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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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Research and long-term ecological monitoring (LTER)

Research and long-term ecological monitoring (LTER)

The long-term ecological research has managed to arouse the interest of the scientific community working in ecology, not only by the publication of its findings but also by the collaborative and transdisciplinary nature of its activities. Focusing on the Spanish case, since the creation of the LTER-Spain network in 2008, the different nodes, all of them protected areas, have consolidated this approach implementing long-term environmental programs. The monograph published in Ecosystems shows the progress in the implementation of long-term ecological research in sites that are part of the Spanish network, and a specific case in southern Argentina. A total of seven works are presented, five of them reviewing the growing scientific contribution arising from this approach in three National Parks: Tablas de Daimiel, Doñana and Ordesa and Monte Perdido; Monitoring Network on Global Change in National Parks and one in Argentina.

Doñana, as a whole, has definitely helped to consolidate ecological monitoring and long-term research in Spain. An integrated approach, combining the efforts of managers and researchers has led to scientific contributions improving the understanding of Doñana's biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This paper ( reviews the scientific contributions and management improvements provided by the implementation of a long-term ecological monitoring program and the LTER networking activities. Especially, the paper reviews the contribution of landscape-scale monitoring by remote sensing s.l., with its retrospective and multi-scale analysis capacity; the different monitoring protocols of local populations of primary consumers and their role in the Doñana ecosystems; the great effort made to incorporate automatic monitoring by deploying sensors and developments adapted to harsh field conditions; the contributions of the socio-ecological approach to assess the state of conservation and environmental services of the Doñana LTSER platform; and finally, the perspective from the management of the program's usefulness when it comes to decision making and the incorporation in international networks LTER. In summary, this review aims to show the different benefits achieved by the implementation of a long-term (socio-)ecological monitoring and research program in Doñana.

informacion[at] Díaz-Delgado et al (2016). Contribución del seguimiento ecológico a largo plazo a la investigación y la gestión en la plataforma LTSER-Doñana. Ecosistemas 25(1): 09-18. Doi.: 10.7818/ECOS.2016.25-1.03;

Díaz-Delgado, R. 2016. La investigación y seguimiento ecológico a largo plazo (LTER). Ecosistemas 25(1): 01-03. Doi.: 10.7818/ECOS.2016.25-1.01