A new display on the Cornell University Plant Anatomy Collection (CUPAC) is in the display-case near the Bailey Hortorium elevator in Mann Library. Stop by and take a look!
News on the "Fossil Calibration Database" and Palaeontologia Electronica free access journal on the "Fossil Calibration Series". Please consider submitting a contribution.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The field trip to Patagonia was incredible from the beginning. Although Marantha and I got delayed in the Ithaca Airport for almost three hours, we arrived to Newark with enough time to catch our flight to Buenos Aires. Liz Hermsen (Ohio University) was waiting for us at the gate, so the three of us met the Penn State crew, Peter Wilf, Rachel Wilf, Lisa Merkhoffer and Mike Donovan. We arrived to Buenos Aires and from there we flew to Trelew, where we joined the rest of the 2012 Team, which included from the MEF Ruben Cúneo, Jose Carballido, and Pablo Puerta and from the Universidad de La Plata Ari Iglesias. Unfortunately, we were not able to collect at Laguna Del Hunco, however, we were not disappointed with our collecting trip. We divided the team into two groups, and one collected at the Paleocene Salamanca Fm. while the other at the Maastrichtian Lefipán Fm. and it was a great idea since both groups were extremely successful at collecting very interesting fossils.
At the beginning of the trip, Roberto Scasso de la Universidad de Buenos Aires and two of his students spent a day with us in Lefipán prospecting for localities. The last day in the field, Julian Petrulevicious, a paleontomologist from the Universidad de La Plata, jointed us as he was travelling towards San Carlos de Bariloche.
As always, the famous Patagonian wind was present and made our days miserable mostly when we were trying to collect 70 million year old complete leaf cuticles! Nonetheless, we were able to collect them and they will be soon in our publication pipeline.
Of course, we all enjoyed the good company and the fascinating Patagonian scene!
From December 2 to the 20th., Dr. Gandolfo and Ms. Dawkins will be joining Dr. P. Wilf and his students (Penn State), Dr. Hermsen (Ohio State University), Dr. Cúneo an members of the MEF, Dr. Scasso and his student (Universidad de Buenos Aires) and two members of the Vertebrate Paleontological Section of the Museo Rivadavia (Argentina) for the 2012 field season. They will be collecting fossils at several Patagonian formations, including the Tufolitas Laguna del Hunco (Early Eocene), and Lefipán (Maastrichtian, Upper Cretaceous).
This is the first paleobotanical trip for Ms. Dawkins, an undergraduate student at Dr. Gandolfo’s lab, that is working on the fossil record of monocots as part of a REU grant.
Dr. Elzabeth Hermsen left in August to become an Assistant Professor at Ohio University, Athens in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology. She will continue to collaborate with Dr. Gandolfo on the Patagonian Paleofloras project and the web page as well. Congratulations Liz!
Drs. Hermsen and Gandolfo just returned from the International Organization of Paleobotany Congress that was held in Tokyo during August 23-30.
They presented three invited contributions. They co-authored two contributions (“Fossil fruits of Engelhardioideae: Exploring the Patagonia-Northern Hemisphere connection in the fossil record” and “The merging Patagonian fossil record of Cunoniaceae and its biogeographical significance) at the Tracing the history of extant angiosperm clades with paleobotanical data symposium.
They also presented a talk titled “Aquatic plant communities from the Upper Cretaceous La Colonia Formation, Patagonia, Argentina” with Dr. Cúneo and Ms. Gallego in the Southern Hemisphere floras: unique insights into the biology and ecology of Southern Hemisphere ecosystems symposium.
Other contribution to this project was presented by Dr Cuneo in co-authorship with Ms. Martinez and Drs. Gandolfo, Scasso and Escapa. This report was on “New discoveries of Late Cretaceous floras from Northern Patagonia, Argentina”.
