Trace of the day: Piscichnus

The seafloor of the Ligurian Sea is more than an expanse of sand. In fact, it often features traces of life-substrate interactions, such as these circular 'craters'. What are they? They are feeding pits produced by fishes, almost identical to the trace fossil Piscichnus. This…

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I am on Instagram!

The Tracemaker goes social... I am on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/p/BsdxLyjn-c8/

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Why do I put all this effort into sampling modern ecosystems?

This photo gallery documents my typical day on the field during autumn times. I check field tools on the beach, I start up my GPS-equipped camera, then I fit into the wetsuit... and then I splash into the cold water! Succesively, my fieldwork basically consists…

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Quadrat: more than just a square frame!

Just as its name implies, a quadrat is a square frame. Despite its simplicity, the imaged quadrat plays a fundamental role in my research about modern traces of life-substrate interactions. In fact, I place the quadrat on the seafloor and then the traces within that…

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The typical ichnoday

This photo gallery post documents the typical fieldwork day of autumn season: (1) Wearing the wetsuit and entering the seawater; (2) Placing a quadrat on the seafloor; (3) Photographing the quadrat with a GPS-based camera; (4) Counting eventual burrows within the quadrat; (5) repeating steps…

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Dive into the unknown

Below the seafloor surface lies a vast, complex ecosystem, one of the Earth’s lesser-known environments. Here, marine animals produce complex burrow systems: What is the function of these structures? What is their distrubution? How did they evolve during the last 600 million years? I am…

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Quadrat + mounded burrow = quantitative ichnology

Today I continued conducting quadrat sampling in the amazing Ligurian Sea. This series of photos shows a quadrat sampling session - from snorkelling to spotting a burrow with a mound! Each and every quadrat-based observation is georeferenced by GPS, so that in the laboratory I…

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Traces of the day: Siphonichnus and Teichichnus

Today I photographed paired openings on the seafloor. These openings have been produced by burrowing bivalves (clams) to keep contact with the oxygenated seawater. The fossil burrows Siphonichnus and Teichichnus are possible analogues of this burrow system, spotted on the sandy seafloor of the Ligurian…

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Trace of the day: Thalassinoides

On some seafloors of the Ligurian Sea, sediment mounds tower smaller openings. Each mound is likely to be connected with the nearby openings, forming a tunnel system that resembles the fossil burrow Thalassinoides. Thalassinoides is a genus of fossil burrow consisting of horizontal branched tunnels…

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From the backshore to the shoreface

A major part of my on-going research focuses on burrows and trails. However, the geological (sedimentological) context cannot be ignored when studying the products of organism-substrate interactions. In fact, sediment texture commonly reflects the hydrodynamic setting. In the images of this post, you can see…

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Today’s highlights

Here are some highlights from today’s snorkelling survey, mapping burrows from the coastline to the shoreface.

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Trace of the day: Nereites

The fossil record preserves abundant horizontal traces with sediment pads. These traces, known as Nereites , have tradistionally been attributed to worm tracemakers, but then researchers pictured horseshoe crabs leaving Nereites-like traces. I also documentes Nereites-like traces made by arthropods (hermit crabs) in the Adriatic…

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Green spheres underwater

What are those green spheres? They are algae of the species Codium bursa! During today's actuopaleontology survey I also met damselfishes (Chromis chromis), pen shells (Pinna sp.) and sea urchins.

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Trace of the day: Archaeonassa

Today I spotted a gastropod leaving a locomotion trail... almost identical to Archaeonassa, an ichnofossil known from the Precambrian!

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Snorkelling in the Thyrrenian Sea

I was excited about today’s snorkelling dive in the Thyrrenian Sea, on the Italian coast. I was there to map burrows, but the richness of underwater life deserved some non-ichnological photos!

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