1. To be able to observe and describe the fossil content of sedimentary successions;
2. To be able to interprete the observed associations and their succession (eco-biostratigraphy);
3. To have knowledge about the use of fossils and associations as palaeoenvironmental archives, with the integration of isotopic analiyses
4. To achieve knowledge about the reconstruction of main events during the evolution of sedimentary basins, aiming especially to identify anomalies also caused (linked) to interactions between tectonic and sedimentation;
5. To achieve knowledge about changes and disequilibrium evidences in the fossils' and dead assemblages register, also at fine temporal scale and the near past, and about their possible use for (palaeo-)environment reconstructions for conservation scopes.
With the hope that conditions for any restrictions such as those experienced in past years (imposed by measures against Covid-19) will not be proposed again, the teaching will be carried out following the modalities reported below.
1. lectures with PP presentations, diagrams and, possibly, films,
2. laboratories with examination of fossils and fossiliferous rocks in order to recognize fossils of palaeoecological relevance, and fossil associations to be used for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. During laboratories, we will also learn methods for the collection, processing and presentation of data useful for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and the interpretation of the succession of fossil associations in logs and basins.Formation about how to search online for scientific purposes, with at least one laboratory in the informatic room.
3. seminars by researchers from Italian or foreign Universities, who are specialists of particular topics.
4. field excursion at the end of the course.
To guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the laws in force, students with disabilities and/or SLDs can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on the didactic objectives and specific needs.
It is also possible to contact the referent teacher CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or SLD) of our Department, prof. Giorgio De Guidi.
At the request of students, topics of particular interest (or related topics) may be developed to carry out the final reports for the graduation.
Knowledge of current physical geography (with distribution of lands, oceans and main seas); knowledge of plate tectonics and the general paleodistribution of the great continental masses and of the main oceans at least starting from the Upper Paleozoic.
Knowledge on fossilization and the taxonomy of the main fossil groups, acquired with the course of Paleontology
Attendance is necessary.
To achieve attendance, it is necessary to attend at least 70% of the lessons, in accordance with the indications for all disciplines in the didactic regulations of the course of study.
Attendance will be monitored directly by the teacher.
Ecology and palaeoecology. Operative categories. Information on trophic structure, fluxes and functioning in ecosystems.
Continental and marine palaeoecology. Main physiographic and depositional units in continental, marine and transitional environments.
Biotic and abiotic factors and their variations in time and space.
Influence of abiotic factors for the distribution of marine organisms in the different domains with special emphasis on benthic organisms. Benthic organisms and relationships with the substratum. Morphological adaptations for the different habitats.
Marine benthic bionomy: qualitative and quantitative models.
Zonation in the benthic domain: systems, zones and main biocoenoses having geological interest.
Heterogeneous communities and their interest as indicators of tectonic and/or climatic instability.
Preservation and possible transformations of benthic biocoenoses during taphonomy. Reworking, bioturbation and time averaging.
Fossil associations: typologies and interpretation
Information on thaphonomic analysis and on ichnological analysis.
Methods for sampling and analysing fossil community successions in the field and in the laboratory.
Interpretation of fossiliferous sedimentary successions and reconstruction of the evolution of sedimentary basins though integration of palaeoecology, thaphonomy and ichnology.
Applications in geological studies and for conservation paleobiology
Raffi S., Serpagli E. 1993. Introduzione alla Paleontologia. Utet ed. (for some topics, indicated during the course)
Margaleff. R. (Ed.) 1985. Key environments. Western Mediterranean. Pergamon Press, (for particular chapters)
Kinne O. (Ed.) (1982) - Marine Ecology. A comprehensive, integrated treatise on life in oceans and coastal waters (for particular chapters)
Briggs D.E. & Crowther P.R. (Eds.) 2001–Palaeobiology II. A synthesis. Blackwell Science.
Cognetti G., Sarà M., Magazzù G. 1999. Biologia Marina. Calderoni, Bologna.
