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Article Reference Five New Species of Homoscleromorpha (Porifera) from the Caribbean Sea
Five new species of Homoscleromorpha (Porifera) of four genera, Oscarella, Plakortis, Plakina and Corticium, are described from vertical walls of reef caves at depths ranging from 23 to 28 m in the Caribbean Sea. Oscarella nathaliae sp. nov. has a leaf-like thinly encrusting, flat body, loosely attached to the substrate and a perforated, not lobate surface. Oscarella nathaliae sp. nov. contains two bacterial morphotypes and is characterized by two mesohylar cell types with inclusions. Plakortis myrae sp. nov. has diods of two categories: abundant large ones (83–119 mm long) and rare small ones (67–71 mm long) with sinuous, S-bent centres; triods Y- or T-shaped (18–5 mm long), and abundant microrhabds (5–12 mm long). Plakortis edwardsi sp. nov. has diods of one category with thick, sinuous, S-bent centres (110 to 128 mm long); triods T-shaped (actines 28–59 mm long). It is the only species of this genus showing small diods (22–31 mm long). Plakortis dariae sp. nov. has diods of two categories: large ones (67–112 mm long) and small, rare, irregular ones, slightly curved, often deformed with one end blunt (30–59 mm long); triods rare and regular (actines 20–44 mm long long). Corticium diamantense sp. nov. has oscula situated near its border, regular non-lophose calthrops of one size class, very rare tetralophose calthrops and candelabra with the fourth actine ramified basally in 4–5 microspined rays. In addition, a re-description of Plakina jamaicensis Lehnert & van Soest 1998 is based on newly collected material and the type specimen. P. jamaicensis has a convoluted brainlike surface; well developed sub-ectosomal cavities; irregular sinuous diods, triods, calthrops, rare monolophose calthrops, rare dilophose calthrops, rare trilophose calthrops and common tetralophose calthrops. Molecular ‘barcoding’ sequences for mitochondrial cob are given for Plakortis edwardsi sp. nov., P. dariae sp. nov., Plakina jamaicensis and Corticium diamantense sp. nov. An identification key for all western Atlantic Homoscleromorpha is provided.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference Octet Stream Towards a List of Available Names in Zoology , partim Phylum Rotifera
Many, mostly older, names of animal species are nomenclaturally problematic, either because their orthography is unstable, or they cannot be linked reliably to a taxonomic identity, due to the lack of recognisable descriptions and/or types. Yet, they represent available (sensu International Code of Zoological Nomenclature) names and must be taken into account in zoological works. This situation, with available senior, yet dubious names confounding nomenclature, is undesirable. It creates uncertainties at a time when molecular approaches are revolutionizing our concepts of species diversity, and fails us when the current extinction crisis calls for efficient, accurate, and constructive approaches to document, monitor, and conserve biodiversity. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (The Code) provides a means to address this issue by restricting availability, application and orthography of names to those included in the List of Available Names in Zoology (LAN). The Code (Art. 79) allows an international body of zoologists in consultation with the Commission to propose a candidate part of the LAN for a major taxonomic field. We explore this possibility for 3570 species-group names of Phylum Rotifera (of which 665 are problematic), by presenting such a candidate Rotifera part of the LAN. The web site of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ( will hold both the candidate list and a forum to facilitate consultation on the candidate list, while the list itself also can already be freely downloaded from three other Internet sites:,, and We give here an overview of the general approach and procedures applied in preparation of the candidate list, and anticipate that our effort will promote the process as well as result in a standard list of names for use in taxonomy, the Global Names Architecture and other biodiversity information initiatives.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference The ‘rotiferologist’ effect and other global correlates of species richness in monogonont rotifers
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference New species in the Old World: Europe as a frontier in biodiversity exploration, a test bed for 21st century taxonomy.
The number of described species on the planet is about 1.9 million, with ca. 17,000 new species described annually, mostly from the tropics. However, taxonomy is usually described as a science in crisis, lacking manpower and funding, a politically acknowledged problem known as the Taxonomic Impediment. Using data from the Fauna Europaea database and the Zoological Record, we show that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species. In Europe, new species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals are being discovered and named at an unprecedented rate: since the 1950s, more than 770 new species are on average described each year from Europe, which add to the 125,000 terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species already known in this region. There is no sign of having reached a plateau that would allow for the assessment of the magnitude of European biodiversity. More remarkably, over 60\% of these new species are described by non-professional taxonomists. Amateurs are recognized as an essential part of the workforce in ecology and astronomy, but the magnitude of non-professional taxonomist contributions to alpha-taxonomy has not been fully realized until now. Our results stress the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce, as we seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
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Article Reference The magnitude of global marine species diversity.
