Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale

Lugano, Switzerland

Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale

Lugano, Switzerland
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Zulliger L.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Garassino A.,Natural History Museum
Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen | Year: 2016

We report some decapod crustaceans from the Pliocene of Castel di Sotto (Novazzano, Canton Ticino, Switzerland). The specimens are assigned to Ctenocheles sp. (Ctenochelidae Manning & Felder, 1991), Retropluma sp. (Retroplumidae Gill, 1894), and Goneplax sp. (Goneplacidae MacLeay, 1838). Ctenocheles sp. represents the first report for the genus in the Pliocene of the Mediterranean basin, whereas the presence of Goneplax sp. and Retropluma sp. enlarges the geographic distribution of these genera to the northernmost border of the Padanian Gulf of the Pliocene palaeo-Adriatic Sea. Moreover Goneplax and Retropluma are reported for the first time from the Switzerland fossil record. A single loose right chela has been assigned to an indeterminate?Cancridae, representing the first report of this family in the Switzerland fossil decapod record. © 2016 E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.

Denoel M.,University of Liège | Zambelli N.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale
Current Zoology | Year: 2016

Fish introduction is one of the main causes of amphibian decline worldwide. It affects particularly rare aquatic phenotypes such as paedomorphs, which retain gills during the adult stage. In this context, we determined whether small wetlands, such as pools surrounding fished and fishless lakes, could sustain paedomorphic and metamorphic newts. To this end, we surveyed lakes known historically to sustain Alpine newts Ichthyosaura alpestris as well as 35 nearby pools. On the basis of the published records, the only known population exhibiting paedomorphosis in the Swiss Alps was found to be extirpated by salmonid introductions. However, the metamorphs persisted in peripheral pools, paedomorphosis was discovered at a new locality, and overwintering larvae were still present in one of the lakes. These results show the importance of conserving varied aquatic habitats such as pools in mountainous environments where the main resources can become unsuitable for amphibians because of fish introductions. Pools may also function as reservoirs in maintaining newt populations until programs to remove fish from lakes can be carried out. It is not known if paedomorphs could reappear after fish removal. However, the combined resilience of amphibians after fish removal and the genetic basis for paedomorphosis highlighted in other taxa by previous studies suggest that there is the potential to maintain this intraspecific case of diversity even after its disappearance. © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press.

Stockar R.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Stockar R.,University of Lausanne | Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol
Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia | Year: 2010

A newly opened excavation in the Cassina beds of the Lower Meride Limestone (Monte San Giorgio UNESCO WHL, Canton Ticino, Southern Alps) has yielded a small collection of Ladinian plant fossils, together with vertebrate (mostly fish) and invertebrate remains. The flora contains at least five species; conifer remains assignable to the genera Elatocladus, Voltzia and ?Pelourdea are the most common elements. A new species, Elatocladus cassinae n. sp., is formally described. Co-occurring with the conifers are seed ferns (Ptilozamites) and a few putative cycadalean remains (?Taeniopteris). Among the identified genera, only Voltzia has previously been reported from Monte San Giorgio. The fossils presented in this paper indicate that a diversified flora thrived in the region during the Ladinian. Floral composition and preservation patterns are suggestive of a taphonomically-biased record and a relatively far-away source area.

Stockar R.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Stockar R.,University of Lausanne | Renesto S.,University of Insubria
Swiss Journal of Geosciences | Year: 2011

A newly opened excavation in the Cassina beds of the Lower Meride Limestone (Monte San Giorgio UNESCO World Heritage List, Canton Ticino, Switzerland), has yielded a pachypleurosaurid (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) specimen which is identified as Neusticosaurus peyeri. The resulting co-occurrence of N. peyeri and N. edwardsii, the latter so far regarded as the sole species of the genus present in this horizon, challenges the hypothesis of a single anagenetic lineage in Neusticosaurus species from Monte San Giorgio. In addition, it leads to a reconsideration of the phylogenetic inferences about Neusticosaurus evolution in the Monte San Giorgio area. The stratigraphic distribution of the Neusticosaurus species in the Monte San Giorgio basin is updated on the basis of recent finds. © 2011 Swiss Geological Society.

