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Li Z.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Ding B.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Han J.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Kays R.,New York State Museum
Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment | Year: 2010

Recent improvements in positioning technology make massive moving object data widely available. One important analysis is to find the moving objects that travel together. Existing methods put a strong constraint in defining moving object cluster, that they require the moving objects to stick together for consecutive timestamps. Our key observation is that the moving objects in a cluster may actually diverge temporarily and congregate at certain timestamps. Motivated by this, we propose the concept of swarm which captures themoving objects that move within arbitrary shape of clusters for certain timestamps that are possibly nonconsecutive. The goal of our paper is to find all discriminative swarms, namely closed swarm. While the search space for closed swarms is prohibitively huge, we design a method, ObjectGrowth, to efficiently retrieve the answer. In ObjectGrowth, two effective pruning strategies are proposed to greatly reduce the search space and a novel closure checking rule is developed to report closed swarms on-thefly. Empirical studies on the real data as well as large synthetic data demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our methods. © 2010 VLDB Endowment.

Landing E.,New York State Museum | English A.,Chevron | Keppie J.D.,University National Automona Of Mexico
Geology | Year: 2010

Exquisite Pywackia baileyi Landing n. gen. and sp. specimens from the lower Tiñu Formation, southern Mexico, extend the bryozoan record into the Upper Cambrian. They are ~8 m.y. older than the purported oldest bryozoans from South China, and show that all skeletalized metazoan phyla appeared in the Cambrian. The new form differs from similar, twig-like cryptostomes by its shallow autozooecia and an elongate axial zooid, which may be homologous to the stolon in nonmineralized ctenostomes. It may morphologically resemble mineralized stem group bryozoans that retained a stolon-like individual, although an ability to bud was acquired by the feeding individuals (autozooids). The latest Cambrian origin of bryozoans, several mollusk classes (polyplacophorans, cephalopods), and euconodonts was a major evolutionary development and can be considered the onset of the Ordovician radiation of more complex marine communities. © 2010 Geological Society of America.

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 306.01K | Year: 2012

The co-evolution and geographical spread of trees and deep-rooting systems is widely proposed to represent the Devonian engine of global change that drove the weathering of soil minerals and biogeochemical cycling of elements to exert a major influence on the Earths atmospheric CO2 history. If correct, this paradigm suggests the evolutionary appearance of forested ecosystems through the Devonian (418-360 Myr ago) constitutes the single most important biotic feedback on the geochemical carbon cycle to emerge during the entire 540 Myr duration of the Phanaerozoic. Crucially, no link has yet been established between the evolutionary advance of trees and their geochemical impacts on palaeosols. Direct evidence that one has affected the other is still awaited, largely because of the lack of cross-disciplinary investigations to date. Our proposal addresses this high level earth system science challenge. The overarching objective is to provide a mechanistic understanding of how the evolutionary rise of deep-rotting forests intensified weathering and pedogenesis that constitute the primary biotic feedbacks on the long-term C-cycle. Our central hypothesis is that the evolutionary advance of trees left geochemical effects detectable in palaeosols as forested ecosystems increased the quantity and depth of chemical energy transported into the soil through roots, mycorrhizal fungi and litter. This intensified soil acidification, increased the strength of isotopic and elemental enrichment in surface soil horizons, enhanced the weathering of Ca-Si and Ca-P minerals, and the formation of pedogenic clays, leading to long-term sequestration of atmospheric CO2 through the formation of marine carbonates with the liberated terrestrial Ca. We will investigate this research hypothesis by obtaining and analysing well-preserved palaeosol profiles from a time sequence of localities in the eastern North America through the critical Silurian-Devonian interval that represents Earths transition to a forested planet. These palaeosol sequences will then be subjected to targeted geochemical, clay mineralogical and palaeontological analyses. This will allow, for the first time, the rooting structures of mixed and monospecific Mid-Devonian forests to be directly linked to palaeosol weathering profiles obtained by drilling replicate unweathered profiles. Weathering by these forests will be compared with the control case - weathering by pre-forest, early vascular land plants with diminutive/shallow rooting systems from Silurian and lower Devonian localities. These sites afford us the previously unexploited ability to characterize the evolution of plant-root-soil relationships during the critical Silurian-Devonian interval, whilst at the same time controlling for the effects of palaeogeography and provenance on palaeosol development. Applying geochemical analyses targeted at elements and isotopes that are strongly concentrated by trees at the surface of contemporary soils, and which show major changes in abundance through mineral weathering under forests, provides a powerful new strategy to resolve and reconstruct the intensity and depth of weathering and pedogenesis at different stages in the evolution of forested ecosystems. The project is tightly focused on improving current knowledge of the interaction between the evolution of life and the Earth, which represents one of the three high level challenges within NERCs Earth System Science Theme.

