Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Palaeozoology II

The present research activities are mainly included in the Research Field (RF) IV ‘Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics’ of Senckenberg and there placed in the Research Activity (RA) 4.1 ‘Evolving Earth and Environment’ (EEE). In general, they are conducted together with national and international colleagues and attached to the SDS.

 At present, the main research activities are set on the analysis obtained in two successful bilateral projects between Turkish and German researchers in the Eastern and Central Taurides of Turkey. The projects ‘Devonian Ecosystems and Climate in Turkey’ (DEVEC-TR)‚ and ‘Devonian Cycles and Global Events in the Northern Gondwanan Taurides’ (DECENT) –both were led by Senckenberg resarchers on the German side, the latter by the head of the section – offer a wide spectrum of scientific questions. As the Devonian South of the area bordering the coast of the Black Sea is hardly known, a variety of different topics has been investigated, e.g., basic stratigraphy, facies development, sedimentology, palaeoenvironmental studies in the DEVEC-TR project and studies on sedimentary cycles and global events in the DECENT project. All in all, more than 4,000 m of rock have been investigated – and more than 1,000 samples for different methodology are available. An important result is a correlation scheme in which the sedimentology as well as the facies of the rocks in the different sections is linked to detailed biostratigraphic assignments. In addition, abiotic methods, e. g., dating of zircons – in collaboration with the Senckenberg colleagues from the geochronology lab in Dresden – allows for provenance analyses of the sediment input. In addition, XRF studies by co-workers at Senckenberg am Meer in Wilhelmshaven do also contribute to the interpretation of the source areas of the Devonian rocks in the Taurides.
Some further results from the rich material generated in the two cooperation projects are:
Comparison between the two supercontinents Laurasia and Gondwana applying ostracods from the North of Turkey and from the sections in the Taurides (Nazik et al. 2018). The first record of charophytes in the Palaeozoic of Turkey has been discovered in the Upper Devonian of the Akkuyu Section of the Central Taurides (Feist et al. 2018). And the potential of studies on (now) well-dated Devonian stage boundaries linked to global events could be demonstrated for the Givetian/Frasnian transition in the Kocadere Section (Özkan et al. 2019).

Other research activities of the section (often long-lasting):

Studies on global events in the Devonian do continue and – where possible – are regarded in the light of the ‘time-specific facies’ approach. The Upper Devonian Kellwasser Crisis is an example for this, as comparison of certain facies can be traced over facies boundaries. This includes correlations using element geochemistry, gamma ray, and XRF data from the classical section Steinbruch Schmidt in the Kellerwald area of the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge and sections in Moravia (Weiner et al. 2017).

 In the Harz Mountains, studies concerning the Kellwasser Event are embedded in Senckenberg activities in the geopark ‚Harz · Braunschweiger Land · Ostfalen‘ (e.g., Schindler et al. 2015; Schindler in press).

With respect to the lower Eifelian Choteč Event, studies are currently under way in Europe, Morocco and North America together with German, Czech and American colleagues. First results on the comparison of sections in Bohemia and the Appalachians have been presented (Brocke et al. 2016). Further collaboration together with German and American colleagues exists on the Appalachian Basin dealing with cyclic sedimentation of Emsian and Eifelian rocks. Both studies include comparison of dacryoconarids from Central Europe and the Appalachians carried out with the only North American specialist for this group of fossils.

Another area where cyclic sedimentation of Middle Devonian strata are studied are the Eifel Hills. Again, partners come from Germany and North America. An example from the Hillesheim Syncline is already published demonstrating the potential of comparing palynological methods with measurement of magnetic susceptibility (Brocke et al. 2017); short-term cyclicity could be shown.

In the German Rheinisches Schiefergebirge, the focus lies on siliciclastic sedimentary rocks of the Lower and Middle Devonian of the Rhein/Mosel/Lahn area. An example of integrated research with other Senckenberg scientists (e.g., actuopalaeontology at ‘Senckenberg am Meer’ in Wilhelmshaven), as well as with external colleagues, are investigations of sections in the Mosel Valley and its tributaries. Besides the ”fossil” approach, this project offers the possibility of comparing processes acting in Devonian and in modern environments as well. The German Wadden Sea and the coast of Brittany are key areas for understanding shallow marine to land-sea transitional settings.