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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]ebd.csic.es: 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


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0242082
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New publication: Age and origin make the difference

Age and origin make the difference

Populations of trophic generalists may include specialised individuals. Optimal foraging theory states that individuals should feed on those resources most valuable to them. This, however, may vary. White storks are trophic generalists at the population level. Their European population increased wintering in Southern Europe, where they feed upon new anthropogenic food subsidies: dumps and less invasive crayfishes in ricefields. The foraging strategies of resident and wintering storks in SW Spain in were studied ricefields and dumps. Multievent capture-recapture model showed that there were more specialists among residents than immigrants, and that ricefield use increased with individual age. Results provide empirical evidence of high individual foraging consistency within a generalist species and a differential resource selection by individuals of different ages and origins probably related to their previous experience in the foraging area. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Sanz-Aguilar et al (2014) Multievent capture-recapture analysis reveals individual foraging specialisation in a generalist species. Ecology. Doi 10.1890/14-0437.1


http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/14-0437.1