Naturmuseum Sudtirol

Bolzano, Italy

Naturmuseum Sudtirol

Bolzano, Italy
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Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum SUdtirol | Heunisch C.,Landesamt fur Bergbau | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,National Center for Biodiversity Naturalis
Palaios | Year: 2012

Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions at Thale during the late Ladinian (Middle Triassic) are assessed using both the plant megaflora and palynoflora. These two datasets are necessary because these two different types of assemblages were subjected to different taphonomic biases and together provide a more complete appraisal of Triassic conditions in the study area. The megafossil remains represent a (par)autochthonous flora with large, well-preserved leaf and shoot fragments that indicate relatively limited transport. Most fragments probably belonged to plants growing on river banks. The composition of the rich and diversified megaflora indicates lush vegetation typical of an environment without water stress and probably a high water table. On the other hand, quantitative analyses of the palynological data using different methods (morphogroups and Sporomorph EcoGroup or SEG) show a strong dominance of bisaccate pollen. River or wetland plants are well represented by trilete, laevigate spores and multicellular algae. Since the spores were normally water transported along with the sediment and the pollen grains were wind transported over long distances, but also by water, there are two possible interpretations: (1) the local flora was dominated by ferns within a larger, conifer-dominated, and possibly forested area; (2) time related, the megaflora shows a short-term signal that corresponds to a humid spell during the generally more arid period of Middle and Late Triassic, while the palynoflora shows a longer-term, regional signal. © 2012 SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

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 | Year: 2011

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.

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 | Year: 2011

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.

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 | Year: 2012

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.

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Falcon-Lang H.,Royal Holloway, University of London | Lukeneder A.,Natural History Museum
Cretaceous Research | Year: 2013

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.

Bauer K.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Krings M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Bulletin of Geosciences | Year: 2013

Ginkgophyte foliage fossils (impressions and compressions lacking cuticle) from several of the historical Kupferschiefer localities in Germany have been re-studied using macromorphometry. Baiera digitata is by far the most common ginkgophyte in the Kupferschiefer, while other taxa are relatively rare.Anew taxon, for which the name Baiera mansfeldensis is proposed, differs from B. digitata in having a much thinner, curved petiole and a curved lamina, as well as a narrow basal angle. Esterella gracilis, a taxon previously known exclusively from France, is reported for the first time from Germany. The foliage genera Baiera and Sphenobaiera have a complicated taxonomic history, and the problematic contiguity that exists between the two taxa has lead to considerable confusion. It appears that the radiation of the ginkgophytes started well before the end-Permian mass-extinction, and that Permian ginkgophytes were more diverse than previously believed.

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Wachtler M.,P. P. Rainerstrasse 11 | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.,Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis
Palaeontology | Year: 2010

Generally, lycophytes are not well represented in Anisian floras. Nonetheless, four different genera, each with one species, have been distinguished in the Anisian flora from Kühwiesenkopf (Monte Prà della Vacca), Italy. They were well preserved and yielded leaf cuticles in all four taxa and in situ spores in two of them. Lycopia dezanchei gen. et sp. nov. is the most common form; it is characterized by a dichotomising creeping prostrate rhizome (representing the primary shoot axis) from which arise aerial axes, apically bifurcated and covered with bundles of long leaves. This taxon cannot be attributed to any of the lycophyte orders, but most resembles Lycopodiales. Two representatives of the Isoetales have been found, of which Isoetites brandneri sp. nov. is abundant. This species is characterized by a short stem, which is unusual for this genus. In situ immature microspores and megaspores were found in some specimens. Lepacyclotes bechstaedtii sp. nov. has a quadrilobe corm with fertile scales inserted in whorls or slightly helicoidally. Short sterile leaves arise distally from the corm in some specimens. Selaginellales are very rare in the flora; Selaginellites leonardii sp. nov. is represented by a strobilus that yielded both micro- and megaspores. Some sterile fragments have been found associated, but never in organic connection. © The Palaeontological Association.

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.

Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert J.H.A.,National Center for Biodiversity Naturalis
Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen | Year: 2010

This is the second paper on the Middle Triassic flora from Thale, dealing with the seed ferns and cycadophytes. Scytophyllum bergeri BORNEMANN is one of the common elements in the flora, in contrast to Sagenopteris sp. which is rare in the assemblage. However, it is the first evidence of Sagenopteris for the German Basin. The specimen described as ?Peltaspermum sp. is the only peltasperm ovuliferous organ known to date with attached ovule-bearing discs from the Middle Triassic of Europe. The cycad Apoldia tener (COMPTER 1883) ZIJLSTRA et al. 2009 (formerly Sphenozamites tener COMPTER) is by far the most common fossil plant in the assemblage. Nilssonia cf. neuberi STUR ex POTT et al. is relatively rare. The genus Bjuvia is emended to accommodate more species of large entire leaves characterised by amphistomy and cycadalean stomatal morphology. This includes Bjuvia thalensis n. sp., which is a common element in the Thale flora but is unknown from elsewhere. Narrow, long entire leaves from the Middle and Upper Triassic of Europe have been described under the name Taeniopteris angustifolia SCHENK, but have now been transferred to Taeniopteris kelberi n. sp. for nomenclatorial reasons. The macrosporophyll Dioonitocarpidium pennaeformis (SCHENK) RÜHLE VON LILIENSTERN also occurs in the Thale flora. Two cycadalean leaf species (Apoldia tener and Bjuvia thalensis) from Thale flora sometimes have stomata with only two subsidiary cells instead of the usual 4-6, a feature that in gymnosperms occurs mainly in the Bennettitales. ©2010 Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.

Preto N.,University of Padua | Preto N.,University of Bremen | Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Wignall P.B.,University of Leeds
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

The climate of the Triassic period was characterized by a non-zonal pattern, dictated by a strong global monsoon system with effects that are most evident in the Tethys realm. This strong monsoonal regime is related to the aggregation of the Pangaean supercontinent, which by Triassic time was already completed. Climate oscillations existed within this framework. The harsh hot-house climatic conditions that characterized the Late Permian, and perhaps precipitated the end-Permian mass extinction, were probably maintained during the Early Triassic and may account for the impoverished, but distinctive, faunal and floral Lower Triassic associations. Although metazoan reef builders were probably the most affected group, carbonate production remained high at least in the western Tethys realm. The Middle Triassic was characterized locally by humid episodes, although their geographical distribution has yet to be clarified. The Carnian Pluvial Event, marks an episode of increased rainfall documented worldwide, was the most distinctive climate change within the Triassic. Different hypotheses have been proposed for its causes: changes of atmospheric or ocean circulation driven by plate tectonics; a peak of the global monsoon due to maximum continent aggregation; or triggering by the eruption of a large igneous province. Subsequently, the late Carnian and Norian seem to have been climatically stable, although minor climatic changes have recently been described even from this time period. Finally, the end-Triassic extinction event is also associated with climate change, specifically warming and increased rainfall, but this evidence comes mostly from the northern parts of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, and the global pattern of climate change at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary has still to be resolved. Many facets of Triassic climate are intriguing and deserve further research. However, palaeoclimate studies on the Triassic have so far been carried out only locally with different proxies. Those proxies will require inter-calibration, in order to depict correctly the temporal and geographical patterns of Triassic climate. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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