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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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Workshop: Developing a priority list of invasive alien species in Europe

Developing a priority list of invasive alien species in Europe

The EU has recently approved its Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, which will come into force in 2015. For successful implementation, the European Commission will need to adopt an EU list of invasive alien species, to be agreed with the Member States. BirdLife Europe, an international organization that promotes conservation science-based, will propose a priority list of species based on the best available evidence of potential impact, and will be achieved through a systematic approach. This task is organized along with the Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) around two workshops that will be hosted in our premises in Seville on January 21st – 22nd.

Among participants: the universities of Cambridge, Vienna and Berne, the Centre for Environmental Research of Leipzig (UFZ, Germany), the Zoological Society of London, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, international (EPPO, IUCN) and national organizations (Belgian Biodiversity Platform).