Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences

Brussels, Belgium

Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences

Brussels, Belgium
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Wouters K.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Journal of Micropalaeontology | Year: 2017

The modern distribution of the euryhaline ostracod Cyprideis torosa (Jones, 1850) is illustrated on three geographical maps, visualizing its occurrence in Europe, Africa and Asia. The presence of other Cyprideis species, within the distribution area of C. torosa, is discussed. The species has also been recorded from Australia, but it appears now that its presence and that of other Cyprideis species, is a complex issue, that requires new research. Passive transport by migratory birds is briefly dealt with, by mentioning some interesting new examples from the literature, and by linking the distribution in China to the Central Asian Flyway of waterfowl. Cyprideis torosa is a single, highly variable, polymorphic and widely distributed species, with locally different populations. This variability is commented upon and put in a broader context. An imaginary line, connecting the peripheral records, delineates the distribution area of the species. The most interesting aspect is the very pronounced north-south distribution. The species occurs above the Arctic Circle in Europe and Asia but also in South Africa, illustrating that it is a eurythermal species that has adapted to very divergent temperature regimes. © 2017 The Author(s).

Lee Y.-N.,Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources | Barsbold R.,Mongolian Academy of science | Currie P.J.,University of Alberta | Kobayashi Y.,Hokkaido University | And 4 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2014

The holotype of Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by the 1965 Polish-Mongolian Palaeontological Expedition at Altan Uul III in the southern Gobi of Mongolia. Because the holotype consists mostly of giant forelimbs (2.4 m in length) with scapulocoracoids, for almost 50 years Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious dinosaurs. The mosaic of ornithomimosaur and non-ornithomimosaur characters in the holotype has made it difficult to resolve the phylogenetic status of Deinocheirus. Here we describe two new specimens of Deinocheirus that were discovered in the Nemegt Formation of Altan Uul IV in 2006 and Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The Bugiin Tsav specimen (MPC-D 100/127) includes a left forelimb clearly identifiable as Deinocheirus and is 6% longer than the holotype. The Altan Uul IV specimen (MPC-D 100/128) is approximately 74% the size of MPC-D 100/127. Cladistic analysis indicates that Deinocheirus is the largest member of the Ornithomimosauria; however, it has many unique skeletal features unknown in other ornithomimosaurs, indicating that Deinocheirus was a heavily built, non-cursorial animal with an elongate snout, a deep jaw, tall neural spines, a pygostyle, a U-shaped furcula, an expanded pelvis for strong muscle attachments, a relatively short hind limb and broad-tipped pedal unguals. Ecomorphological features in the skull, more than a thousand gastroliths, and stomach contents (fish remains) suggest that Deinocheirus was a megaomnivore that lived in mesic environments. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Casier J.-G.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2017

Three mega-assemblages and six assemblages of ostracods numbered 0 to V are recognised in the Devonian. They are indicative of lagoonal environments, semi-restricted environments and marine environments above and below fair-weather wave-base or storm wave-base. The water energy, the oxygenation and the temperature of marine waters seem to be the most important factors controlling the distribution of ostracods in the Devonian. These ostracod assemblages and mega-assemblages are also recognised in the Silurian and the Carboniferous. The ecological study of ostracods in the southern border of the Dinant Synclinorium, the type region for the definition of the Frasnian and Famennian stages, proves that the Late Devonian mass extinction is related to a period of hypoxy of marine waters followed and probably linked to a regression close to their boundary. The hypoxy is marked by the occurrence of the Myodocopid Mega-Assemblage, and its acme corresponds to the splendens Zone/sigmoidale Zone boundary of the parachronology based on Entomozoid ostracods. The sea-level fall is attested by the occurrence of ostracods indicative of semi-restricted water conditions in several sections, and particularly at Sinsin where stacked valves due to very small waves related to the lap are observed. Thus, the study of ostracods shows that intrinsic factors linked to the global tectonic regime are the most important factors explaining the Late Devonian mass extinction. The Frasnian/Famennian historic boundary of Gosselet (Annales de la Société géologique du Nord, 4, 303–320, 1877) corresponding to the recovery of the mega-fauna after the acme of this mass extinction marks in reality the return to true marine water conditions after the semi-restricted marine episode. The Matagne Fm, the Senzeille Fm and the position of the F/F boundary in the Synclinorium of Dinant are discussed. © 2017 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Eggermont H.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Eggermont H.,Ghent University | Heiri O.,University of Bern | Heiri O.,University Utrecht
Biological Reviews | Year: 2012