The question of how many marine species exist is important because it provides a metric for how much we do and do not know about life in the oceans. We have compiled the first register of the marine species of the world and used this baseline to estimate how many more species, partitioned among all major eukaryotic groups, may be discovered.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference Moving plates and melting icecaps – Processes and forcing factors in geology, 4th international Geologica Belgica meeting, September 11-14, 2012
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Article Reference Towards a Global Phylogeny of the "Living Fossil" Crustacean Order of the Notostraca
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Article Reference First evidence of reproductive adaptation to “Island effect” of a dwarf Cretaceous Romanian titanosaur, with embryonic integument in ovo
Background: The Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages of Romania are famous for geographically endemic dwarfed dinosaur taxa. We report the first complete egg clutches of a dwarf lithostrotian titanosaur, from Totes¸ti, Romania, and its reproductive adaptation to the ‘‘island effect’’. Methodology/Findings: The egg clutches were discovered in sequential sedimentary layers of the Maastrichtian Saˆnpetru Formation, Totes¸ti. The occurrence of 11 homogenous clutches in successive strata suggests philopatry by the same dinosaur species, which laid clutches averaging four ,12 cm diameters eggs. The eggs and eggshells display numerous characters shared with the positively identified material from egg-bearing level 4 of the Auca Mahuevo (Patagonia,Argentina) nemegtosaurid lithostrotian nesting site. Microscopic embryonic integument with bacterial evidences was recovered in one egg. The millimeter-size embryonic integument displays micron size dermal papillae implying an early embryological stage at the time of death, likely corresponding to early organogenesis before the skeleton formation. Conclusions/Significance: The shared oological characters between the Hat¸eg specimens and their mainland relatives suggest a highly conservative reproductive template, while the nest decrease in egg numbers per clutch may reflect an adaptive trait to a smaller body size due to the ‘‘island effect’’. The combined presence of the lithostrotian egg and its embryo in the Early Cretaceous Gobi coupled with the oological similarities between the Hat¸eg and Auca Mahuevo oological material evidence that several titanosaur species migrated from Gondwana through the Hat¸eg Island before or during the Aptian/Albian. It also suggests that this island might have had episodic land bridges with the rest of the European archipelago and Asia deep into the Cretaceous.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference Reappraisal of the morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the middle Eocene alligatoroidDiplocynodondeponiae (Frey, Laemmert and Riess, 1987) based on a 3D-prepared specimen
We describe a three-dimensionally prepared specimen of Baryphracta deponiae from the middle Eocene of Messel (Darmstadt, Germany). Based on a phylogenetic analysis that included the addition of 20 novel scorings for characters previously unavailable for this taxon and the recoding of four additional characters, we found B. deponiae to be nested within Diplocynodon.We propose the new combination Diplocynodon deponiae. The name Baryphracta is thus a junior synonym of Diplocynodon. The small species D. deponiae (∼1 m in total length) shares several features with other species of Diplocynodon, including the presence of two subequal alveoli in the maxilla and dentary, exclusion of the splenial from the symphysis, and the shape of the iliac blade. However, it also differs in a few characters, including the presence of molariform teeth and the extension of osteoderms along the limbs and tail. Such osteodermal cover, which developed very early in ontogeny, easily distinguishes even small-sized specimens of D. deponiae from the co-occurring Diplocynodon darwini. The crocodylian fauna of Messel shows an astonishing diversity including at least seven taxa, with two belonging to the same genus. The two congeners exhibit differences in dentition and size that likely allowed for niche partitioning that minimized competition, thereby allowing them to be syntopic.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference Reassessment of the Morphology and Taxonomic Status of the earliest Herpetotheriid Marsupials of Europe
The earliest Eocene locality of Dormaal (Belgium) has provided the oldest Cenozoic herpetotheriid marsupials of Europe. No herpetotheriid has ever been reported earlier than the Eocene in Europe, except for a questionable single upper molar from the Upper Cretaceous of the Belgian/Dutch border. The systematics of the herpetotheriids of Dormaal was formerly based on only a dozen dental specimens, which were assigned, after several revisions, to two species Peratherium constans and Amphiperatherium brabantense. Most importantly, these two species were considered at the root of most of the hepetotheriid lineages of the European Paleogene. Here we report a large sample of about 400 new dental remains that allow a better definition of both species as well as a testing of their systematic status. The evidence of significant morphological variability leads us to reconsider the diagnosis of Peratherium constans and to question the validity of Amphiperatherium brabantense. This study highlights that the primitive species Peratherium constans and Amphiperatherium brabantense are hardly distinguishable from each other, and therefore conclude that Peratherium constans was the only marsupial present at Dormaal. The important morphological variation exhibited by this herpetotheriid is similar to the variability observed in the type-species Peratherium elegans and in other fossil and extant metatherians. Consequently, our results suggest that several Amphiperatherium species from the Eocene could represent variants of the genus Peratherium. The question of the Amphiperatherium presence in Europe is therefore raised and a thorough discriminate analysis of both genera should be conducted in later works.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications