Dr. Mángano named Distinguished Professor at USask

We are excited to share that our own Dr. Gabriela Mángano has been named a distinguished professor by the University of Saskatchewan Distinguished Professorship Advisory Committee.

She was recognized for her breadth of contributions in the areas of ichnologic and sedimentological research on an international scale. She has mentored and supervised many students, many of whom are underrepresented in the geosciences, including women and minority groups. Congratulations Gabriela on this amazing achievement!

She also received the award for Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists back in 2018.

Written by Jack Milligan

Dr. Buatois recipient of the 2022 Raymond C. Moore Medal for Paleontology by SEPM

We are thrilled to share that Dr. Luis Buatois has received the 2022 Raymond C. Moore Medal for Paleontology from the Society for Sedimentary Geology. This prestigious international award recognizes accomplished researchers who have contributed a great amount to the field of paleontology (see SEPM interview on YouTube).

Today, Dr. Buatois is regarded as one of the world’s renowned experts on animal trace fossils, and the early history of life on Earth through the lens and framework of ichnology. He supervises a large group of students and serves on editorial boards for geological and paleontological journals. From all of us at Ichnoplanet, congratulations Luis!

Written by Jack Milligan

Charlie Zheng secures a Student Research Award in Planetary Habitability!

We’re pleased to share that our colleague Charlie Zheng, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Austin, was just awarded a Student Research Award in Planetary Habitability!

The award is distributed by the UT Center for Planetary Systems Habitability and consists of $24,960. It is a well deserved award which will allow Charlie, along with project collaborators Dr.’s Buatois & Màngano, to continue their fascinating research into the resilience of marine infaunal communities. Charlie describes the project as:

“Trace fossil records are the best indicator of habitability in harsh environments after mass extinctions or during the early evolution of life on earth. In fact, oceanic anoxia is a common theme linked to major environmental perturbations and ancient oceans that hosted early metazoan life ordinarily contained low oxygenations. A comprehensive dataset documenting marine infaunal communities under oxygen-deficient environments from different settings and geologic ages is necessary to better understand the habitability of environments. Moreover ichnology should play an essential role in the search for evidence of early lifeform in other worlds, especially under similar environmental conditions.

The Cretaceous Maverick intrashelf basin is one of the world’s best examples of a shallow marine shelf ecosystem impacted by locally developed anoxia, creating “dead zones” that evolve into shallow basins within the shallow-water shelf. This project aims to integrate ichnologic and sedimentological signatures to characterize distinctive infaunal communities under hostile, oxygen-limited conditions and assess the resilience of marine infaunal communities and the carbonate factory ecosystem evolution across the environmental perturbation. This study will extend the existing ichnologic database in oxygen-deficient settings by providing the first case study on the intrashelf basin lacking modern analogs and serve as an needed update on the subject since the 90’s, when relevant studies were most abundant.” 

Panoramic photograph of an outcrop from the Del Norte area, Devils River State Natural Area, Texas. This outcrop shows the more proximal shallow-water platform facies & architecture of the basin. The awarded research will focus on more distal portions of this same basin. (photo by Charlie Zheng)

A big congratulation’s to Charlie on this accomplishment!! We can’t wait to read about the results of this research!

You can follow Charlie’s research via his Research Gate profile.

Written by Brittany Laing

Large wild boar tracks discovered in SW Spain

Recent research by colleagues, including former visiting researcher Dr. Belaústegui and former postdoc Dr. Muñiz, has been featured in the Spanish newspaper El País. Their research, first published in Palaois, examines large wild boar tracks from the Late Pleistocene of Huelva, Spain. The novel ichnogenus and ichnospecies (Suidichnus galani igen. and isp. nov.) described in their article are the first published record of fossil suid tracks. The ichnogenus is named after the family Suidae while the ichnospecies name is a nod to José María Galán, a respected local tracker who discovered the trackways (and many more in the formation).

Footprint 'Suidichnus galani' found in Matalascañas.
Paratype of Suidichnus galani igen. and isp. nov., vertically oriented. (Fig. 3 in Neto De Carvalho et al., 2020)

The large size of these tracks, and the boars themselves, are a divergence from the overall trend of the species towards smaller size. The authors delve into the cause of this divergence and suggest that the increase in size was an adaption to either an increase in predation pressure and/or a resource bonanza.

The article in El País is a fantastic piece of science communication and we highly recommend you give it a read! While the text is originally in Spanish, the Google Translate function on Google Chrome produced a good English translation.

Written by Brittany Laing