ambiguities about several recently discovered events. A number of previously unknown, moderate eruptions during late 1600s are uncovered in this chronology. The eruption of Tambora (1815) and the recently discovered eruption of Kuwae (1453) in the tropical South Pacific injected the greatest amount of sulfur dioxide into the southern hemisphere stratosphere during the last half millennium. A technique for comparing the magnitude of volcanic events preserved within different ice cores is developed using normalized sulfate flux. For the same eruptions the variability of the volcanic sulfate flux between the cores is within ±20% of the sulfate flux from the Tambora eruption.

  15. Fossils mollusc asemblage found at Zagarzazu, marine Pleistocene, Uruguay

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rojas, A. . E mail:


    There are presented the results of the paleoecological analysis of the mollusc assemblage found at Zagarzazu, Colonia department. The fossils are well preserved, arranged in thin shell-beds with some specimens in life position. The assemblage is indicative of higher temperatures than present, and a strong marine influence. It is important to stress that new thermophilic molluscs for the marine Quaternary were found and that this locality represents a new Pleistocene marine record in Uruguay [es

  16. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO 2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record


    Currano, Ellen D.; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G.; Fogt, Kari K.; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L.


    Abstract Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well?preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65?million years (Ma). We al...

  17. Metal and antibiotic-resistance in psychrotrophic bacteria from Antarctic marine waters

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    De; Nair, S.; LokaBharathi, P.A.; Chandramohan, D.

    In the wake of the findings that Antarctic krills concentrate heavy metals at ppm level, (Yamamoto et al., 1987), the Antarctic waters from the Indian side were examined for the incidence of metal and antibiotic-resistant bacteria during...

  18. Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter (United States)

    Lindstrom, Marilyn


    This newsletter contains something for everyone! It lists classifications of about 440 meteorites mostly from the 1997 and 1998 ANSMET (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) seasons. It also gives descriptions of about 45 meteorites of special petrologic type. These include 1 iron, 17 chondrites (7 CC, 1 EC, 9 OC) and 27 achondrites (25 HED, UR). Most notable are an acapoloite (GRA98028) and an olivine diogenite (GRA98108).

  19. Soft-Bodied Fossils Are Not Simply Rotten Carcasses - Toward a Holistic Understanding of Exceptional Fossil Preservation: Exceptional Fossil Preservation Is Complex and Involves the Interplay of Numerous Biological and Geological Processes. (United States)

    Parry, Luke A; Smithwick, Fiann; Nordén, Klara K; Saitta, Evan T; Lozano-Fernandez, Jesus; Tanner, Alastair R; Caron, Jean-Bernard; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Briggs, Derek E G; Vinther, Jakob


    Exceptionally preserved fossils are the product of complex interplays of biological and geological processes including burial, autolysis and microbial decay, authigenic mineralization, diagenesis, metamorphism, and finally weathering and exhumation. Determining which tissues are preserved and how biases affect their preservation pathways is important for interpreting fossils in phylogenetic, ecological, and evolutionary frameworks. Although laboratory decay experiments reveal important aspects of fossilization, applying the results directly to the interpretation of exceptionally preserved fossils may overlook the impact of other key processes that remove or preserve morphological information. Investigations of fossils preserving non-biomineralized tissues suggest that certain structures that are decay resistant (e.g., the notochord) are rarely preserved (even where carbonaceous components survive), and decay-prone structures (e.g., nervous systems) can fossilize, albeit rarely. As we review here, decay resistance is an imperfect indicator of fossilization potential, and a suite of biological and geological processes account for the features preserved in exceptional fossils. © 2017 The Authors. BioEssays Published by WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Preliminary Compositional Comparisons of H-Chondrite Falls to Antarctic H-Chondrite Populations (United States)

    Kallemeyn, G. W.; Krot, A. N.; Rubin, A. E.


    In a series of papers [e.g., 1,2], Lipschutz and co-workers compared trace- element RNAA data from Antarctic and non-Antarctic H4-6 chondrites and concluded that the two populations have significantly different concentrations of several trace elements including Co, Se, and Sb. They interpreted their data as indicating that these Antarctic H chondrites form different populations than observed H falls and may have originated in separate parent bodies. Recent work by Sears and co-workers [e.g., 3] has shown that there seem to be distinct populations of Antarctic H chondrites, distinguishable on the bases of induced thermoluminescence (TL) peak temperature, metallographic cooling rate, and cosmic ray exposure age. They showed that a group of Antarctic H chondrites having abnormally high induced TL peak temperatures (>=190 degrees C) also has cosmic ray exposure ages Ma (mostly ~8 Ma) and fast metallographic cooling rates (~100 K/Ma). Another group having induced TL peak temperatures 20 Ma and slower cooling rates (~10-20 K/Ma). We studied 24 H4-6 chondrites from Victoria Land (including 12 previously analyzed by the Lipschutz group) by optical microscopy and electron microprobe. Many of the Antarctic H chondrites studied by Lipschutz and co- workers are unsuitable for proper compositional comparisons with H chondrite falls: Four are very weathered, five are extensively shocked, and two are extensively brecciated. Furthermore, at least five of the samples contain solar-wind gas (and hence are regolith breccias) [4]. These samples were rejected because of possible compositional modification by secondary processes. For our INAA study we chose a suite of relatively unweathered and unbrecciated Antarctic H chondrites (including nine from the Lipschutz set): ALHA 77294 (H5, S3); ALHA 79026 (H5, S3); ALHA 79039 (H5, S3); ALHA 80131 (H5, S3); ALHA 80132 (H5, S4); ALHA 81037 (H6, S3); EETA 79007 (H5, S4); LEW 85320 (H6, S4); LEW 85329 (H6, S3); RKPA 78002 (H5, S2); and RKPA

  1. Uranium concentrations in fossils measured by SIMS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Uyeda, Chiaki; Okano, Jun


    Semiquantitative analyses of uranium in fossil bones and teeth were carried out by SIMS. The results show a tendency that uranium concentrations in the fossils increase with the ages of the fossils. It is noticed that fossil bones and teeth having uranium concentration of more than several hundred ppm are not rare. (author)

  2. Evaluation of the fossil fish-specific diversity in a chadian continental assemblage: Exploration of morphological continuous variation in Synodontis (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes). (United States)

    Pinton, Aurélie; Le Fur, Soizic; Otero, Olga


    In the fossil record, the quantification of continuous morphological variation has become a central issue when dealing with species identification and speciation. In this context, fossil taxa with living representatives hold great promise, because of the potential to characterise patterns of intraspecific morphological variation in extant species prior to any interpretation in the fossil record. The vast majority of catfish families fulfil this prerequisite, as most of them are represented by extant genera. However, although they constitute a major fish group in terms of distribution, and ecological and taxonomic diversity, the quantitative study of their past morphological variation has been neglected, as fossil specimens are generally identified based on the scarcest remains, that is, complete neurocrania that bear discrete characters. Consequently, a part of freshwater catfish history is unprospected and unknown. In this study, we explored the morphological continuous variation of the humeral plate shape in Synodontis catfishes using Elliptic Fourier Analysis (EFA), and compared extant members and fossil counterparts. We analysed 153 extant specimens of 11 Synodontis species present in the Chad basin, in addition to 23 fossil specimens from the Chadian fossiliferous area of Toros Menalla which is dated around 7 Ma. This highly speciose genus, which is one of the most diversified in Africa, exhibits a rich fossil record with several hundred remains mostly identified as Synodontis sp. The analysis of the outline of the humeral plate reveals that some living morphological types were already represented in the Chad Basin 7 My ago, and allows for the discovery of extinct species. Beside illuminating the complex Neogene evolutionary history of Synodontis, these results underline the interest in the ability of isolated remains to reconstruct a past dynamic history and to validate the relevance of EFA as a tool to explore specific diversity through time. J. Morphol. 277

  3. The oldest fossil record of the megamouth shark from the late Eocene of Denmark and comments on the enigmatic megachasmid origin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kenshu Shimada


    Full Text Available The megamouth shark (Lamniformes: Megachasmidae has sporadic occurrences both in the present-day oceans and in the fossil record. In this paper, we describe a new megachasmid, Megachasma alisonae sp. nov., on the basis of a morphologically distinct tooth collected from the Pyt Member of the late Eocene Søvind Marl Formation at Moesgård Strand in Denmark, that represents the geologically oldest known Megachasma. The tooth likely came from an individual that measured somewhere between 1.3 and 3.5 m long, and its morphology and chipped cusp tips suggest that it possibly fed on macro-zooplankton and small fishes that had hard skeletal components. Its occurrence in the mid-Priabonian Pyt Member at least suggests that the shark inhabited a relatively deep, open marine environment about 36 Ma ago. This Eocene specimen is significant because it illustrates the dental condition of early megachasmids, which is distinctively odontaspidid-like morphologically.

  4. Hummingbird with modern feathering: an exceptionally well-preserved Oligocene fossil from southern France (United States)

    Louchart, Antoine; Tourment, Nicolas; Carrier, Julie; Roux, Thierry; Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile


    Hummingbirds (Trochilidae) today have an exclusively New World distribution, but their pre-Pleistocene fossil record comes from Europe only. In this study, we describe an exceptionally preserved fossil hummingbird from the early Oligocene of southeastern France. The specimen is articulated, with a completely preserved beak and feathering. Osteological characters allow to identify it as Eurotrochilus sp. This genus is a stem group representative of Trochilidae and was recently described from the early Oligocene of southern Germany. The new fossil reveals that these European Trochilidae were remarkably modern in size, skeletal proportions and the shape of the wing, tail and beak and hyoid bones. These features confirm the early acquisition of the abilities of hovering and nectarivory in hummingbirds, probably before the Oligocene. In several morphological characteristics, they resemble members of the ‘true hummingbirds’ (subfamily Trochilinae) and differ from hermits (Phaethornithinae). These features, which include a short and square tail and a moderately long, almost straight beak, appear to be primitive within the family Trochilidae.

  5. Rapid stepwise onset of Antarctic glaciation and deeper calcite compensation in the Pacific Ocean. (United States)

    Coxall, Helen K; Wilson, Paul A; Pälike, Heiko; Lear, Caroline H; Backman, Jan


    The ocean depth at which the rate of calcium carbonate input from surface waters equals the rate of dissolution is termed the calcite compensation depth. At present, this depth is approximately 4,500 m, with some variation between and within ocean basins. The calcite compensation depth is linked to ocean acidity, which is in turn linked to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and hence global climate. Geological records of changes in the calcite compensation depth show a prominent deepening of more than 1 km near the Eocene/Oligocene boundary (approximately 34 million years ago) when significant permanent ice sheets first appeared on Antarctica, but the relationship between these two events is poorly understood. Here we present ocean sediment records of calcium carbonate content as well as carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions from the tropical Pacific Ocean that cover the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. We find that the deepening of the calcite compensation depth was more rapid than previously documented and occurred in two jumps of about 40,000 years each, synchronous with the stepwise onset of Antarctic ice-sheet growth. The glaciation was initiated, after climatic preconditioning, by an interval when the Earth's orbit of the Sun favoured cool summers. The changes in oxygen-isotope composition across the Eocene/Oligocene boundary are too large to be explained by Antarctic ice-sheet growth alone and must therefore also indicate contemporaneous global cooling and/or Northern Hemisphere glaciation.

  6. Spatial and temporal variability across life's hierarchies in the terrestrial Antarctic. (United States)

    Chown, Steven L; Convey, Peter


    Antarctica and its surrounding islands lie at one extreme of global variation in diversity. Typically, these regions are characterized as being species poor and having simple food webs. Here, we show that terrestrial systems in the region are nonetheless characterized by substantial spatial and temporal variations at virtually all of the levels of the genealogical and ecological hierarchies which have been thoroughly investigated. Spatial variation at the individual and population levels has been documented in a variety of genetic studies, and in mosses it appears that UV-B radiation might be responsible for within-clump mutagenesis. At the species level, modern molecular methods have revealed considerable endemism of the Antarctic biota, questioning ideas that small organisms are likely to be ubiquitous and the taxa to which they belong species poor. At the biogeographic level, much of the relatively small ice-free area of Antarctica remains unsurveyed making analyses difficult. Nonetheless, it is clear that a major biogeographic discontinuity separates the Antarctic Peninsula and continental Antarctica, here named the 'Gressitt Line'. Across the Southern Ocean islands, patterns are clearer, and energy availability is an important correlate of indigenous and exotic species richness, while human visitor numbers explain much of the variation in the latter too. Temporal variation at the individual level has much to do with phenotypic plasticity, and considerable life-history and physiological plasticity seems to be a characteristic of Antarctic terrestrial species. Environmental unpredictability is an important driver of this trait and has significantly influenced life histories across the region and probably throughout much of the temperate Southern Hemisphere. Rapid climate change-related alterations in the range and abundance of several Antarctic and sub-Antarctic populations have taken place over the past several decades. In many sub-Antarctic locations, these

  7. Food choice of Antarctic soil arthropods clarified by stable isotope signatures

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bokhorst, S.F.; Ronfort, C.; Huiskes, A.H.L.; Convey, P.; Aerts, R.A.M.


    Antarctic soil ecosystems are amongst the most simplified on Earth and include only few soil arthropod species, generally believed to be opportunistic omnivorous feeders. Using stable isotopic analyses, we investigated the food choice of two common and widely distributed Antarctic soil arthropod

  8. Unexpectedly high ultrafine aerosol concentrations above East Antarctic sea ice

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. S. Humphries


    Full Text Available Better characterisation of aerosol processes in pristine, natural environments, such as Antarctica, have recently been shown to lead to the largest reduction in uncertainties in our understanding of radiative forcing. Our understanding of aerosols in the Antarctic region is currently based on measurements that are often limited to boundary layer air masses at spatially sparse coastal and continental research stations, with only a handful of studies in the vast sea-ice region. In this paper, the first observational study of sub-micron aerosols in the East Antarctic sea ice region is presented. Measurements were conducted aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis in spring 2012 and found that boundary layer condensation nuclei (CN3 concentrations exhibited a five-fold increase moving across the polar front, with mean polar cell concentrations of 1130 cm−3 – higher than any observed elsewhere in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean region. The absence of evidence for aerosol growth suggested that nucleation was unlikely to be local. Air parcel trajectories indicated significant influence from the free troposphere above the Antarctic continent, implicating this as the likely nucleation region for surface aerosol, a similar conclusion to previous Antarctic aerosol studies. The highest aerosol concentrations were found to correlate with low-pressure systems, suggesting that the passage of cyclones provided an accelerated pathway, delivering air masses quickly from the free troposphere to the surface. After descent from the Antarctic free troposphere, trajectories suggest that sea-ice boundary layer air masses travelled equatorward into the low-albedo Southern Ocean region, transporting with them emissions and these aerosol nuclei which, after growth, may potentially impact on the region's radiative balance. The high aerosol concentrations and their transport pathways described here, could help reduce the discrepancy currently present between

  9. Unexpectedly high ultrafine aerosol concentrations above East Antarctic sea ice (United States)

    Humphries, R. S.; Klekociuk, A. R.; Schofield, R.; Keywood, M.; Ward, J.; Wilson, S. R.


    Better characterisation of aerosol processes in pristine, natural environments, such as Antarctica, have recently been shown to lead to the largest reduction in uncertainties in our understanding of radiative forcing. Our understanding of aerosols in the Antarctic region is currently based on measurements that are often limited to boundary layer air masses at spatially sparse coastal and continental research stations, with only a handful of studies in the vast sea-ice region. In this paper, the first observational study of sub-micron aerosols in the East Antarctic sea ice region is presented. Measurements were conducted aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis in spring 2012 and found that boundary layer condensation nuclei (CN3) concentrations exhibited a five-fold increase moving across the polar front, with mean polar cell concentrations of 1130 cm-3 - higher than any observed elsewhere in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean region. The absence of evidence for aerosol growth suggested that nucleation was unlikely to be local. Air parcel trajectories indicated significant influence from the free troposphere above the Antarctic continent, implicating this as the likely nucleation region for surface aerosol, a similar conclusion to previous Antarctic aerosol studies. The highest aerosol concentrations were found to correlate with low-pressure systems, suggesting that the passage of cyclones provided an accelerated pathway, delivering air masses quickly from the free troposphere to the surface. After descent from the Antarctic free troposphere, trajectories suggest that sea-ice boundary layer air masses travelled equatorward into the low-albedo Southern Ocean region, transporting with them emissions and these aerosol nuclei which, after growth, may potentially impact on the region's radiative balance. The high aerosol concentrations and their transport pathways described here, could help reduce the discrepancy currently present between simulations and observations of

  10. Increased West Antarctic and unchanged East Antarctic ice discharge over the last 7 years

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gardner, Alex S.; Moholdt, Geir; Scambos, Ted; Fahnstock, Mark; Ligtenberg, Stefan; van den Broeke, Michiel; Nilsson, Johan


    Ice discharge from large ice sheets plays a direct role in determining rates of sea-level rise. We map present-day Antarctic-wide surface velocities using Landsat 7 and 8 imagery spanning 2013–2015 and compare to earlier estimates derived from synthetic aperture radar, revealing heterogeneous

  11. Monitoring trace elements in Antarctic penguin chicks from South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. (United States)

    Jerez, Silvia; Motas, Miguel; Benzal, Jesús; Diaz, Julia; Barbosa, Andrés


    The concentration of human activities in the near-shore ecosystems from the northern Antarctic Peninsula area can cause an increasing bioavailability of pollutants for the vulnerable Antarctic biota. Penguin chicks can reflect this potential impact in the rookeries during the breeding season. They also can reflect biomagnification phenomena since they are on the top of the Antarctic food chain. The concentrations of Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb were measured by ICP-MS in samples of liver, kidney, muscle, bone, feather and stomach content of gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin chicks (n=15 individuals) collected opportunistically in the Islands of King George and Deception (South Shetland Islands, Antarctica). The detected levels of some trace elements were not as low as it could be expected in the isolated Antarctic region. Penguin chicks can be useful indicators of trace elements abundance in the study areas. Carcasses of Antarctic penguin chicks were used to evaluate the bioavailability of trace elements in the Islands of King George and Deception. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Water masses, ocean fronts, and the structure of Antarctic seabird communities: putting the eastern Bellingshausen Sea in perspective (United States)

    Ribic, Christine A.; Ainley, David G.; Ford, R. Glenn; Fraser, William R.; Tynan, Cynthia T.; Woehler, Eric J.