Fossils of chironomid larvae (non-biting midges) preserved in lake sediments are well-established palaeotemperature indicators which, with the aid of numerical chironomid-based inference models (transfer functions), can provide quantitative estimates of past temperature change. This approach to temperature reconstruction relies on the strong relationship between air and lake surface water temperature and the distribution of individual chironomid taxa (species, species groups, genera) that has been observed in different climate regions (arctic, subarctic, temperate and tropical) in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere. A major complicating factor for the use of chironomids for palaeoclimate reconstruction which increases the uncertainty associated with chironomid-based temperature estimates is that the exact nature of the mechanism responsible for the strong relationship between temperature and chironomid assemblages in lakes remains uncertain. While a number of authors have provided state of the art overviews of fossil chironomid palaeoecology and the use of chironomids for temperature reconstruction, few have focused on examining the ecological basis for this approach. Here, we review the nature of the relationship between chironomids and temperature based on the available ecological evidence. After discussing many of the surveys describing the distribution of chironomid taxa in lake surface sediments in relation to temperature, we also examine evidence from laboratory and field studies exploring the effects of temperature on chironomid physiology, life cycles and behaviour. We show that, even though a direct influence of water temperature on chironomid development, growth and survival is well described, chironomid palaeoclimatology is presently faced with the paradoxical situation that the relationship between chironomid distribution and temperature seems strongest in relatively deep, thermally stratified lakes in temperate and subarctic regions in which the benthic chironomid fauna lives largely decoupled from the direct influence of air and surface water temperature. This finding suggests that indirect effects of temperature on physical and chemical characteristics of lakes play an important role in determining the distribution of lake-living chironomid larvae. However, we also demonstrate that no single indirect mechanism has been identified that can explain the strong relationship between chironomid distribution and temperature in all regions and datasets presently available. This observation contrasts with the previously published hypothesis that climatic effects on lake nutrient status and productivity may be largely responsible for the apparent correlation between chironomid assemblage distribution and temperature. We conclude our review by summarizing the implications of our findings for chironomid-based palaeoclimatology and by pointing towards further avenues of research necessary to improve our mechanistic understanding of the chironomid-temperature relationship. © 2011 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

Scott A.C.,Royal Holloway, University of London | Damblon F.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

Charcoal occurs in the natural environment as either a result of wildfire or volcanic processes. In addition, people may make charcoal, either for domestic or industrial use. Charcoal may be used as a fuel for domestic heating and cooking through a range of industrial uses, such as iron smelting. More recently, the charcoalification process has been used to make biochar that is relatively inert and promotes atmospheric CO2 reduction. With such a wide range of uses, research has been published in a broad range of journals and often, whole areas of study are unfamiliar to other charcoal researchers. Here we review a range of charcoal studies and their inter-relationships. We present some of the results of a major international meeting on charcoal (Brussels, September 2008) highlighting the potential of charcoal studies as part of palaeoenvironmental investigations, both in a geological and archaeological context. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Nechad B.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Ruddick K.G.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Park Y.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2010

Mapping of total suspended matter concentration (TSM) can be achieved from space-based optical sensors and has growing applications related to sediment transport. A TSM algorithm is developed here for turbid waters, suitable for any ocean colour sensor including MERIS, MODIS and SeaWiFS. Theory shows that use of a single band provides a robust and TSM-sensitive algorithm provided the band is chosen appropriately. Hyperspectral calibration is made using seaborne TSM and reflectance spectra collected in the southern North Sea. Two versions of the algorithm are considered: one which gives directly TSM from reflectance, the other uses the reflectance model of Park and Ruddick (2005) to take account of bidirectional effects. Applying a non-linear regression analysis to the calibration data set gave relative errors in TSM estimation less than 30% in the spectral range 670-750 nm. Validation of this algorithm for MODIS and MERIS retrieved reflectances with concurrent in situ measurements gave the lowest relative errors in TSM estimates, less than 40%, for MODIS bands 667 nm and 678 nm and for MERIS bands 665 nm and 681 nm. Consistency of the approach in a multisensor context (SeaWiFS, MERIS, and MODIS) is demonstrated both for single point time series and for individual images. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Vermeersch P.M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van Neer W.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Van Neer W.,Catholic University of Leuven
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2015