Zwingmann H.,CSIRO | Zwingmann H.,University of Western Australia | Mancktelow N.,ETH Zurich | Antognini M.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Lucchini R., SA
Geology | Year: 2010

Methods for dating shallow faults in the Earth's crust are still evolving and their reliability remains controversial. Based on results from well-preserved fault gouge samples from the AlpTransit deep tunnel site in Switzerland, we propose a simplified and readily applicable approach to investigate and date clay-rich gouge zones. We collected 10 samples covering a north-south section of 15 km. All sampled faults are developed in orthogneiss host rock, have a rather consistent approximately northwest-southeast strike, are mainly normal, and are related to northeast-southwest orogen-parallel extension during Alpine exhumation. Fine-grained clay separates from the fault gouges consist of illite 1M/1Md and 2M1 polytypes, smectite and chlorite, with minor amounts of feldspar in some sample fractions. The K-Ar ages for <2 μm illite fractions range between 7.1 and 9.5 Ma (mean 8.5 ± 1.4 [2σ] Ma) and for <0.1 μm range between 3.9 and 7.2 Ma (mean 6.0 ± 2.1 [2σ] Ma); ages consistently decrease with grain size. These ages are close to published apatite fission track ages of ca. 6 Ma from the immediate vicinity, consistent with illite stability in fault gouges generally occurring at temperatures slightly above the partial annealing zone of apatite. The influence on authigenic illite gouge ages of potential contamination by fine-grained cataclastic protolith was evaluated by dating coarse K-feldspar fractions from host-rock clasts in two samples. The K-feldspar ages are significantly older, ca. 13.5 Ma. However, measured illite K-Ar ages are quite constant and do not correlate with amount of K-feldspar impurity, which suggests that fine-grained cataclastic feldspar grains have isotopically reequilibrated, presumably due to fluid-rock interaction within the fault zone. © 2010 Geological Society of America.

Lopez-Arbarello A.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Stockar R.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Burgin T.,Naturmuseum
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The lagerstätten in the Monte San Giorgio have provided excellent fossils representing one of the most important windows to the marine life during the Triassic. Among these fossils, fishes are abundant and extraordinarily well preserved. Most of these fishes represent extinct lineages and were difficult to understand and classify during the early years after discovery. These difficulties usually led to a mixture of species under the same taxonomic name. This is the case of fishes referred to the genus Archaeosemionotus. The name bearing type of A. connectens, the type species of this genus, represents a basal halecomorph, but most other fishes referred to this genus represent basal ginglymodians. Therefore, we conducted this study to clarify the taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships of A. connectens, which is a member of the family Furidae (Halecomorphi, Ionoscopiformes) representing the second cladistically supported evidence of ionoscopiforms in the Triassic and it is thus one of the two oldest reliable records of this group. Ionoscopiforms have a long stratigraphic range, though their fossil record is rather patchy. In our analysis, the sister taxon of Archaeosemionotus is Robustichthys from the Anisian of China, and they together form a clade with Furo, which is known from several localities ranging from the Early to the Late Jurassic. Other ionoscopiforms are so far known from the Kimmeridgian to the Albian and it is thus evident that recent efforts have concentrated on the later history of the group (Late Jurassic to Cretaceous). The phylogenetic relationships obtained for the Ionoscopiformes do not show a clear palaeobiogeographic pattern, but give important new insights into the origin, divergence date and early history of this clade. © 2014 López-Arbarello et al.

Trivellone V.,Research Center Cadenazzo | Trivellone V.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Paltrinieri L.P.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Jermini M.,Research Center Cadenazzo | Moretti M.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest
Insect Conservation and Diversity | Year: 2012

1. The effects of the current changes in traditional agricultural practices in the Alps on the biodiversity affecting ecosystem functions and services are little known. Vineyards are among the oldest anthropogenic environments of high cultural and natural value that shape the landscape of large areas in Central and Southern Europe. In several mountain regions of the Alps, vineyards are a valid alternative to the landscape homogenisation that has followed post-cultural land abandonment and agriculture intensification. Key unanswered questions remain regarding the relative contribution of several factors that influence biodiversity, and the level in management pressure with regard to taxonomic and functional diversity enhancement. 2. To answer these questions, we sampled leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) as a model taxon using different standard techniques along 24 vine transects within 8 vineyard complexes in Southern Switzerland. Each transect included one vine row, vine canopy, its interrow and the adjacent slope; the latter two were permanently grass-covered. Data were analysed using a four-step approach. 3. Environment (five variables) and Management (four variables) accounted for most of the variance in the leafhopper assemblage. Pesticide use (insecticide and herbicide) and slope mowing are the most important management predictors of leafhopper species composition. 4. With increasing management pressure (i.e. pesticide and mowing), the number of indicator species and particularly the specialists (i.e. stenotopic and oligotopic species) decreases dramatically. 5. To promote taxonomic and functional complexity of communities in vineyard systems, we suggest low management pressure with moderate use of pesticide and a low intensity regime of slope mowing. © 2011 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity © 2011 The Royal Entomological Society.

