73 research outputs found

    Drilling predation on spatangoid echinoids from the Miocene of Sardinia: a taphonomic and paleoecological perspective

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    Predation is of great importance in understanding the diversification of spatangoid echinoids as well as their preservation in the fossil record. Herein, the spatangoid-dominated Miocene carbonate succession of Punta Foghe (Montiferru area, central-western Sardinia, Italy) is studied with the aim of reconstructing paleoenvironmental conditions and investigating abiotic and biotic factors, including predation, that influence the paleoecology and preservation potential of spatangoid echinoids. The echinoid fauna is dominated by the spatangoid Agassizia and, to a lesser extent, the clypeasteroid Clypeaster. The fauna also includes both regular (undetermined diadematoids and camarodonts) and irregular (Plagiobrissus, Echinocyamus, and Koehleraster) forms. Echinoids and associated fossil content, along with taphonomic and sedimentological signatures, indicate an inner sublittoral environment with moderate energy conditions affected by high-energy events. Agassizia remains, which consist mainly of complete and well-preserved tests, commonly bear subcircular drill holes that are interpreted as the result of cassid gastropod predation and investigated with respect to size selectivity and stereotypy of attack sites. Potential biases related to drilling predation and biostratinomy on the preservation potential of spatangoid tests are discussed. Agassizia lacks any morphological adaptation to minimize high predation risk, including defensive spines and the ability to burrow deeply into the sediment. An antipredator behavior possibly relied on a gregarious life-history strategy, reducing the frequency of attacks on specific individuals by cassid predators

    Fossichnus solus and Oichnus simplex, two peculiar ichnospecies in modern benthic foraminifera from a polluted area in SW coast of Sardinia, Italy

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    The modern benthic foraminiferal tests collected from a coastal area of south-western Sardinia (Portoscuso-Portovesme) that is heavily polluted by industrial activity reveal intense and widespread bioerosional structures induced by diversifi ed microborers. A large number of the foraminifera reveals microscopic round holes (1-60 μm in diameter) and roundish concavities (25x40 μm in external diameter) on their surface that belong, respectively, to the ichnospecies Oichnus simplex Bromley, 1981, and Fossichnus solus Nielsen et al., 2003. These traces just occur in the tests of the foraminifera which are heavily infested by microendolithic cyanobacteria, algae and fungi suggests comparable ethological behaviour between the ichnospecies Fossichnus and Oichnus and the microbial euendoliths that are ascribed to individual biological taxa. The greater occurrence of F. solus and O. simplex in the high-Mg foraminiferal porcelanaceous tests than in the low-Mg foraminiferal hyaline tests reveals that the bioerosional processes seem to be related to the Mg/Ca ratio, as well as to morphological structures of the taxa

    Monocyte Activation Test (MAT) as a possibility of replacement for the rabbit pyrogen test in hyperimmune sera

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    The use of a commercial kit for the monocyte-activation test (MAT) was evaluated for assessing pyrogenic contamination of hyperimmune sera . Three batches of sera, two pyrogen free and one pyrogenic, were tested. Endotoxin spike recover indicated that sample dilutions from 1/2 to 1/10 are suitable. Kit transport and storage conditions were also evaluated, proving that an adequate cold chain must be assured to achieve good results. Furthermore, the commercial MAT kit seemed suitable to replace the rabbit pyrogen test (RPT) for pyrogen testing of hyperimmune sera, although further tests are needed to a full validation

    Ecogeomorphology and vulnerability in a Mediterranean ria-type coast (La Maddalena Archipelago, NE Sardinia, western Mediterranean)

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    This paper presents a map describing the main geomorphological and sedimentological features, hydrodynamics, benthic habitat distributions and human impact on the coastal and marine areas of the Archipelago of La Maddalena (NE Sardinia, western Mediterranean). This cartography is based on an interdisciplinary sea-land approach, with the aim being to support sustainable and successful beach management in the face of a changing climate and environment, thereby contributing to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (13, 14 and 15). In the Main Map (1:14,000 scale), the static and dynamic features of the beach systems and adjacent inner shelf are divided into thematic sections that include the geomorphological elements, hydrodynamics, sedimentological distributions, benthic habitat (mainly Posidonia oceanica meadow) and anthropogenic impacts. The map establishes a fundamental, multidisciplinary benchmark that is able to provide substantial scientific support to policymakers in relation to future vulnerability-assessment activities and the definition of land-management strategies