    Waters off the western Antarctic Peninsula (i.e., the eastern Bellingshausen Sea) are unusually complex owing to the convergence of several major fronts. Determining the relative influence of fronts on occurrence patterns of top-trophic species in that area, therefore, has been challenging. In one of the few ocean-wide seabird data syntheses, in this case for the Southern Ocean, we analyzed ample, previously collected cruise data, Antarctic-wide, to determine seabird species assemblages and quantitative relationships to fronts as a way to provide context to the long-term Palmer LTER and the winter Southern Ocean GLOBEC studies in the eastern Bellingshausen Sea. Fronts investigated during both winter (April–September) and summer (October–March) were the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which separates the High Antarctic from the Low Antarctic water mass, and within which are embedded the marginal ice zone and Antarctic Shelf Break Front; and the Antarctic Polar Front, which separates the Low Antarctic and the Subantarctic water masses. We used clustering to determine species' groupings with water masses, and generalized additive models to relate species' densities, biomass and diversity to distance to respective fronts. Antarctic-wide, in both periods, highest seabird densities and lowest species diversity were found in the High Antarctic water mass. In the eastern Bellingshausen, seabird density in the High Antarctic water mass was lower (as low as half that of winter) than found in other Antarctic regions. During winter, Antarctic-wide, two significant species groups were evident: one dominated by Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) (High Antarctic water mass) and the other by petrels and prions (no differentiation among water masses); in eastern Bellingshausen waters during winter, the one significant species group was composed of species from both Antarctic-wide groups. In summer, Antarctic-wide, a High Antarctic group

  13. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages. (United States)

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja


    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  14. Triassic leech cocoon from Antarctica contains fossil bell animal

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Kerp, Hans; Taylor, Thomas N.


    . The microfossil consists of a helically contractile stalk that attaches to a main body with a peristomial feeding apparatus and a large C-shaped macronucleus. It agrees in every aspect with the living bell animals, such as Vorticella. Vorticellids and similar peritrichs are vital constituents of aquatic...... ecosystems worldwide, but so far have lacked any fossil record. This discovery offers a glimpse of ancient soft-bodied protozoan biotas, and also highlights the potential of clitellate cocoons as microscopic "conservation traps" comparable to amber....

  15. A review and phylogeny of Scarabaeine dung beetle fossils (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae, with the description of two Canthochilum species from Dominican amber

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sergei Tarasov


    Full Text Available Despite the increasing rate of systematic research on scarabaeine dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae, their fossil record has remained largely unrevised. In this paper, we review all 33 named scarabaeine fossils and describe two new species from Dominican amber (Canthochilum alleni sp.n., Canthochilum philipsivieorum sp.n.. We provide a catalogue of all fossil Scarabaeinae and evaluate their assignment to this subfamily, based primarily on the original descriptions but also, where possible, by examining the type specimens. We suggest that only 21 fossil taxa can be reliably assigned to the Scarabaeinae, while the remaining 14 should be treated as doubtful Scarabaeinae. The doubtful scarabaeines include the two oldest dung beetle fossils known from the Cretaceous and we suggest excluding them from any assessments of the minimum age of scarabaeine dung beetles. The earliest reliably described scarabaeine fossil appears to be Lobateuchus parisii, known from Oise amber (France, which shifts the minimum age of the Scarabaeinae to the Eocene (53 Ma. We scored the best-preserved fossils, namely Lobateuchus and the two Canthochilum species described herein, into the character matrix used in a recent morphology-based study of dung beetles, and then inferred their phylogenetic relationships with Bayesian and parsimony methods. All analyses yielded consistent phylogenies where the two fossil Canthochilum are placed in a clade with the extant species of Canthochilum, and Lobateuchus is recovered in a clade with the extant genera Ateuchus and Aphengium. Additionally, we evaluated the distribution of dung beetle fossils in the light of current global dung beetle phylogenetic hypotheses, geological time and biogeography. The presence of only extant genera in the late Oligocene and all later records suggests that the main present-day dung beetle lineages had already been established by the late Oligocene–mid Miocene.

  16. The origin of snakes: revealing the ecology, behavior, and evolutionary history of early snakes using genomics, phenomics, and the fossil record. (United States)

    Hsiang, Allison Y; Field, Daniel J; Webster, Timothy H; Behlke, Adam D B; Davis, Matthew B; Racicot, Rachel A; Gauthier, Jacques A


    The highly derived morphology and astounding diversity of snakes has long inspired debate regarding the ecological and evolutionary origin of both the snake total-group (Pan-Serpentes) and crown snakes (Serpentes). Although speculation abounds on the ecology, behavior, and provenance of the earliest snakes, a rigorous, clade-wide analysis of snake origins has yet to be attempted, in part due to a dearth of adequate paleontological data on early stem snakes. Here, we present the first comprehensive analytical reconstruction of the ancestor of crown snakes and the ancestor of the snake total-group, as inferred using multiple methods of ancestral state reconstruction. We use a combined-data approach that includes new information from the fossil record on extinct crown snakes, new data on the anatomy of the stem snakes Najash rionegrina, Dinilysia patagonica, and Coniophis precedens, and a deeper understanding of the distribution of phenotypic apomorphies among the major clades of fossil and Recent snakes. Additionally, we infer time-calibrated phylogenies using both new 'tip-dating' and traditional node-based approaches, providing new insights on temporal patterns in the early evolutionary history of snakes. Comprehensive ancestral state reconstructions reveal that both the ancestor of crown snakes and the ancestor of total-group snakes were nocturnal, widely foraging, non-constricting stealth hunters. They likely consumed soft-bodied vertebrate and invertebrate prey that was subequal to head size, and occupied terrestrial settings in warm, well-watered, and well-vegetated environments. The snake total-group - approximated by the Coniophis node - is inferred to have originated on land during the middle Early Cretaceous (~128.5 Ma), with the crown-group following about 20 million years later, during the Albian stage. Our inferred divergence dates provide strong evidence for a major radiation of henophidian snake diversity in the wake of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K

  17. A 50-years record of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes and hexachlorocyclohexanes in lake sediments and penguin droppings on King George Island, Maritime Antarctic. (United States)

    Sun, Li-guang; Yin, Xue-bin; Pan, Can-ping; Wang, Yu-hong


    Since the ban on the use of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) such as dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and hexachlorocyclohexane(HCH) in agriculture, their levels have generally dropped. In a number of cases, however, the levels of these OCPs were found to be unchanging or even increasing after the ban. With the aim to unveil the possible causes of these exceptions, we collected two lake cores from King George Island, West Antarctica, and determined their accumulation flux profiles and temporal trends of these OCPs. In the lake core sediments with glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows an abnormal peak around 1980s in addition to the expected one in 1960s. In the lake core sediments without glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows a gradual decline trend after the peak in 1960s. This striking difference in the DDT flux profiles between the two lake cores is most likely caused by the regional climate warming and the resulted discharge of the DDT stored in the Antarctic ice cap into the lakes in the Antarctic glacier frontier. Furthermore, to investigate the change of OCPs loadings in the Antarctic coastal ecosystem, we reconstructed the HCH and DDT concentration profiles in penguin droppings and observed a gradual increase for the former and a continuous decrease for the latter during the past 50 years. The increase of HCH seems to be due to the regional warming from the early 1970s and the resulted HCH discharge to the coastal ecosystem by glaciers' meltwater and the illegal use of HCH in the Southern Hemisphere in the recent decade. Thedifferent temporal trends of HCH and DDT accumulation rate in the lake core with glacier meltwater input and the aged penguin droppings can be explained by their different water-soluble property.

  18. On the origin and evolution of Antarctic Peracarida (Crustacea, Malacostraca

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angelika Brandt


    Full Text Available The early separation of Gondwana and the subsequent isolation of Antarctica caused a long evolutionary history of its fauna. Both, long environmental stability over millions of years and habitat heterogeneity, due to an abundance of sessile suspension feeders on the continental shelf, favoured evolutionary processes of preadapted taxa, like for example the Peracarida. This taxon performs brood protection and this might be one of the most important reasons why it is very successful (i.e. abundant and diverse in most terrestrial and aquatic environments, with some species even occupying deserts. The extinction of many decapod crustaceans in the Cenozoic might have allowed the Peracarida to find and use free ecological niches. Therefore the palaeogeographic, palaeoclimatologic, and palaeo-hydrographic changes since the Palaeocene (at least since about 60 Ma ago and the evolutionary success of some peracarid taxa (e.g. Amphipoda, Isopoda led to the evolution of many endemic species in the Antarctic. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of the Antarctic Tanaidacea, Sieg (1988 demonstrated that the tanaid fauna of the Antarctic is mainly represented by phylogenetically younger taxa, and data from other crustacean taxa led Sieg (1988 to conclude that the recent Antarctic crustacean fauna must be comparatively young. His arguments are scrutinized on the basis of more recent data on the phylogeny and biodiversity of crustacean taxa, namely the Ostracoda, Decapoda, Mysidacea, Cumacea, Amphipoda, and Isopoda. This analysis demonstrates that the origin of the Antarctic fauna probably has different roots: an adaptive radiation of descendants from old Gondwanian ancestors was hypothesized for the isopod families Serolidae and Arcturidae, an evolution and radiation of phylogenetically old taxa in Antarctica could also be shown for the Ostracoda and the amphipod family Iphimediidae. A recolonization via the Scotia Arc appears possible for some species, though it is

  19. The Pleistocene evolution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Prydz bay region: Stable isotopic evidence from ODP Site 1167 (United States)

    Theissen, K.M.; Dunbar, R.B.; Cooper, A. K.; Mucciarone, D.A.; Hoffmann, D.


    Ocean Drilling Program Leg 188, Prydz Bay, East Antarctica is part of a larger initiative to explore the Cenozoic history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet through direct drilling and sampling of the continental margins. In this paper, we present stable isotopic results from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1167 located on the Prydz Channel Trough Mouth Fan (TMF), the first Antarctic TMF to be drilled. The foraminifer-based ??18O record is interpreted along with sedimentary and downhole logging evidence to reconstruct the Quaternary glacial history of Prydz Bay and the adjacent Lambert Glacier Amery Ice Shelf System (LGAISS). We report an electron spin resonance age date of 36. 9 ?? 3.3 ka at 0.45 m below sea floor and correlate suspected glacial-interglacial cycles with the global isotopic stratigraphy to improve the chronology for Site 1167. The ??18O record based on planktonic (Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (s.)) and limited benthic results (Globocassidulina crassa), indicates a trend of ice sheet expansion that was interrupted by a period of reduced ice volume and possibly warmer conditions during the early-mid-Pleistocene (0.9-1.38 Ma). An increase in ?? 18O values after ??? 900 ka appears to coincide with the mid-Pleistocene climate transition and the expansion of the northern hemisphere ice sheet. The ??18O record in the upper 50 m of the stratigraphic section indicates as few as three glacial-interglacial cycles, tentatively assigned as marine isotopic stages (MIS) 16-21, are preserved since the Brunhes/Matuyama paleomagnetic reversal (780 ka). This suggests that there is a large unconformity near the top of the section and/or that there may have been few extreme advances of the ice sheet since the mid-Pleistocene climate transition resulting in lowered sedimentation rates on the Prydz Channel TMF. The stable isotopic record from Site 1167 is one of the few available from the area south of the Antarctic Polar Front that has been linked with the global isotopic

  20. Mercury accumulation in sediments and seabird feathers from the Antarctic Peninsula

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Calle, Paola; Alvarado, Omar; Monserrate, Lorena; Cevallos, Juan Manuel; Calle, Nastenka; Alava, Juan José


    Highlights: • We assessed mercury bioaccumulation in seabirds in the Antarctic Peninsula. • Levels of Hg were higher in gentoo penguins & brown skuas than chinstrap penguins. • Mercury BMF in the brown skua/penguins relationship was higher than 1. • Long-range environmental transport is the likely mercury route in Antarctic. - Abstract: In an effort to assess the impact of mercury in the Antarctic Peninsula, we conducted ecotoxicological research in this region during the summer of 2012 and 2013. The objectives were to assess: (a) mercury levels in sediment samples; (b) mercury accumulation in Antarctic seabird feathers: Catharacta lonnbergi (brown skua), Pygoscelis papua (gentoo penguin) and Pygoscelis antarctica (chinstrap penguin); and (c) biomagnification (BMF predator/prey) and biota sediment accumulation (BSAF skuas/sediment) factors. Mercury concentrations in sediment were relatively low. Mercury concentrations were significantly higher in brown skuas and gentoo penguins than in chinstrap penguins (2012), and significantly higher in brown skuas than in both penguins (2013). BMF indicated 2–7.5 times greater mercury levels in brown skuas than in penguins. BSAF values suggested an apparent temporal decrease of 18.2% of this ratio from 2012 to 2013. Long-range environmental transport is the likely route of entry of mercury into the Antarctic Peninsula

  1. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels (United States)

    Lackner, K. S.


    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  2. [History of Polish botanical and mycological researches on sheets of land of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic in the years 1977-2009]. (United States)

    Köhler, Piotr; Olech, Maria


    The work includes a description of the period from the moment of setting up Polish Polar Station on King George Island (1977) to the end of International Polar Year IV in 2009. Researches on flower plants focused, among others, on plants' morphology, morphological composition of the pollen and anatomical ultra-structure of the leaves. There were also carried out biochemical and other searches for the internal mutability. Within physiological studies one concentrated on the problem of reaction to temperature stress. Biological researches focused mainly on solving taxonomic and bio-geographic problems. Finally, were published several monographs and, among others, the first in history complete description of moss' flora of the whole of Antarctic (2008). Research works over algae included also such issues as floristics, bio-geography, taxonomy and ecology (for instance, the rookery's impact on distribution of algae, or the influence of inanimate factors on dynamics of condensing the Diatoma in different water and soil-bound tanks). Up till now, within mycological investigations has been identified a variety of lichen fungi that for the most part of Antarctic are a novelty. There were scientifically described new for science genera and species of Western Antarctic. Lichenological studies were made in the field of taxonomy, geography, lichenometry, biochemistry of lichens, lichenoindication, ecophysiology and from the point of analysis of base metals' content. There were also described new for science species. Since 1991, were published the results of searches for the base metals' content and vestigial chemical elements in lichens' thallus. Ecophysiological researches concerned both micro-climatic conditions' impact on primary production and lichens' adaptation to a very cold climate. One discovered a mechanism of two-phase hydratization/dehydratization of lichens' thallus. On the ground of palaeobotanical analyzes was reconstructed a development of flora in Western

  3. First record of lobed trace fossils in Brazil's Upper Cretaceous paleosols: Rhizoliths or evidence of insects and their social behavior? (United States)

    Luciano do Nascimento, Diego; Batezelli, Alessandro; Bernardes Ladeira, Francisco Sérgio


    This is the first report of trace fossils potentially associated with insect social behavior in sandy and well-drained paleosols of the Upper Cretaceous continental sequence of Brazil. The trace fossils consist of dozens of lobed and vertical structures cemented by CaCO3 and preserved mainly in full relief in paleosols of the Marilia Formation (Bauru Basin) in the state of Minas Gerais. The described ichnofossils are predominantly vertical, up to 2 m long, and are composed of horizontal lobed structures connected by vertical tunnel-like structures that intersect in the center and at the edges. The lobed structures range from 3 to 15 cm long and 2-6 cm thick. Two different hypotheses are analyzed to explain the origin of the trace fossils; the less probable one is that the structures are laminar calcretes associated with rhizoliths and rhizoconcretions. The hypothesis involving social insects was considered because the trace fossils described herein partially resemble a modern ant nest and the ichnofossil Daimoniobarax. The micromorphological analysis of the lobed and tunnel-like structures indicates modifications of the walls, such as the presence of inorganic fluidized linings, dark linings and oriented grains, supporting the hypothesis that they are chambers and shafts. The architecture and size of the reported nests suggest the possibility that social insect colonies existed during the Maastrichtian and are direct evidence of the social behavior and reproductive strategies of the Cretaceous pedofauna.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available Both the preservation of the poorly mineralized skeleton of sharks and the preservation of stomach contents are rarely observed in the fossil record. Here we report on a partial skeleton of a lamniform shark, including portions of the visceral arches and the anterior segment of the vertebral column, collected from the late Miocene beds of the Pisco Formation exposed at Cerro Yesera (Ica Desert, South Peru. Based on the morphology of the preserved teeth, this specimen was determined as a juvenile of the extinct lamnid species Cosmopolitodus hastalis. The shark skeleton includes remains of fish (featuring a pilchard determined as Sardinops sp. cf. S. sagax in the abdominal region. These fish remains are interpreted herein as the fossilized stomach contents of the shark. For the first time, piscivory is demonstrated in a juvenile individual of Cosmopolitodus hastalis. This result is consistent with the current knowledge about the feeding habits of immature individuals of extant lamniform shark species (including Carcharodon carcharias and Isurus oxyrinchus. Our report further outlines the fundamental role of schooling pilchards in the late Miocene trophic chains of the highly productive coastal waters off present South Peru. Moreover, the find of this well preserved shark skeleton strengthens the qualification of the Pisco Formation as a Fossil-Lagerstätte, and emphasizes the role of early mineralization processes in cases of exceptional preservation.