Fortey R. 2002. Fossils: the key to the past. The Living Past Series. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
|1||Paleoecology, ecology and main operational cathegories. Phisiographic and depositional units with emphasis on the marine ones. Biotic and abiotic factors. Features of the sea bottoms.||Chapters selected from Cognetti et al., or Raffi & Serpagli and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher|
|2||Hard and soft substrata and colonisation by benthic organisms. Temperature: variations along geographic and bathymetrical transects. Temperature variations during geological time and consequences in the palaeobiogeographical distribution of marine organisms.||Chapters selected from Cognetti et al., and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher|
|3||Salinity: variations along geographic and bathymetrical transects. Density andstructuring of the water masses (stratification). Influence for the distribution of marine organisms. Further main environmental parametres: dissolved oxygen and its variations.||Chapters selected from Cognetti et al., and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher|
|4||Further main environmental parametres: Carbon dioxyde; nutrients, limiting bioelements and their distribution in the water masses. Influence of these factors for the distribution of marine organisms. Penetration of the light and its different wavelengths and influence for the distribution of marine organisms and benthyc zonation. Primary production, seasonality and plancton-benthos coupling.||Cognetti et al. and/or Margaleff (Chapters 4-5) and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher.|
|5||Movements of water masses: waves, tides and currents. Consequences for the spatial and temporal distribution of organisms. Adaptations of organisms and especially of those living in coastal benthic habitats.||Cognetti et al. and/or Margaleff (Chapters 4-5) and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher.|
|6||Hard and soft substrates and their characteristics. Influence on the distribution of benthos. Functional morphology. Relationships between organisms: commensalism; symbiosis, competition; parasitism; predation. Possibility of of ther preservation in the fossil record.||Cognetti et al. and possible additional didactic material provided by the teacher.|
|7||Benthic bionomy: qualitative and quantitative models. Zoning in the benthic domain. Systems and zones: their limits and main characteristics. Sampling and study methods in the field and in the laboratory.||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher and selected news from various textes and publications.|
|8||Notes on the main marine biocoenoses of the Supralittoral and Mesolittoral zones and their characteristics. Marine biocoenoses of hard and soft bottoms in the infralittoral zone and their characteristics.||Kinne (chapters 8-9), Margaleff (chapter 8) or Cognetti et al. (selected chapters ) and possible further didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher.|
|9||Marine biocoenoses of hard and soft bottoms of the Circalittoral zone and their characteristics. Space-time transitions and vicariances in relation to changes in environmental parameters. Examples from the current Mediterranean and from particular successions of Sicily and southern Italy.||Kinne (chapters 8-9), Margaleff (chapter 8) or Cognetti et al. (selected chapters ) and possible further didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher.|
|10||Biocoenoses whose distribution is not lincked to the zonation: associations structured by currents (SGCF); associations structured by high sedimentation rate: Heterogeneous Communities and their importance in geological studies.||Kinne (chapters 8-9), Margaleff or Cognetti et al. (selected chapters) and possible further didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher.|
|11||Preservation of benthic biocoenoses throughout biostratinomic processes. Reworking, bioturbation and time averaging. Paleobiocenoses, paleocommunities and symmigies: recognition and use in paleoenvironmental interpretations. The distribution of fossils and associations in the sedimentary layers. Basics of taphonomic analysis.||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher, and lectures from texts and publications.|
|12||Bioconstructions: origin and interpretation. Le altre carbonate factories.||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher, and lectures from texts and publications.|
|13||The use of fossils as archives: isotopic methods for the reconstruction of environmental parametres.||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher, and lectures from texts and publications.|
|14||Examples of interpretation of sedimentary sequences and reconstruction of the evolution of sedimentary basins using the paleontological content. Solving some practical problems. work groups and discussions in order to prepare a final report.||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher, and lectures from texts and publications.|
|15||Conservation palaeobiology and its relevance for assessments on the present-day environmental status||Essentially didactic material indicated/provided by the teacher, and lectures from texts and recent publications.|
Learning will be verified through an oral examination, at the end of the course according to the schedule of the study course and appropriately advertised on its website.
The exam also includes the resolution of simple exercises including ecobiostratigraphic interpretation of subsequent fossil associations in sedimentary successions.
An on-going test is foreseen to be held on a date to be agreed with the attending students but within the period appropriately selected from the LM74 study course for the suspension of teaching.
The test will consist of an exercise in paleoecological interpretation on material provided by the teacher to be done in the classroom. The results of this test must be presented in the form of a short written report. The test will be used by students to evaluate the acquired ability to carry out a paleoecological investigation.
1. The benthic domain
2. The circalitoral zone
3. The biocoenosis of white corals: main features
4. Water masses circulation in the current Mediterranean and role in the distribution of organisms
5. Role of temperature in structuring water masses and consequences on the distribution of organisms
6. Preservation methods of benthic associations in the fossil record
7. Interpretation of a fossil community
8. Succession of associations in relation to an increase in the sedimentation rate
9. Expected successions in the case of a basin in the process of being closed