Dr. Hermsen recently participated in the Botany 2012 meetings in Columbus, Ohio. She presented a talk “Marsileaceaephyllum leaflets and associated sporocarps and spores from the Cañadón del Irupé locality, Upper Cretaceous La Colonia Formation, Chubut Province, Argentina” with Dr. Gandolfo and Dr. N. R Cuneo (MEF, Trelew, Argentina) and a poster “A planned database for vetted fossil calibrations” with Dr. Gandolfo. Ms. Julieta Gallego presented her research on the presence of fossils assigned to the family Araceae from the La Colonia Formation titled “Aroid fossils from Patagonia, Argentina (Campanian-Maastrichtian): phylogenetic implications in the origin of free-floating aquatic aroids”. Other contributions to this project were presented by Drs. Cuneo and Wilf, and Ms. Camila Martínez:
“First fossil record of the aquatic fern Regnellidium in the Late Cretaceous of South America.”
“Angiosperm fossil leaves with preserved cuticles from the Lefipan Formation, Late Cretaceous, Patagonia, Argentina”
“Eocene rainforest conifers of the Patagonian fire lakes.”
Marantha Dawkins, our work study undergraduate student, is now a participant in the Collaborative Research: From Acorus to Zingiber - Assembling the Phylogeny of the Monocots project. She will be working on extant and fossil monocot leaves as part of a NSF- REU grant.
We are very happy she decided to joint us in this effort. Welcome to the team Marantha!
Welcome Griselda! Dr. Griselda Puebla, an Argentinean Postdoctoral Associate from the Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales, Centro Científico Tecnológico Mendoza, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) Argentina, has joined our lab. She will be spending the next two months working on the aquatic ferns and angiosperms of the Aptian La Cantera Fm, San Luis Province, Argentina. This trip was made possible through a fellowship from the CONICET.
Lab members visited a “corpse flower,” or Amorphophallus titanum, that is producing a rare bloom at Cornell University.
"CREDIT: Jason Koski / Cornell University Photography Copyright Cornell University"
Two new papers related to the Patagonian Paleofloras project were published this month and each received the cover of a journal.
The first is “Testing the impact of calibration on molecular divergence times using a fossil-rich group: the case of Nothofagus (Fagales),” by first author Dr. Hervé Sauquet of the Université Paris-Sud and colleagues from the United States and Australia. This paper received the cover of Systematic Biology, with an image by our colleague Dr. Peter Wilf of Penn State.
The second, “Rainforest conifers of Eocene Patagonia: attached cones and foliage of the extant southeast Asian and Australasian genus Dacrycarpus (Podocarpaceae),” was sole-authored by Dr. Peter Wilf in this month’s issue of American Journal of Botany. This paper also received the cover, with an image of Dacrycarpus puertae from Laguna del Hunco. It was named after MEF (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, Argentina) staff member Pablo Puerta.
During February, Drs. Gandolfo and Zamaloa, visited the CADIC (Centro Austral de Investigaciones Cientificas) in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Major goals of this visit were to study the paleobotanical collections and work with Dr. Olivero on the geology of the island.
Drs. Gandolfo and Zamaloa have been working on Tertiary sediments of Tierra del Fuego since 1990 and they are planning a collection trip to the north of the island to again sample the Cullen and Carmen Silva Formations.
A new display on the Patagonian fossil floras is in the display-case near the Bailey Hortorium elevator in Mann Library. Stop by and take a look!
Welcome Julieta! Julieta Gallego, an Argentinean graduate student from the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio has joined our lab. She will be spending a year working on monocot and gymnosperms fossils. She has a fellowship from the Argentinean Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica and the MEF.
Dr. Ari Iglesias has received First Special Mention Premio Estímulo "Fundación Museo de La Plata Francisco Pascasio Moreno" . This prize honors young researchers. Our most sincere congratulations, Ari!
Dr. Gandolfo will be teaching Histology of Plant Model Organisms this coming semester (Spring 2012). More information on the class can be found here.
The Laguna del Hunco Eucalyptus fossils are featured in the Fall 2011 issue of CALS News. See the highlight here.