  5. Deconvolution of the tree ring based delta13C record

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peng, T.; Broecker, W.S.; Freyer, H.D.; Trumbore, S.


    We assumed that the tree-ring based 13 C/ 12 C record constructed by Freyer and Belacy (1983) to be representative of the fossil fuel and forest-soil induced 13 C/ 12 C change for atmospheric CO 2 . Through the use of a modification of the Oeschger et al. ocean model, we have computed the contribution of the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas to this observed 13 C/ 12 C change. A large residual remains when the tree-ring-based record is corrected for the contribution of fossil fuel CO 2 . A deconvolution was performed on this residual to determine the time history and magnitude of the forest-soil reservoir changes over the past 150 years. Several important conclusions were reached. (1) The magnitude of the integrated CO 2 input from these sources was about 1.6 times that from fossil fuels. (2) The forest-soil contribution reached a broad maximum centered at about 1900. (3) Over the 2 decade period covered by the Mauna Loa atmospheric CO 2 content record, the input from forests and soils was about 30% that from fossil fuels. (4) The 13 C/ 12 C trend over the last 20 years was dominated by the input of fossil fuel CO 2 . (5) The forest-soil release did not contribute significantly to the secular increase in atmospheric CO 2 observed over the last 20 years. (6) The pre-1850 atmospheric p2 values must have been in the range 245 to 270 x 10 -6 atmospheres

  6. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Lemurs Inferred with Recent and Ancient Fossils in the Tree. (United States)

    Herrera, James P; Dávalos, Liliana M


    Paleontological and neontological systematics seek to answer evolutionary questions with different data sets. Phylogenies inferred for combined extant and extinct taxa provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of life. Primates have an extensive, diverse fossil record and molecular data for living and extinct taxa are rapidly becoming available. We used two models to infer the phylogeny and divergence times for living and fossil primates, the tip-dating (TD) and fossilized birth-death process (FBD). We collected new morphological data, especially on the living and extinct endemic lemurs of Madagascar. We combined the morphological data with published DNA sequences to infer near-complete (88% of lemurs) time-calibrated phylogenies. The results suggest that primates originated around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, slightly earlier than indicated by the fossil record and later than previously inferred from molecular data alone. We infer novel relationships among extinct lemurs, and strong support for relationships that were previously unresolved. Dates inferred with TD were significantly older than those inferred with FBD, most likely related to an assumption of a uniform branching process in the TD compared with a birth-death process assumed in the FBD. This is the first study to combine morphological and DNA sequence data from extinct and extant primates to infer evolutionary relationships and divergence times, and our results shed new light on the tempo of lemur evolution and the efficacy of combined phylogenetic analyses. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

  7. High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000-800,000 years before present

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lüthi, Dieter; Le Floch, Martine; Bereiter, Bernhard


    Changes in past atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations can be determined by measuring the composition of air trapped in ice cores from Antarctica. So far, the Antarctic Vostok and EPICA Dome C ice cores have provided a composite record of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past 650......,000 years. Here we present results of the lowest 200 m of the Dome C ice core, extending the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by two complete glacial cycles to 800,000 yr before present. From previously published data and the present work, we find that atmospheric carbon dioxide...... is strongly correlated with Antarctic temperature throughout eight glacial cycles but with significantly lower concentrations between 650,000 and 750,000 yr before present. Carbon dioxide levels are below 180 parts per million by volume (p.p.m.v.) for a period of 3,000 yr during Marine Isotope Stage 16...

  8. Rare earth element composition of Paleogene vertebrate fossils from Toadstool Geologic Park, Nebraska, USA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Grandstaff, D.E., E-mail: [Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122 (United States); Terry, D.O. [Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122 (United States)


    Fossil bones and teeth from terrestrial environments encode unique rare earth and trace element (REE and TE) signatures as a function of redox conditions, pH, concentrations of complexing ligands, and water-colloid interactions. This signature is set early in the fossilization process and serves as a paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic proxy. These signatures can also be used to interpret temporal and spatial averaging within vertebrate accumulations, and can help relocate displaced fossil bones back into stratigraphic context. Rare earth elements in vertebrate fossils from upper Eocene and Oligocene strata of Toadstool Geologic Park, northwestern Nebraska, record mixing and evolution of Paleogene vadose or groundwaters and variations in paleoenvironments. REE signatures indicate that HREE-enriched alkaline groundwater reacted with LREE- and MREE-enriched sediments to produce 3-component mixtures. REE signatures become increasingly LREE- and MREE-enriched toward the top of the studied section as the paleoenvironment became cooler and drier, suggesting that REE signatures may be climate proxies. Time series analysis suggests that REE ratios are influenced by cycles of ca. 1050, 800, 570, 440, and 225 ka, similar to some previously determined Milankovitch astronomical and climate periodicities.

  9. Studies of evolutionary temperature adaptation: muscle function and locomotor performance in Antarctic fish. (United States)

    Franklin, C E


    1. Studies of evolutionary temperature adaptation of muscle and locomotor performance in fish are reviewed with a focus on the Antarctic fauna living at subzero temperatures. 2. Only limited data are available to compare the sustained and burst swimming kinematics and performance of Antarctic, temperate and tropical species. Available data indicate that low temperatures limit maximum swimming performance and this is especially evident in fish larvae. 3. In a recent study, muscle performance in the Antarctic rock cod Notothenia coriiceps at 0 degree C was found to be sufficient to produce maximum velocities during burst swimming that were similar to those seen in the sculpin Myoxocephalus scorpius at 10 degrees C, indicating temperature compensation of muscle and locomotor performance in the Antarctic fish. However, at 15 degrees C, sculpin produce maximum swimming velocities greater than N. coriiceps at 0 degree C. 4. It is recommended that strict hypothesis-driven investigations using ecologically relevant measures of performance are undertaken to study temperature adaptation in Antarctic fish. Recent detailed phylogenetic analyses of the Antarctic fish fauna and their temperate relatives will allow a stronger experimental approach by helping to separate what is due to adaptation to the cold and what is due to phylogeny alone.

  10. Progress in ESR dating of fossils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ikeya, M.


    In this review the progress of ESR dating is briefly described together with its historical development. Examples of fossil dating include shells and corals in geological sediments, fossil bones and teeth in anthropology and fossil woods in geology. The total dose of natural radiation (TD) equivalent to the archaeological dose in TL dating was obtained by the additive dose method. Initially, the TDs were plotted against the known ages; using the apparent annual dose-rate thus obtained gives the ESR age within a factor of 2 or 3 for a fossil. Precise assessment of the radiation environment was made later taking the disequilibrium of uranium series disintegration into account. ESR ages of corals agreed well with those obtained by radiocarbon and uranium-thorium methods. The time-independent accumulation rate or a linear accumulation or uranium was adopted as a first sensible model for the opensystem fossil bones: the relation between the TD and the age explains the ages of anthropologically important bones. Lastly, geological assessment of fossil woods was made by ESR based on the organic radicals and electron traps in the silicified part. (author)

  11. Climate Change Impacts in the sub-Antarctic Islands Technical Report N.2 of ONERC

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)


    Difficult to apprehend as a whole, the polar regions constitute the Arctic to the North, an ocean surrounded by emerged lands, and the Antarctic to the South, a continent bordered by the Austral Ocean where a belt of sub Antarctic islands lies. Climate change impacts on sub Antarctic islands are varied, direct and indirect: glacier retreat, more favourable conditions for introduced species, marine biodiversity modification, etc. This report discusses the French, British, Australian, South African and New Zealand sub Antarctic islands, the climatic evolutions and the resulting impacts, focused especially on biodiversity. The Observatoire National sur les Effets du Rechauffement Climatique and the International Polar Foundation have been joined in this endeavour by the French polar institute Paul-Emile Victor, the administration of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF in French) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (authors)

  12. A new commelinid monocot seed fossil from the early Eocene previously identified as Solanaceae. (United States)

    Särkinen, Tiina; Kottner, Sören; Stuppy, Wolfgang; Ahmed, Farah; Knapp, Sandra


    Fossils provide minimum age estimates for extant lineages. Here we critically evaluate Cantisolanum daturoides Reid & Chandler and two other early putative seed fossils of Solanaceae, an economically important plant family in the Asteridae. Three earliest seed fossil taxa of Solanaceae from the London Clay Formation (Cantisolanum daturoides) and the Poole and Branksome Sand Formations (Solanum arnense Chandler and Solanispermum reniforme Chandler) were studied using x-ray microcomputed tomography (MCT) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The MCT scans of Cantisolanum daturoides revealed a high level of pyrite preservation at the cellular level. Cantisolanum daturoides can be clearly excluded from Solanaceae and has more affinities to the commelinid monocots based on a straight longitudinal axis, a prominent single layer of relatively thin-walled cells in the testa, and a clearly differentiated micropyle surrounded by radially elongated and inwardly curved testal cells. While the MCT scans show no internal preservation in Solanum arnense and Solanispermum reniforme, SEM images show the presence of several characteristics that allow the placement of these taxa at the stem node of Solanaceae. Cantisolanum daturoides is likely a member of commelinid monocots and not Solanaceae as previously suggested. The earliest fossil record of Solanaceae is revised to consist of fruit fossil with inflated calyces from the early Eocene of Patagonia (52 Ma) and fossilized seeds from the early to mid-Eocene of Europe (48-46 Ma). The new identity for Cantisolanum daturoides does not alter a late Cretaceous minimum age for commelinids. © 2018 Botanical Society of America.

  13. Persistent Organic Pollutants in Biotic and Abiotic Components of Antarctic Pristine Environment (United States)

    Bhardwaj, Laxmikant; Chauhan, Abhishek; Ranjan, Anuj; Jindal, Tanu


    Over the past decades, research in Antarctica has built a new understanding of Antarctica, its past, present and future. Human activities and long-range pollutants are increasing on the Antarctic continent. Research on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been carried out internationally by several countries having their permanent research stations to explain the impact of an ever increasing range of POPs in Antarctic ecosystem. POPs have been detected in Antarctica despite its geographical isolation and almost complete absence of human settlements. The presence of POPs in different abiotic (atmosphere, water bodies, sediments, soil, sea ice) and biotic components (mosses, lichens, krill, penguins, skua, etc.) in Antarctica has been studied and documented around for decades and has either been banned or strictly regulated but is still found in the environment. This review focuses on recent research pertaining to sources and occurrence of POPs in Antarctic lake water, soil, sediment, lichen, mosses and other Antarctic marine community. This review also proposes to summarize the current state of research on POPs in Antarctica environment and draw the earliest conclusions on possible significance of POPs in Antarctica based on presently available information from related Antarctic environment.

  14. Genetic signature of Last Glacial Maximum regional refugia in a circum-Antarctic sea spider (United States)

    Soler-Membrives, Anna; Linse, Katrin; Miller, Karen J.; Arango, Claudia P.


    The evolutionary history of Antarctic organisms is becoming increasingly important to understand and manage population trajectories under rapid environmental change. The Antarctic sea spider Nymphon australe, with an apparently large population size compared with other sea spider species, is an ideal target to look for molecular signatures of past climatic events. We analysed mitochondrial DNA of specimens collected from the Antarctic continent and two Antarctic islands (AI) to infer past population processes and understand current genetic structure. Demographic history analyses suggest populations survived in refugia during the Last Glacial Maximum. The high genetic diversity found in the Antarctic Peninsula and East Antarctic (EA) seems related to multiple demographic contraction-expansion events associated with deep-sea refugia, while the low genetic diversity in the Weddell Sea points to a more recent expansion from a shelf refugium. We suggest the genetic structure of N. australe from AI reflects recent colonization from the continent. At a local level, EA populations reveal generally low genetic differentiation, geographically and bathymetrically, suggesting limited restrictions to dispersal. Results highlight regional differences in demographic histories and how these relate to the variation in intensity of glaciation-deglaciation events around Antarctica, critical for the study of local evolutionary processes. These are valuable data for understanding the remarkable success of Antarctic pycnogonids, and how environmental changes have shaped the evolution and diversification of Southern Ocean benthic biodiversity.

  15. Microbial populations in Antarctic permafrost: biodiversity, state, age, and implication for astrobiology. (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D A; Wilson, G S; Friedmann, E I; McKay, C P; Sletten, R S; Rivkina, E M; Vishnivetskaya, T A; Erokhina, L G; Ivanushkina, N E; Kochkina, G A; Shcherbakova, V A; Soina, V S; Spirina, E V; Vorobyova, E A; Fyodorov-Davydov, D G; Hallet, B; Ozerskaya, S M; Sorokovikov, V A; Laurinavichyus, K S; Shatilovich, A V; Chanton, J P; Ostroumov, V E; Tiedje, J M


    Antarctic permafrost soils have not received as much geocryological and biological study as has been devoted to the ice sheet, though the permafrost is more stable and older and inhabited by more microbes. This makes these soils potentially more informative and a more significant microbial repository than ice sheets. Due to the stability of the subsurface physicochemical regime, Antarctic permafrost is not an extreme environment but a balanced natural one. Up to 10(4) viable cells/g, whose age presumably corresponds to the longevity of the permanently frozen state of the sediments, have been isolated from Antarctic permafrost. Along with the microbes, metabolic by-products are preserved. This presumed natural cryopreservation makes it possible to observe what may be the oldest microbial communities on Earth. Here, we describe the Antarctic permafrost habitat and biodiversity and provide a model for martian ecosystems.

  16. Porifera collection of the Italian National Antarctic Museum (MNA, with an updated checklist from Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudio Ghiglione


    Full Text Available This new dataset presents occurrence data for Porifera collected in the Ross Sea, mainly in the Terra Nova Bay area, and curated at the Italian National Antarctic Museum (MNA, section of Genoa. Specimens were collected in 331 different sampling stations at depths ranging from 17 to 1,100 meters in the framework of 17 different Italian Antarctic expeditions funded by the Italian National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA. A total of 807 specimens, belonging to 144 morphospecies (i.e., 95 taxa identified at species level and 49 classified at least at the genus level is included in the dataset. Nearly half (45% of the species reported here correspond to species already known for Terra Nova Bay. Out of the remaining 55% previously unknown records, under a third (~29% were classified at the species level, while over a quarter (~26% were ascribed to the genus level only and these would require further study. All vouchers are permanently curated at the MNA and are available for study to the scientific community. A 3D model of an uncommon species from the Ross Sea, i.e. Tethyopsis brondstedi (Burton, 1929, is also presented and will be made available for outreach purposes.

  17. Laboratory study of nitrate photolysis in Antarctic snow

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Berhanu, Tesfaye A.; Meusinger, Carl; Erbland, Joseph


    in Antarctic snow. I. Observed quantum yield, domain of photolysis, and secondary chemistry," J. Chem. Phys. 140, 244305 (2014)]) is to characterize nitrate photochemistry and improve the interpretation of the nitrate ice core record. Naturally occurring stable isotopes in nitrate (15N, 17O, and 18O) provide...... additional information concerning post-depositional processes. Here, we present results from studies of the wavelength-dependent isotope effects from photolysis of nitrate in a matrix of natural snow. Snow from Dome C, Antarctica was irradiated in selected wavelength regions using a Xe UV lamp and filters....... The irradiated snow was sampled and analyzed for nitrate concentration and isotopic composition (δ 15N, δ 18O, and Δ 17O). From these measurements an average photolytic isotopic fractionation of 15ε = (- 15 ± 1.2)‰ was found for broadband Xe lamp photolysis. These results are due in part to excitation...