Landing E.,New York State Museum | MacGabhann B.A.,National University of Ireland
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

The first evidence for Cambrian glaciation is provided by two successions on the Avalon microcontinent. The middle lowest Cambrian (middle Terreneuvian Series and Fortunian Stage-Stage 2 boundary interval) has an incised sequence boundary overlain by a fluvial lowstand facies and higher, olive green, marine mudstone on Hanford Brook, southern New Brunswick. This succession in the lower Mystery Lake Member of the Chapel Island Formation may be related to melting of an ice sheet in Avalon. The evidence for this interpretation is a muddy diamictite with outsized (up to 10 cm in diameter), Proterozoic marble and basalt clasts that penetrated overlying laminae in the marine mudstone. That eustatic rise was associated with the mudstone deposition is suggested by an approximately coeval rise that deposited sediments with Watsonella crosbyi Zone fossils 650 km away in Avalonian eastern Newfoundland. A sea-level rise within the Watsonella crosbyi Chron, at ca. 535 Ma, may correspond to a unnamed negative 13C excursion younger than the basal Cambrian excursion (BACE) and the ZHUCE excursion in Stage 2 of the upper Terreneuvian Series. Cambrian dropstones are now also recognized on the northern (Gander) margin of Avalon in continental slope-rise sedimentary rocks in southeast Ireland. Although their age (Early-Middle Cambrian) is poorly constrained, dropstones in the Booley Bay Formation provide additional evidence for Cambrian glaciation on the Avalon microcontinent. Besides providing the first evidence of Cambrian glaciation, these dropstone deposits emphasize that Avalon was not part of or even latitudinally close to the terminal Ediacaran-Cambrian, tropical carbonate platform successions of West Gondwana. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Kroger B.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Landing E.,New York State Museum
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

The Beekmantown Group records the important early interval of the Ordovician Radiation. This Upper Cambrian-Middle Ordovician, carbonate-dominated, tropical succession was deposited near the eastern passive margin of the Laurentian platform. This depositional setting remained remarkably stable although the craton was flooded repeatedly with eustatic rises and unconformity-bound, macroscale sedimentary cycles were deposited as successive geological formations. The individual depositional cycles (i.e., formations) show a nearly identical vertical succession with a type 1 sequence boundary, a basal conglomerate, transgressive sandstones, locally a subtidal shale-dominated unit that marks the deepest facies, and a highstand carbonate facies with thrombolite buildups in its middle part. The thrombolitic buildups of each depositional cycle contain a mollusc-dominated macrofauna that changed remarkably from cycle to cycle. In the limestones of the Upper Cambrian Ritchie and Rathbunville School members, the macrofauna is very rare and of low diversity. By comparison, the absolute abundance of macrofossils is high throughout the Lower Ordovician thrombolitic limestones. The genus-level diversity of brachiopods, trilobites, gastropods, and cephalopods increased moderately during the three Lower Ordovician depositional sequences. Dramatic changes in cephalopod disparity, body size, and biomass indicate significant paleoecological changes at the top of the ecosystem food chains, and are an indication of community evolution and intrinsic evolutionary processes. Increased coiling and ornamentation in cephalopods and an increasing number of large gastropod genera with thick shells indicate an escalation among predators. We interpret these changes as evidence for a rise in competition within ecological guilds by a continuing increase in internal differentiation of the food web. Increased organismal interaction and the differentiation of the food web (i.e., community evolution) are regarded as a major driving mechanism early in the Ordovician Radiation. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.

Landing E.,New York State Museum | Geyer G.,University of Würzburg | Geyer G.,Uppsala University | Brasier M.D.,University of Oxford | Bowring S.A.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2013