The reconstruction of the environment and the human population history of the Nile Valley during the Late Pleistocene have received a lot of attention in the literature thus far. There seems to be a consensus that during MIS2 extreme dry conditions prevailed over north-eastern Africa, which was apparently not occupied by humans. The Nile Valley seems to be an exception; numerous field data have been collected suggesting an important population density in Upper Egypt during MIS2. The occupation remains are often stratified in, or at least related to, aeolian and Nile deposits at some elevation above the present-day floodplain. They are rich in lithics and animal bones, mainly fish, illustrating the exploitation of the Nile Valley by the Late Palaeolithic inhabitants. The fluvial processes active during that period have traditionally been interpreted as a continuously rising highly braided river.In this paper we summarize the evidence thus far available for the Late Pleistocene on the population densities in the Nile Valley, and on the models of Nilotic behaviour. In the discussion we include data on the environmental conditions in Eastern Africa, on the aeolian processes in the Western Desert of Egypt derived from satellite images, 14C and OSL dates, in order to formulate a new model that explains the observed high remnants of aeolian and Nilotic deposits and the related Late Palaeolithic sites. This model hypothesizes that, during the Late Pleistocene, and especially the LGM, dunes from the Western Desert invaded the Nile Valley at several places in Upper Egypt. The much reduced activity of the White Nile and the Blue Nile was unable to evacuate incoming aeolian sand and, as a consequence, several dams were created in the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley. Behind such dams the created lakes offered ideal conditions for human subsistence. This model explains the occurrence of Late Palaeolithic hunter-fisher-gatherers in a very arid environment with very low Nile flows, even in late summer. © 2015 The Authors.

Vanhellemont Q.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Ruddick K.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2014

In the last decade, the number of offshore wind farms has increased rapidly. Offshore wind farms are typically constructed in near-shore, shallow waters. These waters can be highly productive or provide nursery grounds for fish. EU legislation requires assessment of the environmental impact of the wind farms. The effects on hard and soft substrate fauna, seabirds and marine mammals are most frequently considered. Here we present Landsat-8 imagery that reveals the impact of offshore wind farms on suspended sediments. Turbid wakes of individual turbines are observed that are aligned with tidal currents. They are 30-150. m wide, and several km in length. The environmental impact of these wakes and the source of the suspended material are still unclear, but the wake size warrants further study. The underwater light field will be affected by increased suspended sediments and the turbid wakes could significantly impact sediment transport and downstream sedimentation. The question of whether such features can be detected by other remote sensors is addressed by a theoretical analysis of the signal:noise specification for the Operational Land Imager (OLI), the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM. +), the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR/3), the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI), the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Multispectral Instrument (MSI) and by a demonstration of the impact of processing OLI data for different spatial resolutions. © 2014 The Authors.

Nagy Z.T.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Organisms Diversity and Evolution | Year: 2010

DNA studies have overwhelming importance in biological science. The aim of this paper is to present a compact and hands-on summary of widely available tissue preservation methods by listing dry, fluid/buffered and freezing techniques. Thereby, practical aspects, advantages and disadvantages, safety and feasibility issues of each method are discussed and compared.

Piessens K.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Energy Procedia | Year: 2011

A recurring topic in discussions on the implementation of carbon capture and storage are the uncertainties in the estimations of the storage potential. Many regions worldwide and also in Europe are indeed insufficiently explored for providing estimates that are sufficiently reliable for such purposes. In this paper we present a method through which reliable and quantitative estimates can be obtained for very poorly explored regions. This new approach is based on well-proven economic principles and expert input, which are combined with a semi-generic storage model. Evaluation of the Belgian storage potential results in an estimation of 15Mt/y (95% C.I.: 3 to 35Mt/y) when expressed as an annual injection rate, or 620Mt (95% C.I.: 150 to 1400Mt) when expressed as the total storage capacity. This estimation is that of the actual, practical storage potential, rather than a theoretical overestimation which is obtained by other methods. The reliability of the method is theoretically and empirically verified. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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