Researching at the Jurassic Beach

The Jurassic Beach is an exceptional fossil site in Portugal. Special techniques are needed to study its exceptional fossil content. Above, Jose Antonio Anacleto and Ricardo Paredes are casting trace fossils at the Jurassic Beach palaeontological site (Praia Jurássica). Me waring protectionsKneeling on Jurassic limestones…

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Jurassic Beach

Jurassic Beach? Yes, there is a beach dating back to the age of dinosaurs (Praia Jurássica) near Porto de Mós, Portugal. I recently joined the Jurassic Beach team to study this exceptional palaeontological site! Here is the Jurassic Beach team! From the foreground to the…

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Trace fossils of Ichnosummer

Ichnosummer 2019 has been a success! In fact, during fieldwork in Portugal, I discovered thousands of beautiful trace fossils. Now it is time to go from aesthetics to science, i.e. I need to understand the behaviours of those spectacular burrows. The beauty of these trace…

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Ichnosummer 2019

Ichnosummer 2019 started in Portugal! This will be a period of intense fieldwork in the Palezoioic and Mesozoic units of Iberia. Here I am (left) with Carlos Neto de Carvalho (right). What will we find in the Ordovician rocks of UNESCO Geopark Naturtejo?

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Palaeontology in the Renaissance

Mona Lisa's gaze on a fossil bivalve. Fossil from the collections of the University of Genova. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected Western intellectual life by introducing great advances in many aspects of intellectual inquiry. Beginning in Italy and spanning roughly the…

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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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