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Bolzano, Italy

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Pott C.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | van Konijnenburg-van Cittert J.H.A.,National Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | van Konijnenburg-van Cittert J.H.A.,Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology

Several European species of the Triassic fern genus Symopteris Xu are studied and the genus is subsequently subject to revision. Moreover, the botanical affinity of the genus is discussed and its relation to the Marattiales debated. Symopteris fronds have a typical fasciculate venation, usually a crenulate pinnule margin and contracted pinnule bases; in addition, the margin of the fertile pinnules is recurved to supposedly protect the sporangia. Most of the fossils have originally been attributed to the genus Bernoullia Heer, a junior synonym of Bernoullia Oliver (extant Bombacaceae). So far, eight species could be identified, three from Europe [. Symopteris helvetica (Heer) Xu in Xu et al., Symopteris lunzensis (Stur ex Krasser) Xu in Xu et al., Symopteris rumpfii (Schenk) nov.comb.], one from Kazakhstan (Symopteris aktjubensis Brik) and four from East Asia [. Symopteris zeilleri (P'an) Xu in Xu et al., Symopteris pecopteroides (Feng et al.) nov. comb., Symopteris densinervis Xu et Duan in Xu et al., Symopteris pseudolobifolia (Yang in Chen et al.) nov. comb.]. One additional species assigned earlier to Bernoullia (i.e. Bernoullia waehneri Stur) has to be attributed to another genus. The oldest known representatives of Symopteris occurred in the Ladinian of Europe; during the Upper Triassic, the genus increased in species number in Europe and Asia, while the latest occurrence is in the Rhaetian of Vietnam. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,National Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,Netherlands and Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology
Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen

This is the third modern day paper on the Middle Triassic flora from Thale to be published, dealing with the ferns. Two species belong to the genus Asterotheca; Asterotheca merianii (BRONGNIART) STUR is one of the most common elements in the flora, while Asterotheca thalensis n. sp. is rarer in the assemblage. Both species yielded in situ round, pseudomonolete granulate spores. Danaeopsis marantacea (PRESL in STERNBERG) SCHIMPER is the most common fern in the Thale flora; for the first time in situ spores from this species are described. Rhacophyllum crispatum (MÜNSTER in STERNBERG) n. comb, might be the aphleboid structure belonging to Danaeopsis marantacea. Todites gaillardotii (BRONGNIART) n. comb, is here described for the first time from the Erfurt Rormation (Ladinian) of Germany. Moreover, its in situ spores are documented as well. Neuropteridium grandifolium (SCHIMPER et MOUGEOT) COMPTER is just a rare element in this flora. Clathropteris meniscioides BRONGNIART and Phlebopteris sp. from Thale are earliest representatives of these genera known so far; all three species are represented only by sterile frond fragments. Cladophlebis remota (PRESL) VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT et al. is relatively rare, while Cladophlebis leuthardtii LEONARDI is very rare in this flora; fertile frond fragments are still missing for both species. Ror the first time Sphenopteris schoenleiniana (BRONGNIART) PRESL in STERNBERG is represented by sterile and fertile material in the Germanic Basin. Sphenopteris vel Cladophlebis sp. A might be shade leaves of Sphenopteris schoenleiniana. Chiropteris lacerata (QUENSTEDT) RÜHLE VON LILIENSTERN is a very rare element in this flora and only represented by sterile frond fragments, in contrast to Symopteris rumpfii (SCHENK) KUSTATSCHER et al. The latter yielded in situ spores (round, trilete, smooth). ©2011 E. Schwelzerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany. Source

Schweiger O.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Heikkinen R.K.,Finnish Environment Institute | Harpke A.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Hickler T.,Unit of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis | And 7 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography

Aim We investigate the importance of interacting species for current and potential future species distributions, the influence of their ecological characteristics on projected range shifts when considering or ignoring interacting species, and the consistency of observed relationships across different global change scenarios. Location Europe. Methods We developed ecological niche models (generalized linear models) for 36 European butterfly species and their larval host plants based on climate and land-use data. We projected future distributional changes using three integrated global change scenarios for 2080. Observed and projected mismatches in potential butterfly niche space and the niche space of their hosts were first used to assess changing range limitations due to interacting species and then to investigate the importance of different ecological characteristics. Results Most butterfly species were primarily limited by climate. Species dwelling in warm areas of Europe and tolerant to large variations in moisture conditions were projected to suffer less from global change. However, a gradient from climate to host plant control was apparent, reflecting the range size of the hosts. Future projections indicated increased mismatching of already host-plant-limited butterflies and their hosts. Butterflies that utilize plants with restricted ranges were projected to suffer most from global change. The directions of these relationships were consistent across the scenarios but the level of spatial mismatching of butterflies and their host plants increased with the severity of the scenario. Main conclusions Future changes in the co-occurrence of interacting species will depend on political and socio-economic development, suggesting that the composition of novel communities due to global change will depend on the way we create our future. A better knowledge of ecological species characteristics can be utilized to project the future fate and potential risk of extinction of interacting species leading to a better understanding of the consequences of changing biotic interactions. This will further enhance our abilities to assess and mitigate potential negative effects on ecosystem functions and services. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Falcon-Lang H.,Royal Holloway, University of London | Lukeneder A.,Natural History Museum
Cretaceous Research

We describe a calcareously permineralised fossil tree-trunk, preserved as driftwood, within hemipelagic sediments of the Cretaceous Puez Formation near Wolkenstein, South Tyrol, Italy. Planktic foraminiferal assemblages recovered from the marls containing the fossil wood indicate a latest middle Albian age. Based on its wood anatomy, the trunk is assigned to Agathoxylon and probably has an affinity with the conifer family Araucariaceae. The wood lacks pronounced tree-rings consistent with tree growth within the broad humid tropical belt that existed at that time. The trunk contains cylindrical chambers filled within faecal pellets, demonstrating that oribatid mites infested the tree, either during life, or shortly after death. Prior to final burial, the tree-trunk drifted out into the open sea for a considerable period as indicated by extensive borings assigned to the ichnospecies Teredolites longissimus and produced by teredinid bivalves. Relatively little is known about the Cretaceous floras of Italy, so this new finding fills a gap in our knowledge of the composition and ecology of the vegetation of this region. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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

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. Source

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