Wilson L.A.B.,University of Zürich | Furrer H.,University of Zürich | Stockar R.,Museo cantonale di storia naturale | Sanchez-Villagra M.R.,University of Zürich
Palaeontology | Year: 2013

Despite an impressive radiation of more than 30 species in the wake of the end-Permian mass extinction, the taxonomic study of Saurichthys has suffered from a lack of universally diagnostic features and a lack of tested quantitative schemes that can be applied to analyse interspecific morphological differences. In this study, we provide an initial quantitative framework for morphological evolution in Saurichthys by focusing on a single bone, the opercle and exploring patterns of interspecific variability in shape using outline-based geometric morphometrics and linear measurements. For the six species examined, comprising 155 specimens and representatives from the Early, Middle and Late Triassic, our results indicate that interspecific shape differences largely reflect an anterior-posterior dimension decrease (= craniocaudal direction) as the dorso-ventral dimension remains similar. In contrast, intraspecific variability in shape is subtle and spread across the outline of the bone, such that counter-acting dimension differences (increase/decrease) were found to occur along a single margin at oblique axes in several species. Our quantitative scheme, which is widely applicable to other groups, provides a useful description of the broad modes of opercle shape change that may help as a starting framework from which to develop character states for opercle morphology in future study. © The Palaeontological Association.

Giavi S.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Moretti M.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Bontadina F.,Urban Ecology and Wildlife Research | Bontadina F.,ETH Zurich | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Migration is adaptive if survival benefits are larger than costs of residency. Many aspects of bat migration ecology such as migratory costs, stopover site use and fidelity are largely unknown. Since many migrating bats are endangered, such information is urgently needed to promote conservation. We selected the migrating Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri) as model species and collected capture-recapture data in southern Switzerland year round during 6 years. We estimated seasonal survival and site fidelity with Cormack-Jolly-Seber models that accounted for the presence of transients fitted with Bayesian methods and assessed differences between sexes and seasons. Activity peaked in autumn and spring, whereas very few individuals were caught during summer. We hypothesize that the study site is a migratory stopover site used during fall and spring migration for most individuals, but there is also evidence for wintering. Additionally, we found strong clues for mating during fall. Summer survival that included two major migratory journeys was identical to winter survival in males and slightly higher in females, suggesting that the migratory journeys did not bear significant costs in terms of survival. Transience probability was in both seasons higher in males than in females. Our results suggest that, similarly to birds, Leisler's bat also use stopover sites during migration with high site fidelity. In contrast to most birds, the stopover site was also used for mating and migratory costs in terms of survival seemed to be low. Transients' analyses highlighted strong individual variation in site use which makes particularly challenging the study and modelling of their populations as well as their conservation. © 2014 Giavi et al.

Stockar R.,Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale | Stockar R.,University of Lausanne
Swiss Journal of Geosciences | Year: 2010

The Ladinian Cassina beds belong to the fossiliferous levels of the world-famous Middle Triassic Monte San Giorgio Lagerstätte (UNESCO World Heritage List, Canton Ticino, Southern Alps). Although they are a rich archive for the depositional environment of an important thanatocoenosis, previous excavations focused on vertebrates and particularly on marine reptiles. In 2006, the Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale (Lugano) started a new research project focusing for the first time on microfacies, micropalaeontological, palaeoecological and taphonomic analyses. So far, the upper third of the sequence has been excavated on a surface of around 40 m2, and these new data complete those derived from new vertebrate finds (mainly fishes belonging to Saurichthys, Archaeosemionotus, Eosemionotus and Peltopleurus), allowing a better characterization of the basin. Background sedimentation on an anoxic to episodically suboxic seafloor resulted in a finely laminated succession of black shales and limestones, bearing a quasi-anaerobic biofacies, which is characterized by a monotypic benthic foraminiferal meiofauna and has been documented for the first time from the whole Monte San Giorgio sequence. Event deposition, testified by turbidites and volcaniclastic layers, is related to sediment input from basin margins and to distant volcanic eruptions, respectively. Fossil nekton points to an environment with only limited connection to the open sea. Terrestrial macroflora remains document the presence of emerged areas covered with vegetation and probably located relatively far away. Proliferation of benthic microbial mats is inferred on the basis of microfabrics, ecological considerations and taphonomic (both biostratinomic and diagenetic) features of the new vertebrate finds, whose excellent preservation is ascribed to sealing by biofilms. The occurrence of allochthonous elements allows an insight into the shallow-waters of the adjoining time-equivalent Salvatore platform. Finally, the available biostratigraphic data are critically reviewed. © 2010 Swiss Geological Society.

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