  18. IPAB Antarctic Drifting Buoy Data, Version 1 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB), through participating research organizations in various countries,...

  19. Wind profile radar for study of Antarctic air circulation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ragaini, E.; Sarango, M.F.; Vasquez, E.H.


    After a brief discussion of meteorological methods used in the Antarctic, the paper gives an outline of a coordinated international research project whose objective is to set up a wind profiler radar station that would give meteorologists information regarding Antarctic atmospheric dynamics useful in their investigation of the causes and effects of the hole in the ozone layer. The radar instrumentation is to provide continuous readings of wind velocity at varying altitudes above the polar continent

  20. Evaluating Wind Power Potential in the Spanish Antarctic Base (BAE)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arribas, L.M.; Garcia Barquero, C; Navarro, J.; Cuerva, A.; Cruz, I.; Roque, V.; Marti, I.


    The objective of the work is to model wind field in the surroundings of the Spanish Antarctic Base (BAE in the following). The need of such a work comes from the necessity of an energy source able to supply the energy demand in the BAE during the Antarctic winter. When the BAE is in operation (in the Antarctic summer) the energy supply comes from a diesel engine. In the Antarctic winter the base is closed, but the demand of energy supply is growing up every year because of the increase in the number of technical and scientific machines that remain in the BAE taking different measurements. For this purpose the top of a closed hill called Pico Radio, not perturbed by close obstacles, has been chosen as the better site for the measurements. The measurement station is made up with a sonic anemometer and a small wind generator to supply the energy needed by the sensors head heating of the anemometer. This way, it will be also used as a proof for the suitability of a wind generator in the new chosen site, under those special climatic conditions.(Author) 3 refs

  1. 77 FR 41809 - Notice of Permit Applications Received Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 (United States)


    ..., Lockheed Martin IS&GS, Antarctic Support Contract, 7400 S. Tucson Way, Centennial, CO 80112-3938. Activity..., Antarctic Support Contract, 7400 S. Tucson Way, Centennial, CO 80112-3938. Activity for Which Permit Is.... Applicant: Celia Lang, Lockheed Martin IS&GS, Antarctic Support Contract, 7400 S. Tucson Way, Centennial, CO...

  2. Biodiversity of Antarctic echinoids: a comprehensive and interactive database

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno David


    Full Text Available Eighty-one echinoid species are present south of the Antarctic Convergence, and they represent an important component of the benthic fauna. “Antarctic echinoids” is an interactive database synthesising the results of more than 100 years of Antarctic expeditions, and comprising information about all echinoid species. It includes illustrated keys for determination of the species, and information about their morphology and ecology (text, illustrations and glossary and their distribution (maps and histograms of bathymetrical distribution; the sources of the information (bibliography, collections and expeditions are also provided. All these data (taxonomic, morphologic, geographic, bathymetric… can be interactively queried in two main ways: (1 display of listings that can be browsed, sorted according to various criteria, or printed; and (2 interactive requests crossing the different kinds of data. Many other possibilities are offered, and an on-line help file is also available.

  3. Taphonomy of the fossil insects of the middle Eocene Kishenehn Formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dale E. Greenwalt


    Full Text Available The lacustrine oil shales of the Coal Creek Member of the Kishenehn Formation in northwestern Montana comprise a relatively unstudied middle Eocene fossil insect locality. Herein, we detail the stratigraphic position of the fossiliferous unit, describe the insect fauna of the Coal Creek locality and document its bias towards very small but remarkably pre-served insects. In addition, the depositional environment is examined and the mineral constituents of the laminations that comprise the varves of the Kishenehn oil shale are defined. Fifteen orders of insects have been recorded with the majority of all insects identified as aquatic with the families Chironomidae (Diptera and Corixidae (Hemiptera dominant. The presence of small aquatic insects, many of which are immature, the intact nature of >90% of the fossil insects and the presence of Daphnia ephippia, all indicate that the depositional environment was the shallow margin of a large freshwater lake. The fossil insects occur within fossilized microbial mat layers that comprise the bedding planes of the oil shale. Unlike the fossiliferous shales of the Florissant and Okanagan Highlands, the mats are not a product of diatomaceous algae nor are diatom frustules a component of the sediments or the varve structure. Instead, the varves are composed of very fine eolian siliciclastic silt grains overlaid with non-diatomaceous, possibly cyanobacteria-derived microbial mats which contain distinct traces of polyaromatic hydrocarbons. A distinct third layer composed of essentially pure calcite is present in the shale of some exposures and is presumably derived from the seasonal warming-induced precipitation of carbonate from the lake’s waters. The Coal Creek locality presents a unique opportunity to study both very small middle Eocene insects not often preserved as compression fossils in most Konservat-Lagerstätte and the processes that led to their preservation.

  4. Evaluation of hard fossil fuel

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zivkovic, S.; Nuic, J.


    Because of its inexhaustible supplies hard fossil fuel will represent the pillar of the power systems of the 21st century. Only high-calorie fossil fuels have the market value and participate in the world trade. Low-calorie fossil fuels ((brown coal and lignite) are fuels spent on the spot and their value is indirectly expressed through manufactured kWh. For the purpose of determining the real value of a tonne of low-calorie coal, the criteria that help in establishing the value of a tonne of hard coal have to be corrected and thus evaluated and assessed at the market. (author)

  5. Personality Testing in Antarctic Expeditioners: Cross Cultural Comparisons and Evidence for Generalizability (United States)

    Musson, D. M.; Sandal, G. M.; Harper, M. L.; Helmreich, R. L.

    Antarctica provides an ideal environment in which to study human behaviour under conditions of isolation and confinement. Such research is currently being conducted through several national Antarctic research programs, with the subject pool for these investigations necessarily consisting of individuals from multiple nationalities. Cross-cultural research has shown, however, that psychological traits and individual values may vary significantly between national and ethnic groups. Until now, there has been an implicit assumption that Antarctic personnel are essentially similar from one national program to another and that therefore findings from any one nation's Antarctic program should generalize to another, as well as to other domains such as spaceflight. We believe that it is necessary to validate this assumption through empirical research. This objective of this analysis was to determine the degree of similarity between the psychological testing profiles of Antarctic research personnel from different national Antarctic programs, and to determine the degrees of similarity or difference of these personnel to a normative population. METHODS In separate studies, Antarctic personnel from Australia (n=57), Norway (=37), and Great Britain (n=145) were administered the Personal Characteristics Inventory (PCI) before departing to Antarctica. The PCI is a battery consisting of 11 psychological scales designed to assess specific traits related to achievement and interpersonal competence that have been shown to be particularly salient to human performance under stressful and complex conditions. For comparative normative data, a group of 441 U.S. undergraduate students were also administered the PCI. Due to historical reasons, researchers in this study used 2 versions of the PCI, and only 9 of the 11 scales were directly equivalent. RESULTS For the three national Antarctic groups (Australia, Norway, and Great Britain), no significant variation was found between group mean

  6. Isotopic composition of ice core air reveals abrupt Antarctic warming during and after Heinrich Event 1a (United States)

    Morgan, J. D.; Bereiter, B.; Baggenstos, D.; Kawamura, K.; Shackleton, S. A.; Severinghaus, J. P.


    Antarctic temperature variations during Heinrich events, as recorded by δ18O­ice­, generally show more gradual changes than the abrupt warmings seen in Greenland ice. However, quantitative temperature interpretation of the water isotope temperature proxy is difficult as the relationship between δ18Oice and temperature is not constant through time. Fortunately, ice cores offer a second temperature proxy based on trapped gases. During times of surface warming, thermal fractionation of gases in the column of unconsolidated snow (firn) on top of the ice sheet results in isotopically heavier nitrogen (N2) and argon (Ar) being trapped in the ice core bubbles. During times of surface cooling, isotopically lighter gases are trapped. Measurements of δ15N and δ40Ar can therefore be used, in combination with a model for the height of the column of firn, to quantitatively reconstruct surface temperatures. In the WAIS Divide Ice Core, the two temperature proxies show a brief disagreement during Heinrich Stadial 1. Despite δ18Oice recording relatively constant temperature, the nitrogen and argon isotopes imply an abrupt warming between 16 and 15.8 kyr BP, manifest as an abrupt 1.25oC increase in the firn temperature gradient. To our knowledge, this would be the first evidence that such abrupt climate change has been recorded in an Antarctic climate proxy. If confirmed by more detailed studies, this event may represent warming due to an extreme southward shift of the Earth's thermal equator (and the southern hemisphere westerly wind belt), caused by the 16.1 ka Heinrich Event.

  7. 78 FR 41959 - Notice of Permit Modification Received Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 (United States)


    ... Areas (ASPA) or involving Antarctic Flora and Fauna. Starting in 2013, all new permits issued for ASPA entry or involving Antarctic Flora and Flora require the permittee to submit an annual report to the... Specially Protected Areas (ASPA) or involving Antarctic Flora and Fauna issued prior to 2013 that require...

  8. Treatment and prevention of infection following bites of the Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kouliev T


    Full Text Available Timur Kouliev,1 Victoria Cui2 1Beijing United Family Hospital, Beijing, People's Republic of China; 2Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA Abstract: In recent decades, an increasing number of people have traveled to sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions each year for research, tourism, and resource exploitation. Hunting of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella almost pushed the species to extinction in the early 1900s, but populations have since shown rapid and substantial recovery. The species' range has re-expanded to include several islands south of the Antarctic Convergence, most notably South Georgia, and now overlaps with many popular Antarctic travel destinations. Both male and female fur seals can become extremely aggressive when provoked, and their bites, if not properly treated, pose a significant risk of infection by microorganisms not usually encountered in cases of animal bites. In this report, we present the case of a patient treated for a fur seal bite during an Antarctic expedition cruise, review the literature concerning seal bites, and suggest the use of antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent complications. Keywords: zoonotic, polar tourism, prophylaxis, seal finger, expedition medicine

  9. A multivariate analysis of Antarctic sea ice since 1979

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Magalhaes Neto, Newton de; Evangelista, Heitor [Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), LARAMG - Laboratorio de Radioecologia e Mudancas Globais, Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Tanizaki-Fonseca, Kenny [Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), LARAMG - Laboratorio de Radioecologia e Mudancas Globais, Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Dept. Analise Geoambiental, Inst. de Geociencias, Niteroi, RJ (Brazil); Penello Meirelles, Margareth Simoes [Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)/Geomatica, Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Garcia, Carlos Eiras [Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Laboratorio de Oceanografia Fisica, Rio Grande, RS (Brazil)


    Recent satellite observations have shown an increase in the total extent of Antarctic sea ice, during periods when the atmosphere and oceans tend to be warmer surrounding a significant part of the continent. Despite an increase in total sea ice, regional analyses depict negative trends in the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea and positive trends in the Ross Sea. Although several climate parameters are believed to drive the formation of Antarctic sea ice and the local atmosphere, a descriptive mechanism that could trigger such differences in trends are still unknown. In this study we employed a multivariate analysis in order to identify the response of the Antarctic sea ice with respect to commonly utilized climate forcings/parameters, as follows: (1) The global air surface temperature, (2) The global sea surface temperature, (3) The atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentration, (4) The South Annular Mode, (5) The Nino 3, (6) The Nino (3 + 4, 7) The Nino 4, (8) The Southern Oscillation Index, (9) The Multivariate ENSO Index, (10) the Total Solar Irradiance, (11) The maximum O{sub 3} depletion area, and (12) The minimum O{sub 3} concentration over Antarctica. Our results indicate that western Antarctic sea ice is simultaneously impacted by several parameters; and that the minimum, mean, and maximum sea ice extent may respond to a separate set of climatic/geochemical parameters. (orig.)

  10. Fossil energy use and the environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sage, P.W.


    Energy demand projections indicate that fossil energy will provide some ninety per cent of global primary energy demand for the foreseeable future. This paper considers the principal environmental impacts associated with fossil energy use and describes approaches to minimise them. Technologies are now available to reduce significantly pollutant emissions from fossil fuel use. Emerging technologies offer higher conversion efficiencies to reduce still further specific emissions per unit of energy output. It is essential, particularly in those areas of rapid growth in energy use, that best practice and technology are deployed. Technology transfer and training will help to achieve this and enable fossil energy use to be fully compatible with increasingly stringent environmental requirements. (author) 4 figs., 12 refs

  11. Status of fossil fuel reserves

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Laherrere, J.


    Reserves represent the sum of past and future productions up to the end of production. In most countries the reserve data of fields are confidential. Therefore, fossil fuel reserves are badly known because the published data are more political than technical and many countries make a confusion between resources and reserves. The cumulated production of fossil fuels represents only between a third and a fifth of the ultimate reserves. The production peak will take place between 2020 and 2050. In the ultimate reserves, which extrapolate the past, the fossil fuels represent three thirds of the overall energy. This document analyses the uncertainties linked with fossil fuel reserves: reliability of published data, modeling of future production, comparison with other energy sources, energy consumption forecasts, reserves/production ratio, exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons (tar sands, extra-heavy oils, bituminous shales, coal gas, gas shales, methane in overpressure aquifers, methane hydrates), technology impacts, prices impact, and reserves growth. (J.S.)

  12. New fossil fuel combustion technologies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Minghetti, E.; Palazzi, G.


    The aim of the present article is to supply general information concerning fossil fuels that represent, today and for the near future, the main energy source of our Planet. New fossil fuel technologies are in continual development with two principal goals: to decrease environmental impact and increase transformation process efficiency. Examples of this efforts are: 1) gas-steam combined cycles integrated with coal gasification plants, or with pressurized-fluidized-bed combustors; 2) new cycles with humid air or coal direct fired turbine, now under development. In the first part of this article the international and national energy situations and trends are shown. After some brief notes on environmental problems and alternative fuels, such as bio masses and municipal wastes, technological aspects, mainly relevant to increase fossil-fueled power plant performances, are examined in greater depth. Finally the research and technological development activities of ENEA (Italian Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Environment) Engineering Branch, in order to improve fossil fuels energy and environmental use are presented

  13. Paleo-Antarctic rainforest into the modern Old World tropics: the rich past and threatened future of the "southern wet forest survivors". (United States)

    Kooyman, Robert M; Wilf, Peter; Barreda, Viviana D; Carpenter, Raymond J; Jordan, Gregory J; Sniderman, J M Kale; Allen, Andrew; Brodribb, Timothy J; Crayn, Darren; Feild, Taylor S; Laffan, Shawn W; Lusk, Christopher H; Rossetto, Maurizio; Weston, Peter H


    • Have Gondwanan rainforest floral associations survived? Where do they occur today? Have they survived continuously in particular locations? How significant is their living floristic signal? We revisit these classic questions in light of significant recent increases in relevant paleobotanical data.• We traced the extinction and persistence of lineages and associations through the past across four now separated regions-Australia, New Zealand, Patagonia, and Antarctica-using fossil occurrence data from 63 well-dated Gondwanan rainforest sites and 396 constituent taxa. Fossil sites were allocated to four age groups: Cretaceous, Paleocene-Eocene, Neogene plus Oligocene, and Pleistocene. We compared the modern and ancient distributions of lineages represented in the fossil record to see if dissimilarity increased with time. We quantified similarity-dissimilarity of composition and taxonomic structure among fossil assemblages, and between fossil and modern assemblages.• Strong similarities between ancient Patagonia and Australia confirmed shared Gondwanan rainforest history, but more of the lineages persisted in Australia. Samples of ancient Australia grouped with the extant floras of Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Mt. Kinabalu. Decreasing similarity through time among the regional floras of Antarctica, Patagonia, New Zealand, and southern Australia reflects multiple extinction events.• Gondwanan rainforest lineages contribute significantly to modern rainforest community assembly and often co-occur in widely separated assemblages far from their early fossil records. Understanding how and where lineages from ancient Gondwanan assemblages co-occur today has implications for the conservation of global rainforest vegetation, including in the Old World tropics. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  14. Leadership in politics and science within the Antarctic Treaty


    John R. Dudeney; David W.H. Walton


    For over 50 years the Antarctic has been governed through the Antarctic Treaty, an international agreement now between 49 nations of whom 28 Consultative Parties (CPs) undertake the management role. Ostensibly, these Parties have qualified for their position on scientific grounds, though diplomacy also plays a major role. This paper uses counts of policy papers and science publications to assess the political and scientific outputs of all CPs over the last 18 years. We show that a subset of t...

