La Società Paleontologica Italiana (SPI) ha bandito per il 2021 due borse di studio per finanziare soggiorni di studio e ricerca all’estero, comprendenti soggiorni presso laboratori scientifici, visite presso musei oppure attività di terreno. Le borse, dell’importo di 2000 Euro ciascuna, sono riservate ai Soci SPI (dottorandi, neodottorati senza contratto e post-doc).
Sono pervenute dodici candidature. Il Consiglio SPI dopo aver esaminato con attenzione i progetti di ricerca e il curriculum scientifico dei candidati, ha deciso di finanziare i progetti di Alessandro Carniti e Alessio Iannucci, evidenziando la qualità, l’originalità e la fattibilità economica dei loro progetti. Il Consiglio ringrazia anche gli altri candidati i cui progetti dimostrano l’alta qualità della ricerca dei giovani paleontologi italiani.
Di seguito vengono riportati i riassunti dei progetti presentati dai due vincitori.
Upper Visean brachiopods in the Natural History Museum, London: taxonomic revision, biostratigraphy and palaeoecology
Brachiopod-rich mud mounds are widespread in the upper Visean (upper Mississippian) of England. The applicant’s PhD research project is focused to the taxonomic and palaeoecological study of such faunas in the mounds from the Derbyshire Carbonate Platform.
Mississippian brachiopods from the British Islands have been extensively studied since the late XVIII century, but many genera and species described in the XIX century are in need of revision. In order to perform a robust taxonomic study of the Derbyshire mound brachiopods, the revision of several taxa is mandatory. This will be achieved during a visit of six weeks at the Natural History Museum in London, which hosts the type series of most Mississippian British brachiopod taxa. Revision of Mississippian brachiopod genera will also allow to better constrain biostratigraphic schemes at the Visean-Serpukhovian boundary, which still lacks a formal definition.
Moreover, particular attention will be paid to NHM brachiopod collections from upper Visean Cracoean framework reef belts in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, in order to understand differences with mud mound faunas. This will allow to characterize the palaeoenvironmental parameters (e.g. substrate, hydrodynamic energy, nutrient levels) controlling the distribution of brachiopod faunas in the Mississippian.
Fossil Suidae from Italy – Old collections and new perspectives
The Suidae family comprises animals well known in the collective imagination, such as the wild boar and the warthog, but also a heterogeneous array of extinct forms. Most of these species experimented rapid (over geological time) episodes of diversification which, in addition to the importance for the evolution of the group, are of great interest for biochronological applications and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Paradoxically, however, in Europe the studies undertaken already in the first half of the XIX century have sometimes led to the erroneous identification of evolutionary trends, or even worse to the inclusion of remains of different species under the same name, with negative effects that in some cases still persist today.
In this framework, the project aims at an updated synthesis of the systematics and evolution of Italian fossil Suidae, integrating modern analyses with the revision of historical collections. The reference role of the Italian fossil record in the research on this taxonomic group, and the natural position of biogeographic crossroad of our territory in the Mediterranean area, highlight the European dimension of this objective.