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UPPER PALEOZOIC PROJECT

This project conducts an integrative and detailed study of the marine fauna and continental flora foun in the Upper Paleozoic of Patagonia. The marine invertebrates studied in this project are different groups of molluscs and brachiopods, which are key for the development of biostratigraphic and paleobiogeographic schemes. The study of the faunal associations of these deposits and their relationships with the depositional environment also provides clues to understand the paleocology and paleoclimatology of marine environments during the Late Paleozoic. In this way, this project aims to understand the role of the marine faunas from Patagonia within a Gondwanan context, providing key information for biostratrigraphic ad paleobiogeographic hypotheses of this period.

This project includes specialists of different taxonomic groups from the MEF as well as from other institutions of Argentina and abroad. Financial support for this project is give by ANPCyT (PICT 2005-33080), CONICET, and the Fundación Egidio Feruglio.

 

MEF staff participating in this project:

Dr. M. Alejandra Pagani

Dr. N. Rubén Cúneo

Dr. Ignacio H. Escapa

Lic. Julieta Gallego

Projects

AND PUBLICATIONS

 

Current research projects at the MEF are focused on the discovery and study of fossils found in the highly fossiliferous deposits of Argentina, in particular those of Patagonia. These studies provide new knowledge for understanding the natural heritage of this region, which reaches the general audience through the exhibits and the education programs developed at the MEF. The MEF is conducting integrative projects to understand the basic biotic and ecological characteristics of Patagonia in different stages of its geological history:

 

Publications

The results of these projects are frequently published in different scientific journals from Argentina and abroad. Among these journals, MEF scientists have recently published in high-impact journals such as Nature, Science, PNAS, etc.

CRETACEOUS PROJECT

This project aims to study the major group of reptiles (dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, lizards), aiming to understand the phylogenetic relationships of these taxa within the context of the Cretaceous fauna of Gondwana. Studies on fossil traces from the Cretaceous continental deposits are also in development to understand the environment of these Cretaceous ecosystems.

This project focuses on the sedimentary rocks of the Chubut Group in the center, north and west of the Chubut Province. A paleoenvironmental and lithostratigraphic revision of this group is also being conducted in the localities that have provided significant fossil vertebrates and traces that will help to develop a biostratigraphical scheme for this unit in the future.

This project includes specialists of different taxonomic groups from the MEF as well as from other institutions of Argentina and abroad. Financial support for this project is give by the Jurassic Foundation (Research grants 2006-2007, 2009-2010) and by ANPCyT (PICT-1972).

 

MEF staff participating in this project:

Dr. Diego Pol

Dr. Juliana Sterli

Dr. José Luis Carballido

Dr. Marcelo Krause

Dr. Luis Miguel Sender

JURASSIC PROJECT

The study of the Jurassic vertebrates in this project is focused on the record of the major groups of continental tetrapods from Patagonia (dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodiles, mammals, anurans), aiming to understand their phylogenetic relationships of these clades and their biogeographical significance.

The study of the Jurassic floras of Chubut Province of this project includes the megaflora (leaves, cones, wood, etc.) and the microflora (pollen). Special emphasis is given in the biostratigraphic and paleoecological aspects of these floras, as well as understanding the phylogenetic relationships of particular groups, such as the conifer family Araucariaceae.

The study of the marine invertebrates from the Early Jurassic includes an integral analysis of the gastropods, bivalves, and ammonoids. In this way, these studies aim to understand the faunal dynamics of the Jurassic deposits from Chubut and their relationship with the fauna from other regions of Patagonia (Neuquen Basin) and the rest of the world. Thus, these studies also analyze the biostratigraphic, paleobiogeographic, and paleoecological aspects of Early Jurassic marine faunas.

This project includes specialists of different taxonomic groups from the MEF as well as from other institutions of Argentina and abroad. Financial support for this project is give by ANPCyT (PICT 2006-1756, PICT 2006 -1516) y DFG (Germany).

 

MEF staff participating in this project:

Dr. Rubén Cúneo

Dr. Diego Pol

Dr. Ignacio Escapa

Dr. Juliana Sterli

Dr. Alejandra Pagani

Dr. José Luis Carballido

Lic. Marcos Becerra

NEW CROPS FOR ARID LANDS PROJECT

This project is focused to the domestication of four genera that produce secondary metabolites: Grindelia (Asteraceae); Lesquerella (Brassicaceae); Oenothera (Onagraceae), and Prosopis (Fabaceae). We are also working on the development of energy-rich crops and biofuels. The research include botanical, chemical, ecophysiological and agronomic studies.Our major aim is to generate criteria for the domestication of native flora and the development of new crops for arid regions.

In terms of the understanding of ecosystem processes, we are currently working on the fate and role of secondary metabolites after they are released from the plant and reached the soil profile.

The aim of our work is to understand structural and functional characters that result in plant adaptation to arid environments. In particular we are interested in phenotypic plasticity to changes in the availability of  resources, including changes in the pattern of accumulation and partition of biomass, in the life-history, and the balance between growth, defence, and reproduction

 

MEF staff participating in this project:

Dr. Damián A. Ravetta

Dr. Alejandra E. Vilela

Dr. Luciana González-Paleo

Lic. Mercedes Montastruc

Lic. Gabriela Jaramillo

Lic. Wanda Jimena Masnatta

Ms.Cs. Alejandro Pastor-Pastor

 

Collaboration with research groups of abroad includes:  Estación Experimental de Zonas Aridas (Almería-España), University of Arizona (USA), USDA (USA), and Oregon State University (USA).

PALEOGENE PROJECT

The project focuses on the evolution of the fauna and flora in the terrestrial ecosystems and its relationships with climatic change along the Paleogene and early Neogene in Patagonia.

Numerous fossil remains of vertebrates and plants from this time are known from Patagonia, including a surprising diversity of angiosperm plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, and anurans. This project includes systematic and paleobiological studies that aim to understand how the climatic changes recorded in the Paleogene-Neogene in Patagonia affected biotic evolution.

The project also includes research on fossil traces and paleosoils recorded in different basins of Chubut and Santa Cruz provinces. The evolutionary approach to the study of the ichnofauna recorded in Patagonia aims to understand an important part of the Patagonian ecosystems and climate during this period of time.

This project includes specialists of different taxonomic groups from the MEF as well as from other institutions of Argentina.

 

MEF staff participating in this project:

Dr. Ruben Cuneo

Dr. Ignacio Escapa

Dr. Juliana Sterli

Dr. Diego Pol

Dr. María Encarnación Perez

Dr. Marcelo Krause

Dr. Evangelos Vlaches