  15. Toward an accurate taxonomic interpretation of Carex fossil fruits (Cyperaceae): a case study in section Phacocystis in the Western Palearctic. (United States)

    Jiménez-Mejías, Pedro; Martinetto, Edoardo


    Despite growing interest in the systematics and evolution of the hyperdiverse genus Carex, few studies have focused on its evolution using an absolute time framework. This is partly due to the limited knowledge of the fossil record. However, Carex fruits are not rare in certain sediments. We analyzed carpological features of modern materials from Carex sect. Phacocystis to characterize the fossil record taxonomically. We studied 374 achenes from modern materials (18 extant species), as well as representatives from related groups, to establish the main traits within and among species. We also studied 99 achenes from sediments of living populations to assess their modification process after decay. Additionally, we characterized 145 fossil achenes from 10 different locations (from 4-0.02 mya), whose taxonomic assignment we discuss. Five main characters were identified for establishing morphological groups of species (epidermis morphology, achene-utricle attachment, achene base, style robustness, and pericarp section). Eleven additional characters allowed the discrimination at species level of most of the taxa. Fossil samples were assigned to two extant species and one unknown, possibly extinct species. The analysis of fruit characters allows the distinction of groups, even up to species level. Carpology is revealed as an accurate tool in Carex paleotaxonomy, which could allow the characterization of Carex fossil fruits and assign them to subgeneric or sectional categories, or to certain species. Our conclusions could be crucial for including a temporal framework in the study of the evolution of Carex.

  16. Coniacian sandstones from the North Sudetic Synclinorium revisited: palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographical reconstructions based on trace fossil analysis and associated body fossils (United States)

    Chrząstek, Alina; Wypych, Monika


    The Coniacian quartz sandstones (Żerkowice Member, Rakowice Wielkie Formation) that crop out at quarries near Czaple-Nowa Wieś Grodziska (North Sudetic Synclinorium) contain a low-diversity assemblage of trace fossils: Gyrochorte isp., Ophiomorpha nodosa (Lundgren, 1891), Ophiomorpha isp., Phycodes cf. curvipalmatum (Pollard, 1981), ?Phycodes isp., Planolites cf. beverleyensis (Billings, 1862), Thalassinoides paradoxicus (Woodward, 1830) and ?Thalassinoides isp. Moreover, interesting compound burrow systems, here referred to as Thalassinoides-Phycodes cf. palmatus and ?Thalassinoides-Phycodes, were recognised at the Czaple Quarry. Additionally, ?Gyrochorte isp., Phycodes cf. flabellum (Miller and Dyer, 1878) and ?Treptichnus isp. were encountered at correlative levels in the Rakowice Małe Quarry. Some of these ichnotaxa have not been recorded previously from Coniacian sandstones of the Żerkowice Member. Additionally, in slabs of these sandstones, the gastropod Nerinea bicincta (Bronn, 1836) and the bivalve Lima haidingeri (Zittel, 1866) were found. These interesting finds, in particular the gastropods, were already noted from the study area in the first half of the twentieth century by (Scupin (1912-1913)). Ethologically, the trace fossil assemblage is represented by domichnia or domichnia/fodinichnia (Ophiomorpha, Thalassinoides), fodinichnia (Phycodes) and pascichnia (Gyrochorte, Planolites). The compound burrow systems (Thalassinoides-Phycodes) are interpreted as dwelling/feeding structures. The possible tracemakers are crustaceans (Ophiomorpha, Thalassinoides) or worm-like animals (annelids and other) (Planolites, ?Phycodes, Gyrochorte and ?Treptichnus). The assemblage of trace fossils is characteristic of the Skolithos ichnofacies and Cruziana ichnofacies, typical of shallow-marine settings. Ichnological studies, as well as the presence of accompanying fossils (bivalves, gastropods), confirm the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Żerkowice Member

  17. Uranium in fossil bones

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Koul, S.L.


    An attempt has been made to determine the uranium content and thus the age of certain fossil bones Haritalyangarh (Himachal Pradesh), India. The results indicate that bones rich in apatite are also rich in uranium, and that the radioactivity is due to radionuclides in the uranium series. The larger animals apparently have a higher concentration of uranium than the small. The dating of a fossil jaw (elephant) places it in the Pleistocene. (Auth.)

  18. Antarctic Meteorite Classification and Petrographic Database (United States)

    Todd, Nancy S.; Satterwhite, C. E.; Righter, Kevin


    The Antarctic Meteorite collection, which is comprised of over 18,700 meteorites, is one of the largest collections of meteorites in the world. These meteorites have been collected since the late 1970's as part of a three-agency agreement between NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution [1]. Samples collected each season are analyzed at NASA s Meteorite Lab and the Smithsonian Institution and results are published twice a year in the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, which has been in publication since 1978. Each newsletter lists the samples collected and processed and provides more in-depth details on selected samples of importance to the scientific community. Data about these meteorites is also published on the NASA Curation website [2] and made available through the Meteorite Classification Database allowing scientists to search by a variety of parameters

  19. Antarctic fellfield response to climate change: a tripartite synthesis of experimental data. (United States)

    Kennedy, Andrew D


    This paper explores the biological consequences of climate change by integrating the results of a tripartite investigation involving fumarole, field manipulation and laboratory incubation experiments. The geographical region for this research is the maritime Antarctic. Under contemporary climate conditions, the lithosols in this region support only a sparse cryptogamic flora of limited taxonomic diversity and low structural complexity. However, the existence in geothermal areas of temperate species (e.g. Campylopus introflexus, Marchantia polymorpha, Philonotis acicularis) growing outside their normal biogeographical range suggests that elevated temperature and humidity may alter the trajectory of community development towards Magellanic or Patagonian composition. Productivity is also likely to increase, as indicated by significantly greater vegetative biomass recorded beneath climate-ameliorating soil covers than in controls. Barren fellfield soil samples transplanted to the laboratory and incubated at temperatures of 2-25°C show rapid development of moss, algae and lichen propagules in the range 15-25°C. A variety of species develop that have not been recorded in the field. The presence of exotic taxa indicates the existence of a dormant propagule bank in maritime Antarctic soils and suggests that no significant delay is likely to occur between the onset of climate warming and community development: instead, rapid establishment of those species favoured by the new climate conditions will yield a distinct founder effect, with increasing above- and below-ground biomass stimulating biogeochemical cycling. It is argued that the combined results of this synthesis identify generic responses to climate change arising from the importance at high latitudes of low temperature and water availability as limiting factors: subject to other growth resources being non-limiting, a more consistent stimulatory response to climate change may be expected than in temperate or

  20. Possible connections of the opposite trends in Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice cover. (United States)

    Yu, Lejiang; Zhong, Shiyuan; Winkler, Julie A; Zhou, Mingyu; Lenschow, Donald H; Li, Bingrui; Wang, Xianqiao; Yang, Qinghua


    Sea ice is an important component of the global climate system and a key indicator of climate change. A decreasing trend in Arctic sea-ice concentration is evident in recent years, whereas Antarctic sea-ice concentration exhibits a generally increasing trend. Various studies have investigated the underlying causes of the observed trends for each region, but possible linkages between the regional trends have not been studied. Here, we hypothesize that the opposite trends in Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice concentration may be linked, at least partially, through interdecadal variability of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Although evaluation of this hypothesis is constrained by the limitations of the sea-ice cover record, preliminary statistical analyses of one short-term and two long-term time series of observed and reanalysis sea-ice concentrations data suggest the possibility of the hypothesized linkages. For all three data sets, the leading mode of variability of global sea-ice concentration is positively correlated with the AMO and negatively correlated with the PDO. Two wave trains related to the PDO and the AMO appear to produce anomalous surface-air temperature and low-level wind fields in the two polar regions that contribute to the opposite changes in sea-ice concentration.

  1. Improvements in the chronology, geochemistry and correlation techniques of tephra in Antarctic ice (United States)

    Iverson, N. A.; Dunbar, N. W.; McIntosh, W. C.; Pearce, N. J.; Kyle, P. R.


    Visible and crypto tephra layers found in West Antarctic ice provide an excellent record of Antarctic volcanism over the past 100ka. Tephra layers are deposited almost instantaneously across wide areas creating horizons that, if found in several locations, provide 'pinning points' to adjust ice time scales that may otherwise be lacking detailed chronology. Individual tephra layers can have distinct chemical fingerprints allowing them to correlate over great distances. Advances in sample preparation, geochemical analyses (major and trace elements) of fine grained tephra and higher precision 40Ar/39Ar dating of young (typically too small to be directly dated by 40Ar/39Ar method, making it very important to geochemically correlate these layers to proximal deposits where more and larger feldspar can be sampled. The correlation of WDC06A-2767.117 to the coarse, proximal BIT-152 provides one such link. The New Mexico Geochronology Research Lab (NMGRL) has two new multi-collector ARGUS VI mass spectrometers that can provide single crystal laser fusion ages that are approximately an order of magnitude more precise than the previous determinations. With these advancements in analytical technology, we hope to improve precision on 'pinning points' in the deep ice cores where annual layer counting becomes less precise.

  2. A Record of Holocene Paleoclimate Evolution from Robertson Bay, Victoria Land, Antarctica (United States)

    Riesselman, C. R.; Truax, O.; Wilson, G. S.; Parker, R. L.; Yoo, K. C.; Lee, J. I.; Levy, R. H.; Mckay, R. M.


    Regionally representative records of how Antarctica responded to the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum into the Holocene are an essential component of understanding the processes by which the Antarctic cryosphere responds to a changing climate. Here, we present a high-resolution record of Holocene Antarctic paleoclimate evolution from a previously unstudied section of the Victoria Land margin. In 2015 the Korea Polar Research Institute collected a 571 cm sediment core, GC57, from Robertson Bay, a protected embayment west of Cape Adare and adjacent to the outlet glaciers of the Transantarctic Mountains. Using diatom assemblages, bulk sediment geochemistry, and the magnetic properties of GC57, we aim to reconstruct the response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to warming associated with deglaciation and the Holocene climatic optima at the interface between the Ross Sea and the Southern Ocean. Our multiproxy approach allows us to study sea ice extent, seasonality, ocean stratification and circulation, and primary productivity from the mid-Holocene (7,400 14C year BP) to the present. A sea-ice associated diatom assemblage indicative of summer sea surface temperatures below 0˚C dominates the basal section of GC57. Although diatoms are well preserved, the unit is characterized by low wt% biogenic silica (average 9%) and a high concentration of magnetic minerals, indicating that biogenic production persisted despite substantial terrigenous input into the bay. A rapid transition at 4708 14C yr BP is identified by a steep increase in wt% BSi (average 13%), a decrease in magnetic minerals, and a subtle assemblage change towards sea-ice associated diatoms with slightly warmer temperature tolerances. The novel ramped pyrolosis 14C dating methodology allows us to date the carbon fixed concurrent with deposition and generate a robust age model for GC57 with an accuracy previously difficult to achieve given the uncertainties associated with dating bulk acid insoluble

  3. The Research on Elevation Change of Antarctic Ice Sheet Based on CRYOSAT-2 Alimeter (United States)

    Sun, Q.; Wan, J.; Liu, S.; Li, Y.


    In this paper, the Cryosat-2 altimeter data distributed by the ESA, and these data are processed to extract the information of the elevation change of the Antarctic ice sheet from 2010 to 2017. Firstly, the main pretreatment preprocessing for Cryosat-2 altimetry data is crossover adjustment and elimination of rough difference. Then the grid DEM of the Antarctic ice sheet was constructed by using the kriging interpolation method,and analyzed the spatial characteristic time characteristics of the Antarctic ice sheet. The latitude-weighted elevation can be obtained by using the elevation data of each cycle, and then the general trend of the Antarctic ice sheet elevation variation can be seen roughly.

  4. A long term strategy for Antarctic tourism : The key to decision making within the Antarctic Treaty System?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bastmeijer, C.J.; Maher, P.; Stewart, E.; Lück, M.


    The fast increase of Antarctic tourism raises various management questions. Questions relating to the safety of tourists, questions regarding the interaction between science and tourism and questions relating to direct, indirect or cumulative affects on Antarctica's environment and wilderness

  5. Historical Arctic and Antarctic Surface Observational Data (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This product consists of meteorological data from 105 Arctic weather stations and 137 Antarctic stations, extracted from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)'s...

  6. Fossil and non-fossil source contributions to atmospheric carbonaceous aerosols during extreme spring grassland fires in Eastern Europe (United States)

    Ulevicius, Vidmantas; Byčenkienė, Steigvilė; Bozzetti, Carlo; Vlachou, Athanasia; Plauškaitė, Kristina; Mordas, Genrik; Dudoitis, Vadimas; Abbaszade, Gülcin; Remeikis, Vidmantas; Garbaras, Andrius; Masalaite, Agne; Blees, Jan; Fröhlich, Roman; Dällenbach, Kaspar R.; Canonaco, Francesco; Slowik, Jay G.; Dommen, Josef; Zimmermann, Ralf; Schnelle-Kreis, Jürgen; Salazar, Gary A.; Agrios, Konstantinos; Szidat, Sönke; El Haddad, Imad; Prévôt, André S. H.


    In early spring the Baltic region is frequently affected by high-pollution events due to biomass burning in that area. Here we present a comprehensive study to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning (BB) on the evolution and composition of aerosol in Preila, Lithuania, during springtime open fires. Non-refractory submicron particulate matter (NR-PM1) was measured by an Aerodyne aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM) and a source apportionment with the multilinear engine (ME-2) running the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model was applied to the organic aerosol fraction to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning. Satellite observations over regions of biomass burning activity supported the results and identification of air mass transport to the area of investigation. Sharp increases in biomass burning tracers, such as levoglucosan up to 683 ng m-3 and black carbon (BC) up to 17 µg m-3 were observed during this period. A further separation between fossil and non-fossil primary and secondary contributions was obtained by coupling ACSM PMF results and radiocarbon (14C) measurements of the elemental (EC) and organic (OC) carbon fractions. Non-fossil organic carbon (OCnf) was the dominant fraction of PM1, with the primary (POCnf) and secondary (SOCnf) fractions contributing 26-44 % and 13-23 % to the total carbon (TC), respectively. 5-8 % of the TC had a primary fossil origin (POCf), whereas the contribution of fossil secondary organic carbon (SOCf) was 4-13 %. Non-fossil EC (ECnf) and fossil EC (ECf) ranged from 13-24 and 7-13 %, respectively. Isotope ratios of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were used to distinguish aerosol particles associated with solid and liquid fossil fuel burning.

  7. Thermohaline structure and water masses in the north of Antarctic Peninsula from data collected in situ by southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilana E. K. C. Wainer


    Full Text Available The Western Antarctic Peninsula is rapidly warming and exhibits high indices of biodiversity concentrated mostly along its continental shelf. This region has great importance due to the the mixing caused by the interaction of waters from Weddell Sea (MW, Bransfield Strait (EB and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (CCA transmits thermohaline characteristics and nutrients of different sites and finally connects with all the world’s oceans. However, studies focusing on the temporal variability of the region’s oceanographic conditions that finally determine the water mass formation are sparse due to the logistical difficulties of conducting oceanographic surveys and traditional monitoring during the winter. For this study, variations of the thermohaline structure and water masses in the vicinity and below the sea ice in the North of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP and Scotia Sea (SS were recorded between February and November 2008 by two female southern elephant seals (SES, Mirounga leonina tagged with Conductivity–Temperature–Depth/Satellite-Relay Data Logger (CTD–SRDL. One thousand three hundred and thirty vertical profiles of temperature and salinity were collected by seals which were tagged by the MEOP-BR Project team at the Elephant Island, South Shetlands. These profiles, together with spread state diagrams allowed the identification of water masses and their variances in the ocean’s vertical structure. Among the set of identified water masses we cite: Antarctic Surface Water (AASW, Winter Water (WW, Warm Deep Water (WDW, Modified Warm Deep Water (MWDW, Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW, Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW, Lower Circumpolar Deep Water (LCDW and Ice Shelf Water (ISW. Our results show that the oceanic vertical structure undergoes changes that cannot be traditionally monitored, particularly during the Austral winter and that SES are important and modern oceanographic data collection platforms allowing for the improvement of our

  8. Discovery of fossil lamprey larva from the Lower Cretaceous reveals its three-phased life cycle. (United States)

    Chang, Mee-mann; Wu, Feixiang; Miao, Desui; Zhang, Jiangyong


    Lampreys are one of the two surviving jawless vertebrate groups and one of a few vertebrate groups with the best exemplified metamorphosis during their life cycle, which consists of a long-lasting larval stage, a peculiar metamorphosis, and a relatively short adulthood with a markedly different anatomy. Although the fossil records have revealed that many general features of extant lamprey adults were already formed by the Late Devonian (ca. 360 Ma), little is known about the life cycle of the fossil lampreys because of the lack of fossilized lamprey larvae or transformers. Here we report the first to our knowledge discovery of exceptionally preserved premetamorphic and metamorphosing larvae of the fossil lamprey Mesomyzon mengae from the Lower Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossil ammocoetes look surprisingly modern in having an eel-like body with tiny eyes, oral hood and lower lip, anteriorly positioned branchial region, and a continuous dorsal skin fin fold and in sharing a similar feeding habit, as judged from the detritus left in the gut. In contrast, the larger metamorphosing individuals have slightly enlarged eyes relative to large otic capsules, thickened oral hood or pointed snout, and discernable radials but still anteriorly extended branchial area and lack a suctorial oral disk, which characterize the early stages of the metamorphosis of extant lampreys. Our discovery not only documents the larval conditions of fossil lampreys but also indicates the three-phased life cycle in lampreys emerged essentially in their present mode no later than the Early Cretaceous.