Use of the first appearance datum (FAD) of a fossil to define a global chronostratigraphic unit's base can lead to intractable correlation and stability problems. FADs are diachronous-they reflect species' evolutionary history, dispersal, biofacies, preservation, collection, and taxonomy. The Cambrian Evolutionary Radiation is characterised by diachronous FADs, biofacies controls, and provincialism of taxa and ecological communities that confound a stable Lower Cambrian chronostratigraphy. Cambrian series and stage definitions require greater attention to assemblage zone successions and non-biostratigraphic, particularly carbon isotope, correlation techniques such as those that define the Ediacaran System base. A redefined, basal Cambrian Trichophycus pedum Assemblage Zone lies above the highest Ediacaran-type biotas (vendobionts, putative metazoans, and calcareous problematica such as Cloudina) and the basal Asteridium tornatum-Comasphaeridium velvetum Zone (acritarchs). This definition and the likely close correspondence of evolutionary origin and local FAD of T. pedum preserves the Fortune Head, Newfoundland, GSSP of the Cambrian base and allows the presence of sub-Cambrian, branched ichnofossils. The sub-Tommotian-equivalent base of Stage 2 (a suggested "Laolinian Stage") should be defined by the I'/L4/ZHUCE δ13C positive peak, bracketed by the lower ranges of Watsonella crosbyi and Aldanella attleborensis (molluscs) and the Skiagia ornata-Fimbrioglomerella membranacea Zone (acritarchs). The W. crosbyi and A. attleborensis FADs cannot define a Stage 2 base as they are diachronous even in the Newfoundland "type" W. crosbyi Zone. The Series 2 base cannot be based on a species' FAD owing to the provincialism of skeletalised metazoans in the Terreneuvian-Series 2 boundary interval and global heterochrony of the oldest trilobites. A Series 2 and Stage 3 (a suggested "Lenaldanian Series" and "Zhurinskyan Stage," new) GSSP base is proposed at the Siberian lower Atdabanian δ13C IV peak-which correlates into South China, Avalonia, and Morocco and assigns the oldest trilobites to the terminal Terreneuvian Series. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Landing E.,New York State Museum
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2012

The Early Paleozoic featured nine intervals of strong expansion of an upper slope, dysoxic/anoxic (d/a) water mass with eustatic rise or epeirogenic transgression. Strong expansion of this d/a water mass led to deposition of time-specific, macroscale alternations of dark grey-black mudstone within oxic, green to red mudstone on the middle-lower slope. This d/a facies even onlapped warm- (carbonate) and cool-water (siliciclastic) shelves. As in the Mesozoic, d/a muds were deposited in shallow water, perhaps tens of metres deep, with sea-level rise. These nine d/a macroscale alternations correspond to intervals of "global hyperwarming"-times of very intense greenhouse conditions that resulted from a feedback initiated by higher insolation and heat storage as shallow seas onlap tropical palaeocontinents. Warm epeiric seas heated the ocean, and thermal expansion accelerated eustatic rise. Ever more extensive epeiric seas heightened oceanic and global temperature as heat storage capacity increased. Deep ocean circulation intensity fell below that of a greenhouse interval and lead to d/a deposition low on the slope and on the platforms to provide the signature of global hyperwarming. Global hyperwarming differs from a hothouse interval as it does not require CO2 input from large igneous provinces to produce high temperatures and never shows deep-sea anoxia. Late Ordovician and Late Devonian black mudstones that cover much of Laurentia record epeirogenic transgressions that led to global hyperwarming, and suggest that cold water upwelling or plant terrestrialisation had nothing to do with epeiric sea anoxia. Global hyperwarming reduced oxygen solubility in these seas, and erosion of orogens produced muddy water that limited light penetration and promoted shallow-water anoxia. The global hyperwarming hypothesis means that relative eustatic and epeirogenic sea levels complement the effect of global pCO2 on climate, and sea level must also be regarded as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Ver Straeten C.A.,New York State Museum | Brett C.E.,University of Cincinnati | Sageman B.B.,Northwestern University
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2011