Trip to Visit Argentinian Fossil Collections
Dr. Gandolfo and Dr. Hermsen have recently returned from a two-week trip to visit collections at the Museo Paleontológico Edigio Feruglio (MEF) and the Museo de La Plata in Argentina. Their report is here.
New Graduate Student
M. Sc. Mónica Carvalho has enrolled at Cornell as a graduate student in the Department of Plant Biology this year. She comes to Cornell from Penn State University, where she worked with Dr. Peter Wilf, a principal investigator on the Patagonian Paleofloras project. Mónica will be joining the lab of Dr. Kevin Nixon here at Cornell.
Dr. Gandolfo and Dr. Hermsen participated in the XVIII International Botanical Congress from July 23-30, 2011. Dr. Gandolfo organized a symposium with Dr. Michael Bayly of the University of Melbourne and Dr. Hermsen organized another with Dr. Maria del Carmen Zamaloa of the University of Buenos Aires. We would like to thank all participants in our symposia for contributing to their success!
In addition to organizing symposia, Dr. Gandolfo and Dr. Hermsen each gave a presentation. Dr. Gandolfo presented our latest findings on the 52-million-year-old Eucalyptus fossils from the Laguna del Hunco paleoflora of Patagonia in a symposium organized by Dr. Dorothy Steane of the University of Tasmania. Dr. Hermsen presented new research on fossil fruits of the walnut family (Juglandaceae) from the Laguna del Hunco flora in her own symposium.
Talks related to the Patagonian Paleofloras project were also given by our collaborators Dr. Peter Wilf and Dr. Kevin Nixon, as well as graduate student Ms. Monica Carvalho. The abstracts for all talks can be viewed through the Patagonian Paleofloras abstract page. The full abstract volume is available as a pdf on the IBC website: http://ibc2011.com.
Finally, Dr. Hermsen, Dr. Gandolfo, and coauthors, and Dr. Ignacio Escapa of the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio and coauthors each presented digital posters related to the Patagonian Paleofloras project. These posters can be viewed on-line for a limited time at the IBC digital poster website: http://www.ibc2011.digitalposter.com.au. Login using the username “ibc2011” and the password “ibc2011,” then search for the posters using the last name of the first author (“Hermsen” or “Escapa”).
The Eucalyptus fossils were featured in the Cornell Chronicle. See the article here.
We're in the news! See article here.
We are happy to announce the publication of our newest paper on the Laguna del Hunco paleoflora, “Oldest Eucalyptus macrofossils are from South America,” in the on-line, open-access (free) journal PLoS One. Take a moment to read the original paper here and read a simplified summary of our findings with a short history of Eucalyptus in South America here.
Congratulations to Mary Futey! Mary received a M. S. degree during Cornell University's convocation this past Sunday. We all wish her the best in her career.
Congratulations to Dr. E. Hermsen! Liz has being featured in the last issue of CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) newsletter for her field work experience in Patagonia, Argentina. See the article here.
3/14/11The International Botanical Congress will be held in Melbourne, Australia from July 23 to 30, 2011.
Drs. Hermsen and Zamaloa (Universidad de Buenos Aires) are the organizers of the symposium:
"Cenozoic Paleofloras of the Southern Hemisphere: Analyzing Ancient Floras Using Modern Techniques"
Drs. Gandolfo and Bayly (University of Melbourne) are the conveners of the symposium:
"Patterns and processes in the evolution and biogeography of the Australasian flora".
2010 Field Work
From the November 24 to December 3, 2010, Dr. María Gandolfo and Dr. Elizabeth Hermsen visited Cretaceous and Paleogene fossil localities in Chubut Province, Argentina, along with staff of the Museum Paleontológico Edigio Feruglio Dr. Rubén Cúneo (Principal Investigator), Dr. Marcelo Krause, and Mr. Pablo Puerta; student Ms. Julieta Gallego; and Dr. Ari Iglesias (Principal Investigator) of the Universidad de la Plata. Localities included La Colonia, Lefipán, Laguna del Hunco , and others. View a selection of images here.