  9. Antarctic palynology and palaeoclimate - a review


    Bowman, Vanessa


    The first exciting clues that Antarctica had not always been ice-covered were the leaf fossils of Glossopteris plants that Scott’s party brought back from the Beardmore Glacier region in 1912. Since dated at ~ 250 million years old, it has become evident that Antarctica has been vegetated longer than it has been ice-covered. These first plant fossils from the Beardmore have led to over 100 years of scientific investigation of the rich macro- (e.g. leaves and fossil wo...

  10. Fossil Groups as Cosmological Labs (United States)

    D'Onghia, Elena

    Optical and X-ray measurements of fossil groups (FGs) suggest that they are old and relaxed systems. If FGs are assembled at higher redshift, there is enough time for intermediate-luminosity galaxies to merge, resulting in the formation of the brightest group galaxy (BGG). We carry out the first, systematic study of a large sample of FGs, the "FOssil Group Origins'' (FOGO) based on an International Time Project at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory. For ten FOGO FGs we have been awarded time at SUZAKU Telescope to measure the temperature of the hot intragroup gas (IGM). For these systems we plan to evaluate and correlate their X-ray luminosity and X-ray temperature, Lx-Tx, optical luminosity and X-ray temperature, Lopt-Tx, and group velocity dispersion with their X-ray temperature, sigma V-Tx, as compared to the non fossil systems. By combining these observations with state-of-art cosmological hydrodynamical simulations we will open a new window into the study of the IGM and the nature of fossil systems. Our proposed work will be of direct relevance for the understanding and interpretation of data from several NASA science missions. Specifically, the scaling relations obtained from these data combined with our predictions obtained using state-of-the-art hydrodynamical simulation numerical adopting a new hydrodynamical scheme will motivate new proposal on CHANDRA X-ray telescope for fossil groups and clusters. We will additionally create a public Online Planetarium Show. This will be an educational site, containing an interactive program called: "A Voyage to our Universe''. In the show we will provide observed images of fossil groups and similar images and movies obtained from the numerical simulations showing their evolution. The online planetarium show will be a useful reference and an interactive educational tool for both students and the public.

  11. Spatial structures in the heat budget of the Antarctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Berg, W.J.; van den Broeke, M.R.; van Meijgaard, E.


    Output from the regional climate model RACMO2/ANT is used to calculate the heat budget of the Antarctic atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). The main feature of the wintertime Antarctic ABL is a persistent temperature deficit compared to the free atmosphere. The magnitude of this deficit is controlled

  12. Testing oils in antarctic soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Leufkens, D.


    The resident seals, whales and penguins in Antarctica's Ross Sea region have only environmentally friendly ways of getting around. In contrast, wherever humans go in the Antarctic and whatever they do, be it research, tourism or fishing, they need fuel for their planes, icebreaker ships, land vehicles and generators. Because of this, petroleum hydrocarbons are the most likely source of pollution in the Antarctic. Accidental oil spills often occur near scientific stations, where storage and refuelling of aircraft and vehicles can result in spills. Spills also occur as a consequence of drilling activities. Dr Jackie Aislabie, a microbiologist from the New Zealand government's research company Landcare Research, is leading a program aimed at understanding how oil spills impact on Antarctic soils. The properties of pristine soils were compared with oil-contaminated soil at three locations: Scott Base, Marble Point and in the Wright Valley at Bull Pass. Soils in the Scott Base area are impacted by the establishment and continuous habitation of the base over 40 years, and a hydrocarbon-contaminated site was sampled near a former storage area for drums of mixed oils. Soil sampled from Marble Point was taken from near the old Marble Point camp, which was inhabited from 1957 to about 1963. Oil stains were visible on the soil surface, and are assumed to have been there for more than 30 years. The samples selected for analysis from the Wright Valley came from a spill site near Bull Pass that occurred during seismic bore-hole drilling activities in 1985. The contamination levels ranged from below detection to just over 29,000 μg/g of soil. Descriptions and analyse results are included into a Geographic Information System and associated soils database

  13. Vigorous lateral export of the meltwater outflow from beneath an Antarctic ice shelf. (United States)

    Garabato, Alberto C Naveira; Forryan, Alexander; Dutrieux, Pierre; Brannigan, Liam; Biddle, Louise C; Heywood, Karen J; Jenkins, Adrian; Firing, Yvonne L; Kimura, Satoshi


    The instability and accelerated melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are among the foremost elements of contemporary global climate change. The increased freshwater output from Antarctica is important in determining sea level rise, the fate of Antarctic sea ice and its effect on the Earth's albedo, ongoing changes in global deep-ocean ventilation, and the evolution of Southern Ocean ecosystems and carbon cycling. A key uncertainty in assessing and predicting the impacts of Antarctic Ice Sheet melting concerns the vertical distribution of the exported meltwater. This is usually represented by climate-scale models as a near-surface freshwater input to the ocean, yet measurements around Antarctica reveal the meltwater to be concentrated at deeper levels. Here we use observations of the turbulent properties of the meltwater outflows from beneath a rapidly melting Antarctic ice shelf to identify the mechanism responsible for the depth of the meltwater. We show that the initial ascent of the meltwater outflow from the ice shelf cavity triggers a centrifugal overturning instability that grows by extracting kinetic energy from the lateral shear of the background oceanic flow. The instability promotes vigorous lateral export, rapid dilution by turbulent mixing, and finally settling of meltwater at depth. We use an idealized ocean circulation model to show that this mechanism is relevant to a broad spectrum of Antarctic ice shelves. Our findings demonstrate that the mechanism producing meltwater at depth is a dynamically robust feature of Antarctic melting that should be incorporated into climate-scale models.

  14. 222Rn in the Antarctic Peninsula during 1986

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pereira, E.B.; Setzer, A.W.; Cavalcanti, I.F.A.


    222 Rn was continuously measured at the Brazilian Antarctic Station (62 0 S, 58 0 W) during the year of 1986. Baseline radon concentration averaged 0.02 Bq.m -3 with surges peaking 0.4 Bq.m -3 . The data exhibited a characteristic periodicity of about 25 days and a strong positive association with short term fluctuations of atmospheric temperature. No seasonal variations of radon were observed. Interpretation of the radon surges with reference to synoptic charts and weather satellite pictures showed that the continental influence of radon at the Antarctic Peninsula is very small and comes only from the tip of the South American cone. (author)

  15. Standing crop and growth rates of net phytoplankton and nanoplankton in Antarctic waters

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Goes, J.I.; Fondekar, S.P.; Parulekar, A.H.

    stream_size 16 stream_content_type text/plain stream_name Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_419.pdf.txt stream_source_info Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_419.pdf.txt Content-Encoding ISO-8859-1 Content-Type text/plain; charset...

  16. Living resources of Antarctic India's contribution to exploration and future plans for exploration

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Parulekar, A.H.

    stream_size 7 stream_content_type text/plain stream_name Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_459.pdf.txt stream_source_info Proc_Workshop_Antarct_Stud_1990_459.pdf.txt Content-Encoding ISO-8859-1 Content-Type text/plain; charset...

  17. Fossil and non-fossil sources of organic carbon (OC and elemental carbon (EC in Göteborg, Sweden

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Szidat


    Full Text Available Particulate matter was collected at an urban site in Göteborg (Sweden in February/March 2005 and in June/July 2006. Additional samples were collected at a rural site for the winter period. Total carbon (TC concentrations were 2.1–3.6 μg m−3, 1.8–1.9 μg m−3, and 2.2–3.0 μg m−3 for urban/winter, rural/winter, and urban/summer conditions, respectively. Elemental carbon (EC, organic carbon (OC, water-insoluble OC (WINSOC, and water-soluble OC (WSOC were analyzed for 14C in order to distinguish fossil from non-fossil emissions. As wood burning is the single major source of non-fossil EC, its contribution can be quantified directly. For non-fossil OC, the wood-burning fraction was determined independently by levoglucosan and 14C analysis and combined using Latin-hypercube sampling (LHS. For the winter period, the relative contribution of EC from wood burning to the total EC was >3 times higher at the rural site compared to the urban site, whereas the absolute concentrations of EC from wood burning were elevated only moderately at the rural compared to the urban site. Thus, the urban site is substantially more influenced by fossil EC emissions. For summer, biogenic emissions dominated OC concentrations most likely due to secondary organic aerosol (SOA formation. During both seasons, a more pronounced fossil signal was observed for Göteborg than has previously been reported for Zurich, Switzerland. Analysis of air mass origin using back trajectories suggests that the fossil impact was larger when local sources dominated, whereas long-range transport caused an enhanced non-fossil signal. In comparison to other European locations, concentrations of levoglucosan and other monosaccharide anhydrides were low for the urban and the rural site in the area of Göteborg during winter.

  18. Environmental costs of fossil fuel energy production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Riva, A.; Trebeschi, C.


    The costs of environmental impacts caused by fossil fuel energy production are external to the energy economy and normally they are not reflected in energy prices. To determine the environmental costs associated with an energy source a detailed analysis of all environmental impacts of the complete energy cycle is required. The economic evaluation of environmental damages is presented caused by atmospheric emissions produced by fossil fuel combustion for different uses. Considering the emission factors of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, dust and carbon dioxide and the economic evaluation of their environmental damages reported in literature, a range of environmental costs associated with different fossil fuels and technologies is presented. A comparison of environmental costs resulting from atmospheric emissions produced by fossil-fuel combustion for energy production shows that natural gas has a significantly higher environmental value than other fossil fuels. (R.P.)

  19. Fossil and non-fossil source contributions to atmospheric carbonaceous aerosols during extreme spring grassland fires in Eastern Europe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. Ulevicius


    Full Text Available In early spring the Baltic region is frequently affected by high-pollution events due to biomass burning in that area. Here we present a comprehensive study to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning (BB on the evolution and composition of aerosol in Preila, Lithuania, during springtime open fires. Non-refractory submicron particulate matter (NR-PM1 was measured by an Aerodyne aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM and a source apportionment with the multilinear engine (ME-2 running the positive matrix factorization (PMF model was applied to the organic aerosol fraction to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning. Satellite observations over regions of biomass burning activity supported the results and identification of air mass transport to the area of investigation. Sharp increases in biomass burning tracers, such as levoglucosan up to 683 ng m−3 and black carbon (BC up to 17 µg m−3 were observed during this period. A further separation between fossil and non-fossil primary and secondary contributions was obtained by coupling ACSM PMF results and radiocarbon (14C measurements of the elemental (EC and organic (OC carbon fractions. Non-fossil organic carbon (OCnf was the dominant fraction of PM1, with the primary (POCnf and secondary (SOCnf fractions contributing 26–44 % and 13–23 % to the total carbon (TC, respectively. 5–8 % of the TC had a primary fossil origin (POCf, whereas the contribution of fossil secondary organic carbon (SOCf was 4–13 %. Non-fossil EC (ECnf and fossil EC (ECf ranged from 13–24 and 7–13 %, respectively. Isotope ratios of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were used to distinguish aerosol particles associated with solid and liquid fossil fuel burning.

  20. Traversing the mountaintop: world fossil fuel production to 2050. (United States)

    Nehring, Richard


    During the past century, fossil fuels--petroleum liquids, natural gas and coal--were the dominant source of world energy production. From 1950 to 2005, fossil fuels provided 85-93% of all energy production. All fossil fuels grew substantially during this period, their combined growth exceeding the increase in world population. This growth, however, was irregular, providing for rapidly growing per capita production from 1950 to 1980, stable per capita production from 1980 to 2000 and rising per capita production again after 2000. During the past half century, growth in fossil fuel production was essentially limited by energy demand. During the next half century, fossil fuel production will be limited primarily by the amount and characteristics of remaining fossil fuel resources. Three possible scenarios--low, medium and high--are developed for the production of each of the fossil fuels to 2050. These scenarios differ primarily by the amount of ultimate resources estimated for each fossil fuel. Total fossil fuel production will continue to grow, but only slowly for the next 15-30 years. The subsequent peak plateau will last for 10-15 years. These production peaks are robust; none of the fossil fuels, even with highly optimistic resource estimates, is projected to keep growing beyond 2050. World fossil fuel production per capita will thus begin an irreversible decline between 2020 and 2030.

  1. Balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (United States)


    For several decades, measurements of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet showed it to be retreating rapidly. But new data derived from satellite-borne radar sensors show the ice sheet to be growing. Changing Antarctic ice sheets remains an area of high scientific interest, particularly in light of recent global warming concerns. These new findings are significant because scientists estimate that sea level would rise 5-6 meters (16-20 feet) if the ice sheet collapsed into the sea. Do these new measurements signal the end of the ice sheet's 10,000-year retreat? Or, are these new satellite data simply much more accurate than the sparse ice core and surface measurements that produced the previous estimates? Another possibility is that the ice accumulation may simply indicate that the ice sheet naturally expands and retreats in regular cycles. Cryologists will grapple with these questions, and many others, as they examine the new data. The image above depicts the region of West Antarctica where scientists measured ice speed. The fast-moving central ice streams are shown in red. Slower tributaries feeding the ice streams are shown in blue. Green areas depict slow-moving, stable areas. Thick black lines depict the areas that collect snowfall to feed their respective ice streams. Reference: Ian Joughin and Slawek Tulaczyk Science Jan 18 2002: 476-480. Image courtesy RADARSAT Antarctic Mapping Project

  2. Isolation and characterization of Campylobacter spp. from Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at Deception Island, Antarctica. (United States)

    García-Peña, F J; Pérez-Boto, D; Jiménez, C; San Miguel, E; Echeita, A; Rengifo-Herrera, C; García-Párraga, D; Ortega-Mora, L M; Pedraza-Díaz, S


    The presence of Campylobacter spp. was investigated in 41 Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) and 9 Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) at Deception Island, Antarctica. Infections were encountered in six Antarctic fur seals. The isolates, the first reported from marine mammals in the Antarctic region, were identified as Campylobacter insulaenigrae and Campylobacter lari.

  3. A Geochemical and Sedimentary Record of High Southern Latitude Holocene Climate Evolution from Lago Fagnano, Tierra del Fuego

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moy, C M; Dunbar, R B; Guilderson, T P; Waldmann, N; Mucciarone, D A; Recasens, C; Austin, J A; Anselmetti, F S


    Situated at the southern margin of the hemispheric westerly wind belt and immediately north of the Antarctic Polar Frontal zone, Tierra del Fuego is well-positioned to monitor coupled changes in the ocean-atmosphere system of the high southern latitudes. Here we describe a Holocene paleoclimate record from sediment cores obtained from Lago Fagnano, a large lake in southern Tierra del Fuego at 55{sup o}S, to investigate past changes in climate related to these two important features of the global climate system. We use an AMS radiocarbon chronology for the last 8,000 years based on pollen concentrates, thereby avoiding contamination from bedrock-derived lignite. Our chronology is consistent with a tephrochronologic age date for deposits from the middle Holocene Volcan Hudson eruption. Combining bulk organic isotopic ({delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N) and elemental (C and N) parameters with physical sediment properties allow us to better understand sediment provenance and transport mechanisms and to interpret Holocene climate and tectonic change during the last 8,000 years. Co-variability and long-term trends in C/N ratio, carbon accumulation rate, and magnetic susceptibility reflect an overall Holocene increase in the delivery of terrestrial organic and lithogenic material to the deep eastern basin. We attribute this variability to westerly wind-derived precipitation. Increased wind strength and precipitation in the late Holocene drives the Nothofagus forest eastward and enhances run-off and terrigenous inputs to the lake. Superimposed on the long-term trend are a series of abrupt 9 negative departures in C/N ratio, which constrain the presence of seismically-driven mass flow events in the record. We identify an increase in bulk {delta}{sup 13}C between 7,000 and 5,000 cal yr BP that we attribute to enhanced aquatic productivity driven by warmer summer temperatures. The Lago Fagnano {delta}{sup 13}C record shows similarities with Holocene records of sea surface

  4. Glacial morphology and depositional sequences of the Antarctic Continental Shelf (United States)

    ten Brink, Uri S.; Schneider, Christopher


    Proposes a simple model for the unusual depositional sequences and morphology of the Antarctic continental shelf. It considers the regional stratal geometry and the reversed morphology to be principally the results of time-integrated effects of glacial erosion and sedimentation related to the location of the ice grounding line. The model offers several guidelines for stratigraphic interpretation of the Antarctic shelf and a Northern Hemisphere shelf, both of which were subject to many glacial advances and retreats. -Authors

  5. Report on field research of the Spanish Antarctic Campaign 2014/15: a cooperative international research project with the 56th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sakae Kudoh


    Full Text Available A study on the limnological and ecological characteristics of maritime Antarctic lakes on Byers Peninsula, Livingstone Island, South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica, was conducted by the Spanish Antarctic Research Campaign during the 2014/15 season, in cooperation with the research program of the 56th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. Limnological surveys of three hillside lakes and three lagoons near beaches were conducted under conditions of heavy snow cover. Soils and biological samples in the catchment areas of the lakes and lagoons were also collected and analyzed. The hillside lakes were covered by thick ice and snow, which maintained winter water conditions in the lakes, such as irreversible stratification, oxygen depletion of bottom water, very weak underwater light conditions, etc., even in mid-January, although swimming zooplankton were abundant. Water samples were also collected in coastal lagoons and streams, an environment in which birds and marine mammals transport materials through the aquatic system.

