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Understanding the processes leading to fossilization

Modern death assemblages provide insights about the early stages of fossilization and useful ecological information about the species inhabiting the ecosystem. The results of taphonomic monitoring of modern vertebrate carcasses and bones from Doñana National Park, a Mediterranean coastal ecosystem in Andalusia, Spain, are presented. Ten different habitats were surveyed. Half of them occur in active depositional environments (marshland, lake margin, river margin, beach and dunes). Most of the skeletal remains belong to land mammals larger than 5 kg in body weight (mainly wild and feral ungulates). Overall, the Doñana bone assemblage shows good preservation with little damage to the bones, partly as a consequence of the low predator pressure on large vertebrates. Assemblages from active depositional habitats differ significantly from other habitats in terms of the higher incidence of breakage and chewing marks on bones in the latter, which result from scavenging, mainly by wild boar and red fox. The lake-margin and river-margin death assemblages have high concentrations of well preserved bones that are undergoing burial and offer the greatest potential to produce fossil assemblages. The spatial distribution of species in the Doñana death assemblage generally reflects the preferred habitats of the species in life. Meadows seem to be a preferred winter habitat for male deer, given the high number of shed antlers recorded there. This study is further proof that taphonomy can provide powerful insights to better understand the ecology of modern species and to infer past and future scenarios for the fossil record. informacion[at] Domingo et al (2020) Taphonomic information from the modern vertebrate death assemblage of Doñana National Park, Spain. PLOS ONE 15(11): e0242082. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0242082
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Prioritization management tool for damaging alien species

Prioritization management tool for damaging alien species

Alien species can exert negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. Therefore, administrations from different sectors are trying to prevent further introductions, stop the spread of established species, and apply or develop programs to mitigate their impact, to contain the most harmful species, or to eradicate them if possible. Often it is not clear which of the numerous alien species are most important in terms of damage, and therefore, impact scoring systems have been developed to allow a comparison and thus prioritization of species. Here, the Generic Impact Scoring System (GISS) is presented, which relies on published evidence of environmental and socio-economic impact of alien species. A system of 12 impact categories, for environmental and socio-economic impact was developed, comprising all kinds of impacts that an alien species may exert. In each category, the intensity of impact is quantified by a six-level scale ranging from 0 (no impact detectable) to 5 (the highest impact possible). Such an approach, where impacts are grouped based on mechanisms for environmental impacts and receiving sectors for socio-economy, allows for cross-taxa comparisons and prioritization of the most damaging species. The GISS is simple and transparent, can be conducted with limited funds, and can be applied to a large number of alien species across taxa and environments. In a comparison with 22 other impact assessment methods, GISS appears to be the most broadly applicable system. informacion[at] Nentwig et al (2016) The generic impact scoring system (GISS): a standardized tool to quantify the impacts of alien species. Environ Monit Assess Doi 10.1007/s10661-016-5321-4