Delineation of stratigraphic sequences and their component systems tracts in mudrock-dominated facies is generally difficult due to the relatively homogenous, fine-grained nature of the strata. In this study, we apply a multi-proxy analytical approach to a thick Devonian mudrock-dominated succession through detailed analysis of sedimentologic, paleobiologic, and geochemical data through 600. m of mudrock-rich facies. Varied combinations of proxies prove to be most useful in delineating sequence development in anoxic-, dysoxic-, and oxic-dominated mudrock settings, and in mixed mudrock-carbonate and mixed mudrock-sandstone successions. These interpretations are tested against an established sequence stratigraphic framework for 11 Middle to Upper Devonian (mid-Eifelian to lower Famennian) sequences in the Appalachian Basin. The sequences presented here further detail and refine global Devonian T-R cycles Id to IIe of the well known Johnson, Sandberg and Klapper sea-level curve.The usefulness of proxies in delineating depositional sequences and systems tracts varies dependent on depositional, paleoceanographic, paleoecologic, and early diagenetic conditions. Those proxies that show a range of variations in specific settings, such as grain size, degree of bioturbation, and concentrations of TOC and elements/elemental ratios (e.g., CaCO3, Al, Ti, Mg, Sc, Si, Mo, Ni, V; Si/Al and Ti/Al) may help delineate depositional dynamics related to redox conditions, condensation, dilution, and clastic, biologic, and/or authigenic sediment sources.In fine-grained, anoxic-dominated facies, interpreted to represent basinal settings, sequences and systems tracts are best delineated by anoxic-related proxies TOC and Mo. In intermediate, dysoxic-dominated settings, TOC, Mo, bioturbation, and Al remain effective indicators of sequence development. In relatively oxygenated, mudrock-rich and carbonate poor sequences, bioturbation may function as the most effective proxy for recognizing systems tracts.For mixed fine-grained siliciclastic-carbonate successions, concentration and type of CaCO3 (e.g., benthic macroskeletal, pelagic styliolinid/dacryoconarid, and micritic/calcisilt) are useful in identifying position within cycles. In more proximal, carbonate-poor successions, fine- and coarse-grained fractions become increasingly differentiated; these can be distinguished by relatively high Si/Al ratios (Si/Alca. 5).Elemental ratios indicative of coarser clastic input (e.g., Si/Al, Zr/Al and Ti/Al) are applicable to identifying position with a sequence, but they may also be affected by input from eolian, volcanogenic, or biogenic sources. In addition, fluxes of siliciclastic, carbonate, and TOC sediment types may dilute the concentration of the others. Multiple lines of evidence should be examined in interpreting relative depth and position within a sequence. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Large hairy elephants got me into paleoanthropology, eventually. I had a strong interest in science, and it was nurtured and expanded by my frequent visits to the New York State Museum, and there was never a doubt in anyone’s mind, anywhere, that the coolest exhibit at that museum was the Cohoes Mastodon exhibit. Barbarians eventually came along and tore that exhibit down, along with all the other fantastic and traditional museum displays, when they made the new, slick, produced for consumption and not intense engagement with materials knowledge building museum. My friend John McKay also got into paleo studies as a young child because of a hairy elephant, but in his case, it was diminutive and green, unlike the large hairy Cohoes elephant. But John persevered in the large elephant area, while I went in somewhat different directions (though I did get to help dig up an extinct four tusker in Africa once). Eventually, John became the Go To Guy in all matters Mammoth and related things. John is an historian, so his focus has been the emerging understanding of the past (and present) as western (and other) civilization(s) repeatedly encountered and grappled with the remains of ancient and unbelievable beasts. The reason I mention any of this at all is because John wrote a book, Discovering the Mammoth: A Tale of Giants, Unicorns, Ivory, and the Birth of a New Science , that is now available for pre-order, and that you must read. I’ve not seen the book yet, but I’ve read some of the stuff that is going into it. Think Stephen Jay Gould meets Don Prothero. Rich, engagingly written, context-rich, carefully done description and analyses of the afore mentioned process. This book promises to be an interesting and important, and very readable, exploration of the development of natural history and modern science. I know John, this is what I expect of him, and this is what I’m confident he is going to give us. The book will be available in hardcover or kindle . Of course, I’ll write a review as soon as I can. The book is slated for publication in June 2017.

News Article | June 19, 2016

Ticked Off! Here's What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease The fossil of an extinct giant beaver species — unearthed 170 years ago in New York — offers new insights into paleoproteomics, the study of ancient proteins. Ancient proteins are potentially useful in positioning animals on the evolutionary tree as well as in understanding the evolution of life and the planet over time. Researchers who study ancient proteins would depend on fossils dug up for the specific purpose. In the new study, the team used a fossilized giant beaver skull obtained in 1845 from Central New York and has been housed since then at New York State Museum. "In paleoproteomics we've generally looked at specimens collected recently and carefully stored in climate-controlled conditions,” explained study author and postdoc researcher Timothy Cleland from the University of Texas-Austin, adding that in their study they dealt with a specimen long sitting on a museum shelf. That is the challenge when using existing fossils for paleoproteomics, a young discipline: will the long gathered specimens offer the needed protein information? For this study, the team extracted proteins coming from the Castoroides ohioensis skull, the first ever found, and used a technique called mass spectrometry analysis to seek for proteins, which are amino acid chains obtained from instructions in DNA that assume a number of roles in living organisms. They detected plenty of specimens of collagen 1, the most prevalent bone protein, along with post-translational modifications or chemical changes found on the protein surface that are not DNA-defined. Discovering these modifications is considered valuable since it has little precedent in the emerging field. Cleland said, for instance, that post-translational modifications of some proteins can shed light on how certain organisms manipulate or process the protein, such as collagen, for better functioning. What has been done so far is just “scratching the surface,” noted the authors. A database containing post-translational modifications to ancient creatures, as well as a database of primary protein sequences, is hoped to be used for better tackling evolutionary changes. Protein engineering, too, can see how an ancient protein function compares to the same in modern living animals. The research also emphasized the significance of museum collections in further research and scientific exploration. “Without maintaining collections rich in diversity of specimens, both ancient and modern, similar research that examines these windows into our past would not be possible,” said vertebrate paleontology curator Robert Feranec of New York State Museum. The findings were detailed in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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