  6. Fossil fuel support mechanisms in Finland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lampinen, Ari


    Fossil fuel subsidies and other state support for fossil fuels are forbidden by the Kyoto Protocol and other international treaties. However, they are still commonly used. This publication presents and analyses diverse state support mechanisms for fossil fuels in Finland in 2003-2010. Total of 38 support mechanisms are covered in quantitative analysis and some other mechanisms are mentioned qualitatively only. For some mechanisms the study includes a longer historical perspective. This is the case for tax subsidies for crude oil based traffic fuels that have been maintained in Finland since 1965.

  7. Satellite magnetic anomalies of the Antarctic crust

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. E. Alsdorf


    Full Text Available Spatially and temporally static crustal magnetic anomalies are contaminated by static core field effects above spherical harmonic degree 12 and dynamic, large-amplitude external fields. To extract crustal magnetic anomalies from the measurements of NASA's Magsat mission, we separate crustal signals from both core and external field effects. In particular, we define Magsat anomalies relative to the degree 11 field and use spectral correlation theory to reduce them for external field effects. We obtain a model of Antarctic crustal thickness by comparing the region's terrain gravity effects to free-air gravity anomalies derived from the Earth Gravity Model 1996 (EGM96. To separate core and crustal magnetic effects, we obtain the pseudo-magnetic effect of the crustal thickness variations from their gravity effect via Poisson's theorem for correlative potentials. We compare the pseudo-magnetic effect of the crustal thickness variations to field differences between degrees 11 and 13 by spectral correlation analysis. We thus identify and remove possible residual core field effects in the Magsat anomalies relative to the degree 11 core field. The resultant anomalies reflect possible Antarctic contrasts due both to crustal thickness and intracrustal variations of magnetization. In addition, they provide important constraints on the geologic interpretation of aeromagnetic survey data, such as are available for the Weddell Province. These crustal anomalies also may be used to correct for long wavelength errors in regional compilations of near-surface magnetic survey data. However, the validity of these applications is limited by the poor quality of the Antarctic Magsat data that were obtained during austral Summer and Fall when south polar external field activity was maximum. Hence an important test and supplement for the Antarctic crustal Magsat anomaly map will be provided by the data from the recently launched Ørsted mission, which will yield coverage

  8. Fossil power plant automation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Divakaruni, S.M.; Touchton, G.


    This paper elaborates on issues facing the utilities industry and seeks to address how new computer-based control and automation technologies resulting from recent microprocessor evolution, can improve fossil plant operations and maintenance. This in turn can assist utilities to emerge stronger from the challenges ahead. Many presentations at the first ISA/EPRI co-sponsored conference are targeted towards improving the use of computer and control systems in the fossil and nuclear power plants and we believe this to be the right forum to share our ideas

  9. Direct dating of fossils by the helium-uranium method

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schaeffer, O.A.


    The He-U method has been found to be applicable to the dating of fossil carbonates. This method furnishes a new dating technique particularly applicable to the Pleistocene and the Tertiary periods, especially the Late Tertiary, for which other methods of age dating either fail or are difficult to correlate with the fossil record. The method has been checked for possible losses of helium and uranium from or to the surroundings. It has been found that, while a calcite lattice does not appear to retain helium, if the lattice is aragonite there is good evidence that helium leakage is not a problem. This is true at least for times up to 20 m. y. For corals where the uranium is apparently uniformly distributed within the lattice as a trace element, the uranium does not exchange or undergo concentration changes. As a result aragonite corals yield reliable He-U ages. On the other hand, the uranium in mollusc fossils is apparently mainly in the grain boundaries and is not always a tight system as far as uranium exchange or concentration changes are concerned. To obtain a reliable age for a mollusc one needs additional evidence to ensure lack of changes in uranium concentration. If the measurement of U and He is combined with 238 U, 234 U and 230 Th determinations, it appears that many mollusc shells will also be datable by the method. The resulting evidence for secular equilibrium in the 238 U chain is good evidence for a closed system as far as U concentration changes are concerned. (author)

  10. Stable isotopic analysis of fossil chironomids as an approach to environmental reconstruction: state of development and future challenges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oliver Heiri


    Full Text Available Remains of chironomid larvae, especially their strongly sclerotized head capsules, can be found abundantly and well preserved in most lake sediment records. These remains mainly consist of chitin and proteins and, since their chemical composition does not seem to be strongly affected by decompositional processes, they can be used to develop palaeoenvironmental reconstructions based on their stable isotopic composition. Here we review available stable isotope studies based on fossil chironomids and indicate future research necessary to further develop this still relatively new research approach. Efforts to produce stable isotope records based on fossil chironomids have mainly examined the elements H, N, C, and O. They have focussed on (1 developing the methodology for preparing samples for isotopic analysis, (2 laboratory studies cultivating chironomid larvae under controlled conditions to determine the factors affecting their stable isotopic composition, (3 ecosystem-scale studies relating stable isotopic measurements of fossil chironomid assemblages to environmental conditions, and (4 developing first down-core records describing past changes in the stable isotopic composition of chironomid assemblages. These studies have shown that chemical sample pretreatment may affect the isotopic composition for some elements. Laboratory runs suggest that the diet of the larvae influences their stable isotopic composition for H, N, C and O, whereas stable isotopes in the ambient water also strongly influence their oxygen and to a lesser extent hydrogen isotopic composition. These experiments also indicate only minor offsets between the nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of chironomid soft tissue and the fossilizing head capsules, whereas for hydrogen and oxygen this offset remains to be explored. Though few datasets have been published, the available ecosystem studies and developed down-core sediment records indicate that stable isotopes in

  11. First fossil occurrence of a filefish (Tetraodontiformes; Monacanthidae) in Asia, from the Middle Miocene in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan. (United States)

    Miyajima, Yusuke; Koike, Hakuichi; Matsuoka, Hiroshige


    A new fossil filefish, Aluterus shigensis sp. nov., with a close resemblance to the extant Aluterus scriptus (Osbeck), is described from the Middle Miocene Bessho Formation in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan. It is characterized by: 21 total vertebrae; very slender and long first dorsal spine with tiny anterior barbs; thin and lancet-shaped basal pterygiophore of the spiny dorsal fin, with its ventral margin separated from the skull; proximal tip of moderately slender first pterygiophore of the soft dorsal fin not reaching far ventrally; soft dorsal-fin base longer than anal-fin base; caudal peduncle having nearly equal depth and length; and tiny, fine scales with slender, straight spinules. The occurrence of this fossil filefish from the Bessho Formation is consistent with the influence of warm water currents suggested by other fossils, but it is inconsistent with the deep-water sedimentary environment of this Formation. This is the first fossil occurrence of a filefish in Asia; previously described fossil filefishes are known from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Italy, the Pliocene of Greece, and the Miocene and Pliocene of North America. These fossil records suggest that the genus Aluterus had already been derived and was widely distributed during the Middle Miocene with taxa closely resembling Recent species.

  12. Vertical structure of Antarctic tropospheric ozone depletion events: characteristics and broader implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. E. Jones


    Full Text Available The majority of tropospheric ozone depletion event (ODE studies have focussed on time-series measurements, with comparatively few studies of the vertical component. Those that exist have almost exclusively used free-flying balloon-borne ozonesondes and almost all have been conducted in the Arctic. Here we use measurements from two separate Antarctic field experiments to examine the vertical profile of ozone during Antarctic ODEs. We use tethersonde data to probe details in the lowest few hundred meters and find considerable structure in the profiles associated with complex atmospheric layering. The profiles were all measured at wind speeds less than 7 ms−1, and on each occasion the lowest inversion height lay between 10 m and 40 m. We also use data from a free-flying ozonesonde study to select events where ozone depletion was recorded at altitudes >1 km above ground level. Using ERA-40 meteorological charts, we find that on every occasion the high altitude depletion was preceded by an atmospheric low pressure system. An examination of limited published ozonesonde data from other Antarctic stations shows this to be a consistent feature. Given the link between BrO and ODEs, we also examine ground-based and satellite BrO measurements and find a strong association between atmospheric low pressure systems and enhanced BrO that must arise in the troposphere. The results suggest that, in Antarctica, such depressions are responsible for driving high altitude ODEs and for generating the large-scale BrO clouds observed from satellites. In the Arctic, the prevailing meteorology differs from that in Antarctica, but, while a less common effect, major low pressure systems in the Arctic can also generate BrO clouds. Such depressions thus appear to be fundamental when considering the broader influence of ODEs, certainly in Antarctica, such as halogen export and the radiative influence of ozone-depleted air masses.

  13. Paleoclimate Reconstruction during the 17th to 18th Century Using Fossil Coral Tsunami Boulders from Ishigaki Island, the Ryukyus, Japan (United States)

    Tsuzuki, K.; Yokoyama, Y.; Seki, A.; Kawakubo, Y.; Araoka, D.; Suzuki, A.


    Little Ice Age (LIA) which lasted during approximately 1450 to 1850 (e.g. Grove, 1988) is known as naturally occurring climate fluctuation, so knowing LIA in detail is necessary to improve climate models. Instrumental records can only extend back to about 100 years in many areas, thus paleoclimate records are reconstructed using proxies in tree rings, sediments and so force. However there are differences in reconstructed timings and magnitudes of LIA occurred in each area (Overpack et al., 1997), and most of the records are based mainly on terrestrial proxies such as tree ring records, whereas only limited numbers of marine records are available (Mann et al., 2008). Coral skeletal climatology is a useful tool to reconstruct marine paleoclimate records in tropics and subtropics. Hermatypic corals, Porites spp. have aragonite skeletons and they have annual bands, which are suitable to reconstruct high-resolution paleoclimate in seasonal scale by measuring chemical compositions. Skeletal Sr/Ca ratio in Porites spp. has been widely used as a reliable proxy of SST (Sea Surface Temperature). However, corals grow for approximately several decades to 200 years, hence it is difficult to reconstruct LIA paleoclimate using living corals. Cobb et al. (2003) used fossil corals casted on shore by storms to reconstruct millennial scale paleoclimate. There are fossil coral boulders in the eastern coast of Ishigaki Island, Ryukyus, Japan. These fossil coral boulders were casted on shore by paleo Tsunami events, thus they are called "Tsunami boulders" (Araoka et al., 2010). Fossil corals used by Cobb et al. have 30-90-year records while some large Tsunami boulders have multi-centennial continuous records. In this study, we reconstruct paleo SST using the Tsunami boulder from Ishigaki Island. The boulder has 185 years of annual banding. U-series dating shows the boulder was moved on shore at Meiwa earthquake in 1771. We measure Sr/Ca ratio using LA-HR-ICPMS (Laser Ablation High

  14. Soils of Sub-Antarctic tundras: diversity and basic chemical characteristics (United States)

    Abakumov, Evgeny; Vlasov, Dmitry; Mukhametova, Nadezhda


    Antarctic peninsula is known as specific part of Antarctica, which is characterizes by humid and relatively warm climate of so-called sub Antarctic (maritime) zone. Annual precipitation and long above zero period provides the possibility of sustainable tundra's ecosystem formation. Therefore, the soil diversity of these tundra landscapes is maximal in the whole Antarctic. Moreover, the thickness of parent material debris's is also highest and achieves a 1 or 2 meters as highest. The presence of higher vascular plants Deshampsia antarctica which is considered as one of the main edificators provides the development of humus accumulation in upper solum. Penguins activity provides an intensive soil fertilization and development of plant communities with increased density. All these factors leads to formation of specific and quite diverse soil cover in sub Antarctic tundra's. These ecosystems are presented by following permafrost affected soils: Leptosols, Lithoosols, Crysols, Gleysols, Peats and Ornhitosols. Also the post Ornhitosols are widely spreaded in subantarcic ecosystems, they forms on the penguin rockeries during the plant succession development, leaching of nutrients and organic matter mineralization. "Amphibious" soils are specific for seasonal lakes, which evaporates in the end if Australian summer. These soils have specific features of bio sediments and soils as well. Soil chemical characteristic as well as organic matter features discussed in comparison with Antacrtic continental soil in presentation.

  15. Modeling the Thermal Interactions of Meteorites Below the Antarctic Ice (United States)

    Oldroyd, William Jared; Radebaugh, Jani; Stephens, Denise C.; Lorenz, Ralph; Harvey, Ralph; Karner, James


    Meteorites with high specific gravities, such as irons, appear to be underrepresented in Antarctic collections over the last 40 years. This underrepresentation is in comparison with observed meteorite falls, which are believed to represent the actual population of meteorites striking Earth. Meteorites on the Antarctic ice sheet absorb solar flux, possibly leading to downward tunneling into the ice, though observations of this in action are very limited. This descent is counteracted by ice sheet flow supporting the meteorites coupled with ablation near mountain margins, which helps to force meteorites towards the surface. Meteorites that both absorb adequate thermal energy and are sufficiently dense may instead reach a shallow equilibrium depth as downward melting overcomes upward forces during the Antarctic summer. Using a pyronometer, we have measured the incoming solar flux at multiple depths in two deep field sites in Antarctica, the Miller Range and Elephant Moraine. We compare these data with laboratory analogues and model the thermal and physical interactions between a variety of meteorites and their surroundings. Our Matlab code model will account for a wide range of parameters used to characterize meteorites in an Antarctic environment. We will present the results of our model along with depth estimates for several types of meteorites. The recovery of an additional population of heavy meteorites would increase our knowledge of the formation and composition of the solar system.

  16. Low genetic diversity in Antarctic populations of the lichen-forming ascomycete Cetraria aculeata and its photobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephanie Domaschke


    Full Text Available Lichens, symbiotic associations of fungi (mycobionts and green algae or cyanobacteria (photobionts, are poikilohydric organisms that are particularly well adapted to withstand adverse environmental conditions. Terrestrial ecosystems of the Antarctic are therefore largely dominated by lichens. The effects of global climate change are especially pronounced in the maritime Antarctic and it may be assumed that the lichen vegetation will profoundly change in the future. The genetic diversity of populations is closely correlated to their ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to their future evolutionary potential. In this study, we present evidence for low genetic diversity in Antarctic mycobiont and photobiont populations of the widespread lichen Cetraria aculeata. We compared between 110 and 219 DNA sequences from each of three gene loci for each symbiont. A total of 222 individuals from three Antarctic and nine antiboreal, temperate and Arctic populations were investigated. The mycobiont diversity is highest in Arctic populations, while the photobionts are most diverse in temperate regions. Photobiont diversity decreases significantly towards the Antarctic but less markedly towards the Arctic, indicating that ecological factors play a minor role in determining the diversity of Antarctic photobiont populations. Richness estimators calculated for the four geographical regions suggest that the low genetic diversity of Antarctic populations is not a sampling artefact. Cetraria aculeata appears to have diversified in the Arctic and subsequently expanded its range into the Southern Hemisphere. The reduced genetic diversity in the Antarctic is most likely due to founder effects during long-distance colonization.

  17. Progress of fossil fuel science

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Demirbas, M.F.


    Coal is the most abundant and widely distributed fossil fuel. More than 45% of the world's electricity is generated from coal, and it is the major fuel for generating electricity worldwide. The known coal reserves in the world are enough for more than 215 years of consumption, while the known oil reserves are only about 39 times of the world's consumption and the known natural gas reserves are about 63 times of the world's consumption level in 1998. In recent years, there have been effective scientific investigations on Turkish fossil fuels, which are considerable focused on coal resources. Coal is a major fossil fuel source for Turkey. Turkish coal consumption has been stable over the past decade and currently accounts for about 24% of the country's total energy consumption. Lignite coal has had the biggest share in total fossil fuel production, at 43%, in Turkey. Turkish researchers may investigate ten broad pathways of coal species upgrading, such as desulfurization and oxydesulfurization, pyrolysis and hydropyrolysis, liquefaction and hydroliquefaction, extraction and supercritical fluid extraction, gasification, oxidation, briquetting, flotation, and structure identification.

  18. Fossil energy and food security

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Folke, G.