    Geomorphology, beach classification and seasonal morphodynamic transition of a Mediterranean gravel beach (Sardinia, Gulf of Cagliari)

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    This paper presents an innovative multi-thematic map (1:2500) that integrates morpho-sedimentological data, hydrodynamic processes, seasonal morphodynamic transitions and the distribution of the benthic habitat of a Mediterranean microtidal, wave-dominated gravel beach system. It is part of a larger cartography of coastal areas, and is based on an interdisciplinary sea-land approach that is applicable worldwide and aims to facilitate coastal management practices and future scientific research. The applications to coastal management include: the facilitation of coastal vulnerability assessments; easy-to-access, up-to-date digital geospatial data; and baseline studies for the future assessment and monitoring of environmental changes. The main environmental features that control the marine processes of this gravel beach appear to be linked to geological and morphological contexts such as the presence of the river mouth, the outcropping of a beach-rock along the coastline, the deposition of gravelly sediment in the beachface and the seagrass cover

    Fossichnus solus and Oichnus simplex, two peculiar ichnospecies in modern benthic foraminifera from a polluted area in SW coast of Sardina, Italy

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    The modern benthic foraminiferal tests collected from a coastal area of south-western Sardinia (Portoscuso-Portovesme) that is heavily polluted by industrial activity reveal intense and widespread bioerosional structures induced by diversified microborers. A large number of the foraminifera reveals microscopic round holes (1-60 μm in diameter) and roundish concavities (25x40 μm in external diameter) on their surface that belong, respectively, to the ichnospecies Oichnus simplex Bromley, 1981, and Fossichnus solus Nielsen et al., 2003. These traces just occur in the tests of the foraminifera which are heavily infested by microendolithic cyanobacteria, algae and fungi suggests comparable ethological behaviour between the ichnospecies Fossichnus and Oichnus and the microbial euendoliths that are ascribed to individual biological taxa. The greater occurrence of F. solus and O. simplex in the high-Mg foraminiferal porcelanaceous tests than in the low-Mg foraminiferal hyaline tests reveals that the bioerosional processes seem to be related to the Mg/Ca ratio, as well as to morphological structures of the tax

    Natural vs. Anthropic Influence on the Multidecadal Shoreline Changes of Mediterranean Urban Beaches: Lessons from the Gulf of Cagliari (Sardinia)

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    Urban Mediterranean beaches are often characterized by a fragile and unstable equilibrium that can be easily altered by ongoing climate change and by the increase in human pressure. This may pose serious threats to the survival of beach systems that cannot accommodate these modifications. In this paper, the spatio-temporal shift of the shoreline was investigated along two urban beaches in the Gulf of Cagliari (Poetto and Giorgino; southern Sardinia, western Mediterranean Sea) across a time frame of 62 years (1954–2016). The Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) ArcGIS™ extension was used to extract different statistical parameters which allowed us to quantify the erosion and accretion rates. These data were further examined in relation to a number of anthropic and natural forcings in order to disentangle the factors controlling shoreline evolution. Eight sectors with interchanging net erosive and accretion trends were identified along the Poetto and Giorgino beaches. In six decades, some sectors of the two study sites appeared to have undergone great shoreline modification as a result of the intense anthropogenic activities impacting these coastal areas. The westernmost portions of both beaches were found to be the most vulnerable to erosion processes; such conditions were likely controlled by the interplaying of local hydrodynamics and by the intense coastal development which affected these sectors. The highest retreat rates (mean end point rate (EPR) = −0.51/year) were recorded in the western limit of Giorgino beach. Along the western limit of Poetto beach, EPR erosion rates (mean EPR = −2.92/year) considerably increased in the years after the artificial beach nourishment carried out in 2002, suggesting that the majority of the nourished material was lost offshore or partly redistributed along the beach. Coastal structures, urban development, river catchment modification, industrial and port activities, beach cleaning and touristic and recreational activities have been identified as the ongoing causes of coastal alteration. If these factors remain constant, under projected climate change scenarios, these beaches are at risk of further increased flooding and erosion. In this context, the application of DSAS appeared as an essential tool, supporting a monitoring system able to provide understanding and, potentially, predictions of the short- to long-term evolution of these beach system
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