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Article Reference A global database for metacommunity ecology: integrating species, traits, environment and space
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference A global database of ant species abundances
What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2693 species and 7953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this dataset was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardised methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing dataset. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference A gymnodont fish jaw with remarkable molariform teeth from the early Eocene of Gujarat, India (Teleostei, Tetraodontiformes)
The lower jaw of a gymnodont fish collected from the lower Eocene Cambay Shale Formation in Gujarat Province, western India, has fused dentaries without a beak and a remarkable series of teeth that are unique among all known fossil and living Tetraodontiformes. The teeth are molariform, with raised spokes radiating inward from the emarginated peripheral edge of the crown. Tooth development is intraosseous, with new teeth developing in spongy bone before they erupt and attach to the dentary by pedicels. Although many of the 110 tooth loci in the fossil have lost their teeth, in life the teeth would have grown to fit tightly together to form a broad and continuous crushing surface. The estimated age of the Cambay Shale vertebrate fauna is ca. 54.5 Ma, making the jaw the second oldest confirmed gymnodont fossil. Preliminary comparisons with extant taxa of gymnodonts with fused dentaries (e.g., Diodon, Chilomycterus, and Mola) show detailed similarities in jaw structure, but further study of the dentition is needed to better understand the evolutionary position of the new fossil. We describe the new gymnodont as yAvitoplectus molaris, gen. et sp. nov., in yAvitoplectidae, fam. nov., and place the family as incertae sedis within Gymnodontes.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference A hadrosaurine dentary from the Upper Cretaceous of Jiayin, Heilongjang
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A heavyweight early whale pushes the boundaries of vertebrate morphology
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference A high diversity in fossil beaked whales (Odontoceti, Ziphiidae) recovered by trawling from the sea floor off South Africa
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A high-resolution DEM for the Top-Palaeogene surface of the Belgian Continental Shelf
A 1:250,000 scale map of the surface of the Top-Palaeogene for the Belgian Continental Shelf was created based on extensive analyses of older and recent geological and geophysical datasets. The Top-Palaeogene surface is an important polygenetic unconformity that truncates older strata of the Palaeogene and to a smaller extent some of Neogene age from the overlying Quaternary deposits. As such it represents the base of the latter. The represented surface has been diachronously shaped and reworked through Late Quaternary times by different geological processes (e.g. fluvial, marine, estuarine, periglacial). Additionally, the offshore surface has been attached to the landward Top-Palaeogene surface and was transformed into a uniform 3D surface allowing new and better interpretations to be used in fundamental and applied research underpinning both scientific purposes (e.g. geology, archaeology, palaeogeography), and commercial applications (e.g. wind farms, aggregate extraction, dredging).
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A highly diverse micrososm in a hostile world: a review on the associates of red wood ants (Formica rufa group)
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A historical ecology of the Ecrins (Southern French Alps): Archaeology and palaeoecology of the Mesolithic to the Medieval period
This paper elucidates the nature of human–environment interactions in a mountainous landscape (the southern zone of the Ecrins, French Alps) from the Mesolithic through to the Post-Medieval Period. We present an integrated programme of palynology, pedo- and archaeo-anthracology, and archaeology. These data permit the development of a historical ecology that allows us to differentiate between climatic and anthropogenic influences on vegetation, and the development of anthropogenic landscapes in an Alpine region. This study is of profound relevance for the broader understanding of human–environment interactions in ecologically sensitive environments both within the Alpine arc, but also beyond this region. We identify and explain evidence for possible human landscape management practices in a high altitude landscape. Palynology defines the broad floral context and evolution of the environment through the Holocene. Palynology also permits an assessment of human activities and practices (arable agriculture, pastoralism and haymaking). The combination of these data with anthracological and archaeological evidence permits a nuanced assessment of human interaction with the landscape. We consider phases of anthropological–ecological succession across the range of altitudes, from valley-bottom to the alpine zones in the Ecrins National Park. Four important stages of landscape use and change have been inferred from our evidence: the Mesolithic, the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman, and (Post)Medieval. During the Mesolithic (c. 8000–4500 BC), a major event is the expansion of fir in the montane stage. At higher altitudes, people exploit the ecotone, defined by the forest edge (or tree-line): an ideal zone for hunting. The Neolithic sees low-altitude clearances, but a continuation of hunting and low levels of human impact on high-altitude vegetation. The Chalcolithic/Bronze Age (2400–1000 BC) sees complex interplay of climatic changes, and the appearance of direct human intervention in the high altitude landscape as part of a new transhumant system. Although the Roman Period is characterised by phases of climatic amelioration after the deterioration of the Iron Age, the increase in human activity that is usually seen in low-lying areas is not reflected in the sub-alpine and alpine altitudes. The Medieval Period, including the Little Ice Age, witnesses a steady increase in human use of these landscapes, with forest manipulation and clearance becoming the defining characteristics of these areas. Despite the supposed inclement nature of the Little Ice Age, human activity achieves its zenith, and the combination people and climate produces the most open and managed landscape of the Holocene.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A horny pycnodont fish (Pycnodontiformes) in the continental Middle Jurassic (Stanleyville Formation) of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019