    To fulfil the basic goal of delivering food for the tables of the citizens, modern Western agriculture is extremely dependent on supporting material flows, infrastructure, and fossil energy. According to several observers, fossil fuel production is about to peak, i.e., oil extraction is no longer capable of keeping pace with the increasing demand. This situation may trigger an unprecedented increase in fossil energy prices, which may make the current highly energy dependent food production-distribution system highly vulnerable. The paper starts with a survey of this vulnerability. Also, the supply of phosphorus, a key factor in agriculture, may be at stake under such circumstances. The paper analyses this situation and discusses settlement structures integrated with agriculture that might increase food security by reducing energy demands. In the proposed ideal societal structure, agriculture is integrated with settlements and most of the food needed by the population is produced locally, and the nutrients for food production are recycled from households and animals by means of biological processes demanding considerably less mechanical investment and fossil support energy than the conventional type of agriculture. The vulnerability of this structure would be considerably lower, than that of the current system. (author)

  19. Can Antarctic lichens acclimatize to changes in temperature? (United States)

    Colesie, Claudia; Büdel, Burkhard; Hurry, Vaughan; Green, Thomas George Allan


    The Antarctic Peninsula, a tundra biome dominated by lichens and bryophytes, is an ecozone undergoing rapid temperature shifts. Such changes may demand a high physiological plasticity of the local lichen species to maintain their role as key drivers in this pristine habitat. This study examines the response of net photosynthesis and respiration to increasing temperatures for three Antarctic lichen species with different ecological response amplitudes. We hypothesize that negative effects caused by increased temperatures can be mitigated by thermal acclimation of respiration and/or photosynthesis. The fully controlled growth chamber experiment simulated intermediate and extreme temperature increases over the time course of 6 weeks. Results showed that, in contrast to our hypothesis, none of the species was able to down-regulate temperature-driven respiratory losses through thermal acclimation of respiration. Instead, severe effects on photobiont vitality demonstrated that temperatures around 15°C mark the upper limit for the two species restricted to the Antarctic, and when mycobiont demands exceeded the photobiont capacity they could not survive within the lichen thallus. In contrast, the widespread lichen species was able to recover its homoeostasis by rapidly increasing net photosynthesis. We conclude that to understand the complete lichen response, acclimation processes of both symbionts, the photo- and the mycobiont, have to be evaluated separately. As a result, we postulate that any acclimation processes in lichen are species-specific. This, together with the high degree of response variability and sensitivity to temperature in different species that co-occur spatially close, complicates any predictions regarding future community composition in the Antarctic. Nevertheless, our results suggest that species with a broad ecological amplitude may be favoured with on-going changes in temperature. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Hawaii energy strategy project 2: Fossil energy review. Task 1: World and regional fossil energy dynamics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Breazeale, K. [ed.; Isaak, D.T.; Yamaguchi, N.; Fridley, D.; Johnson, C.; Long, S.


    This report in the Hawaii Energy Strategy Project examines world and regional fossil energy dynamics. The topics of the report include fossil energy characteristics, the world oil industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, refining, products and their uses, history and trends in the global oil market and the Asia-Pacific market; world gas industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, processing, gas-based products, international gas market and the emerging Asia-Pacific gas market; the world coal industry including reserves, classification and quality, utilization, transportation, pricing, world coal market, Asia-Pacific coal outlook, trends in Europe and the Americas; and environmental trends affecting fossil fuels. 132 figs., 46 tabs.

  1. Early evolution and historical biogeography of fishflies (Megaloptera: Chauliodinae: implications from a phylogeny combining fossil and extant taxa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xingyue Liu

    Full Text Available Fishflies (Corydalidae: Chauliodinae are one of the main groups of the basal holometabolous insect order Megaloptera, with ca. 130 species distributed worldwide. A number of genera from the Southern Hemisphere show remarkably disjunctive distributions and are considered to be the austral remnants or "living fossils" of Gondwana. Hitherto, the evolutionary history of fishflies remains largely unexplored due to limited fossil record and incomplete knowledge of phylogenetic relationships. Here we describe two significant fossil species of fishflies, namely Eochauliodes striolatus gen. et sp. nov. and Jurochauliodes ponomarenkoi Wang & Zhang, 2010 (original designation for fossil larvae only, from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossils represent the earliest fishfly adults. Furthermore, we reconstruct the first phylogenetic hypothesis including all fossil and extant genera worldwide. Three main clades within Chauliodinae are recognized, i.e. the Dysmicohermes clade, the Protochauliodes clade, and the Archichauliodes clade. The phylogenetic and dispersal-vicariance (DIVA analyses suggest Pangaean origin and global distribution of fishflies before the Middle Jurassic. The generic diversification of fishflies might have happened before the initial split of Pangaea, while some Gondwanan-originated clades were likely to be affected by the sequential breakup of Pangaea. The modern fauna of Asian fishflies were probably derived from their Gondwanan ancestor but not the direct descendents of the Mesozoic genera in Asia.

  2. Early evolution and historical biogeography of fishflies (Megaloptera: Chauliodinae): implications from a phylogeny combining fossil and extant taxa. (United States)

    Liu, Xingyue; Wang, Yongjie; Shih, Chungkun; Ren, Dong; Yang, Ding


    Fishflies (Corydalidae: Chauliodinae) are one of the main groups of the basal holometabolous insect order Megaloptera, with ca. 130 species distributed worldwide. A number of genera from the Southern Hemisphere show remarkably disjunctive distributions and are considered to be the austral remnants or "living fossils" of Gondwana. Hitherto, the evolutionary history of fishflies remains largely unexplored due to limited fossil record and incomplete knowledge of phylogenetic relationships. Here we describe two significant fossil species of fishflies, namely Eochauliodes striolatus gen. et sp. nov. and Jurochauliodes ponomarenkoi Wang & Zhang, 2010 (original designation for fossil larvae only), from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossils represent the earliest fishfly adults. Furthermore, we reconstruct the first phylogenetic hypothesis including all fossil and extant genera worldwide. Three main clades within Chauliodinae are recognized, i.e. the Dysmicohermes clade, the Protochauliodes clade, and the Archichauliodes clade. The phylogenetic and dispersal-vicariance (DIVA) analyses suggest Pangaean origin and global distribution of fishflies before the Middle Jurassic. The generic diversification of fishflies might have happened before the initial split of Pangaea, while some Gondwanan-originated clades were likely to be affected by the sequential breakup of Pangaea. The modern fauna of Asian fishflies were probably derived from their Gondwanan ancestor but not the direct descendents of the Mesozoic genera in Asia.

  3. The GB/3D Type Fossils Online Web Portal (United States)

    McCormick, T.; Howe, M. P.


    fossils which can be used in education and public outreach. The audience for the web portal includes both professional paleontologists and the general public. The professional paleontologist can use the portal to discover the whereabouts of the type material for a taxon they are studying, and can use the pictures and 3d models to assess the completeness and preservation quality of the material. This may reduce or negate the need to send specimens (which are often fragile and always irreplaceable) to researchers through the post, or for researchers to make possibly long, expensive and environmentally damaging journeys to visit far-off collections. We hope that the pictures and 3d models will help to stimulate public interest in paleontology and natural history. The ability to digitally image and scan specimens in 3d enables institutions to have an archive record in case specimens are lost or destroyed by accident or warfare. Recent events in Cairo and Baghdad remind us that museum collections are vulnerable to civil and military strife.

  4. Supply of fossil heating and motor fuels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kaegi, W.; Siegrist, S.; Schaefli, M.; Eichenberger, U.


    This comprehensive study made for the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) within the framework of the Energy Economics Fundamentals research programme examines if it can be guaranteed that Swiss industry can be supplied with fossil fuels for heating and transport purposes over the next few decades. The results of a comprehensive survey of literature on the subject are presented, with a major focus being placed on oil. The study examines both pessimistic and optimistic views and also presents an overview of fossil energy carriers and the possibilities of substituting them. Scenarios and prognoses on the availability of fossil fuels and their reserves for the future are presented. Also, new technologies for exploration and the extraction of fossil fuels are discussed, as are international interdependencies that influence supply. Market and price scenarios are presented that take account of a possible increasing scarcity of fossil fuels. The implications for industry and investment planning are examined

  5. Influence of microbial biofilms on the preservation of primary soft tissue in fossil and extant archosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph E Peterson

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Mineralized and permineralized bone is the most common form of fossilization in the vertebrate record. Preservation of gross soft tissues is extremely rare, but recent studies have suggested that primary soft tissues and biomolecules are more commonly preserved within preserved bones than had been presumed. Some of these claims have been challenged, with presentation of evidence suggesting that some of the structures are microbial artifacts, not primary soft tissues. The identification of biomolecules in fossil vertebrate extracts from a specimen of Brachylophosaurus canadensis has shown the interpretation of preserved organic remains as microbial biofilm to be highly unlikely. These discussions also propose a variety of potential mechanisms that would permit the preservation of soft-tissues in vertebrate fossils over geologic time. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study experimentally examines the role of microbial biofilms in soft-tissue preservation in vertebrate fossils by quantitatively establishing the growth and morphology of biofilms on extant archosaur bone. These results are microscopically and morphologically compared with soft-tissue extracts from vertebrate fossils from the Hell Creek Formation of southeastern Montana (Latest Maastrichtian in order to investigate the potential role of microbial biofilms on the preservation of fossil bone and bound organic matter in a variety of taphonomic settings. Based on these analyses, we highlight a mechanism whereby this bound organic matter may be preserved. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Results of the study indicate that the crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic matter within vertebrate bone in early taphonomic stages may contribute to the preservation of primary soft tissues deeper in the bone structure.

  6. Management of fossil natural resources: the impossible challenge?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Loubens, Audrey


    A set of articles addresses various issues related to fossil energies and resources. A first set addresses the general context of fossil resources: the forced wedding between fossil energies and the environment (discussion of an annual report by the IEA on coal reserves), the availability of fossil fuels (discussion about the high share of fossil fuel in an always more renewable world). A second set addresses how to transform resources into reserves: discussion of the annual IEA report on conventional oil and gas reserves, on unconventional oil and gas reserves, and on coal reserves. The next set is a prospective one, and addresses the question of a scenario by 2040: the extremely high tension between fossil resources and geopolitical reality, and the question of the possibility of a world energy transition (discussions of the World Energy Outlook published by the IEA). Other issues are addressed by the last set of articles: the abundance of fossil energies obscures the potential of renewable energies, the evolution of the chemical industry towards alternative solutions in order to limit the use of hydrocarbons, and the territorial claims by Russia in the Arctic region

  7. Have historical climate changes affected Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua populations in Antarctica?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabiola Peña M

    Full Text Available The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP has been suffering an increase in its atmospheric temperature during the last 50 years, mainly associated with global warming. This increment of temperature trend associated with changes in sea-ice dynamics has an impact on organisms, affecting their phenology, physiology and distribution range. For instance, rapid demographic changes in Pygoscelis penguins have been reported over the last 50 years in WAP, resulting in population expansion of sub-Antarctic Gentoo penguin (P. papua and retreat of Antarctic Adelie penguin (P. adeliae. Current global warming has been mainly associated with human activities; however these climate trends are framed in a historical context of climate changes, particularly during the Pleistocene, characterized by an alternation between glacial and interglacial periods. During the last maximal glacial (LGM∼21,000 BP the ice sheet cover reached its maximum extension on the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP, causing local extinction of Antarctic taxa, migration to lower latitudes and/or survival in glacial refugia. We studied the HRVI of mtDNA and the nuclear intron βfibint7 of 150 individuals of the WAP to understand the demographic history and population structure of P. papua. We found high genetic diversity, reduced population genetic structure and a signature of population expansion estimated around 13,000 BP, much before the first paleocolony fossil records (∼1,100 BP. Our results suggest that the species may have survived in peri-Antarctic refugia such as South Georgia and North Sandwich islands and recolonized the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands after the ice sheet retreat.

  8. Have historical climate changes affected Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) populations in Antarctica? (United States)

    Peña M, Fabiola; Poulin, Elie; Dantas, Gisele P M; González-Acuña, Daniel; Petry, Maria Virginia; Vianna, Juliana A


    The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has been suffering an increase in its atmospheric temperature during the last 50 years, mainly associated with global warming. This increment of temperature trend associated with changes in sea-ice dynamics has an impact on organisms, affecting their phenology, physiology and distribution range. For instance, rapid demographic changes in Pygoscelis penguins have been reported over the last 50 years in WAP, resulting in population expansion of sub-Antarctic Gentoo penguin (P. papua) and retreat of Antarctic Adelie penguin (P. adeliae). Current global warming has been mainly associated with human activities; however these climate trends are framed in a historical context of climate changes, particularly during the Pleistocene, characterized by an alternation between glacial and interglacial periods. During the last maximal glacial (LGM∼21,000 BP) the ice sheet cover reached its maximum extension on the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), causing local extinction of Antarctic taxa, migration to lower latitudes and/or survival in glacial refugia. We studied the HRVI of mtDNA and the nuclear intron βfibint7 of 150 individuals of the WAP to understand the demographic history and population structure of P. papua. We found high genetic diversity, reduced population genetic structure and a signature of population expansion estimated around 13,000 BP, much before the first paleocolony fossil records (∼1,100 BP). Our results suggest that the species may have survived in peri-Antarctic refugia such as South Georgia and North Sandwich islands and recolonized the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands after the ice sheet retreat.

  9. Combining phylogenomics and fossils in higher-level squamate reptile phylogeny: molecular data change the placement of fossil taxa. (United States)

    Wiens, John J; Kuczynski, Caitlin A; Townsend, Ted; Reeder, Tod W; Mulcahy, Daniel G; Sites, Jack W


    Molecular data offer great potential to resolve the phylogeny of living taxa but can molecular data improve our understanding of relationships of fossil taxa? Simulations suggest that this is possible, but few empirical examples have demonstrated the ability of molecular data to change the placement of fossil taxa. We offer such an example here. We analyze the placement of snakes among squamate reptiles, combining published morphological data (363 characters) and new DNA sequence data (15,794 characters, 22 nuclear loci) for 45 living and 19 fossil taxa. We find several intriguing results. First, some fossil taxa undergo major changes in their phylogenetic position when molecular data are added. Second, most fossil taxa are placed with strong support in the expected clades by the combined data Bayesian analyses, despite each having >98% missing cells and despite recent suggestions that extensive missing data are problematic for Bayesian phylogenetics. Third, morphological data can change the placement of living taxa in combined analyses, even when there is an overwhelming majority of molecular characters. Finally, we find strong but apparently misleading signal in the morphological data, seemingly associated with a burrowing lifestyle in snakes, amphisbaenians, and dibamids. Overall, our results suggest promise for an integrated and comprehensive Tree of Life by combining molecular and morphological data for living and fossil taxa.

  10. Molecules, morphometrics and new fossils provide an integrated view of the evolutionary history of Rhinopomatidae (Mammalia: Chiroptera). (United States)

    Hulva, Pavel; Horácek, Ivan; Benda, Petr


    The Rhinopomatidae, traditionally considered to be one of the most ancient chiropteran clades, remains one of the least known groups of Rhinolophoidea. No relevant fossil record is available for this family. Whereas there have been extensive radiations in related families Rhinolophidae and Hipposideridae, there are only a few species in the Rhinopomatidae and their phylogenetic relationship and status are not fully understood. Here we present (a) a phylogenetic analysis based on a partial cytochrome b sequence, (b) new fossils from the Upper Miocene site Elaiochoria 2 (Chalkidiki, Greece), which represents the first appearance datum of the family based on the fossil record, and (c) discussion of the phylogeographic patterns in both molecular and morphological traits. We found deep divergences in the Rhinopoma hardwickii lineage, suggesting that the allopatric populations in (i) Iran and (ii) North Africa and the Middle East should have separate species status. The latter species (R. cystops) exhibits a shallow pattern of isolation by distance (separating the Middle East and the African populations) that contrasts with the pattern of geographic variation in the morphometrical traits. A deep genetic gap was also found in Rhinopoma muscatellum (Iran vs. Yemen). We found only minute genetic distance between R. microphyllum from the Levant and India, which fails to support the sub/species distinctness of the Indian form (R. microphyllum kinneari). The mtDNA survey provided phylogenetic tree of the family Rhinopomatidae for the first time and revealed an unexpected diversification of the group both within R. hardwickii and R. muscatellum morphospecies. The paleobiogeographic scenario compiled in respect to molecular clock data suggests that the family originated in the region south of the Eocene Western Tethyan seaway or in India, and extended its range during the Early Miocene. The fossil record suggests a Miocene spread into the Mediterranean region, followed by a post

  11. Molecules, morphometrics and new fossils provide an integrated view of the evolutionary history of Rhinopomatidae (Mammalia: Chiroptera

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benda Petr


    Full Text Available Abstract Background The Rhinopomatidae, traditionally considered to be one of the most ancient chiropteran clades, remains one of the least known groups of Rhinolophoidea. No relevant fossil record is available for this family. Whereas there have been extensive radiations in related families Rhinolophidae and Hipposideridae, there are only a few species in the Rhinopomatidae and their phylogenetic relationship and status are not fully understood. Results Here we present (a a phylogenetic analysis based on a partial cytochrome b sequence, (b new fossils from the Upper Miocene site Elaiochoria 2 (Chalkidiki, Greece, which represents the first appearance datum of the family based on the fossil record, and (c discussion of the phylogeographic patterns in both molecular and morphological traits. We found deep divergences in the Rhinopoma hardwickii lineage, suggesting that the allopatric populations in (i Iran and (ii North Africa and the Middle East should have separate species status. The latter species (R. cystops exhibits a shallow pattern of isolation by distance (separating the Middle East and the African populations that contrasts with the pattern of geographic variation in the morphometrical traits. A deep genetic gap was also found in Rhinopoma muscatellum (Iran vs. Yemen. We found only minute genetic distance between