Paleoenvironments, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography of late cretaceous (campanian) faunas from the Kristianstad basin, southern Sweden, with applications for science education

Detta är en avhandling från Lund : Lunds universitet

Sammanfattning: This thesis is thematically divided into two sections: Part1 presents studies related to the palaeoenvironments,palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography of the LateCretaceous (Campanian) faunas from the KristianstadBasin of southern Sweden; Part 2 reports on applicationsof palaeontological research for science education inschools.Part 1 was based on personally conducted fieldworkand biostratigraphical analysis at various Santonian-Campanian localities throughout Skåne. However, themost complete section at Åsen provided the primary datasource and was systematically excavated with a team ofvolunteers, who employed wet-sieving methods to extractbulk fossil material from each bed within the sequence. Aseries of globally correlated temperature-induced changeswas detected in the stepwise declining abundanceand disappearance of rudists, sclerorhynchids and therajiforms Rhinobatos and Squatirhina, as well as marinecrocodilians, various mosasaurid lizard taxa. A rangeof local palaeoenvironments were also reconstructed,including estuaries, rocky coastlines, sandy beaches,drowned river valleys, shallow neritic settings, anddeeper offshore conditions. An archipelago bordering theFennoscandian landmasses also supported continentalecosystems comprising ferns, conifers and early floweringplants, with dinosaurs, pterosaurs and non-marine turtles.Trophic levels within the marine system incorporatedred algae and dinoflagellates as primary producers, withcorals, brachiopods, bivalves, echinoids, barnacles anddecapod crustaceans as benthos, and belemnites withinthe water column. Actinopterygian fish, sharks, rays andchimaeroids, chelonioid sea turtles, marine crocodilians,polycotylid and elasmosaurid plesiosaurians, variousmosasaurids and aquatic hesperornithiform birdscollectively represented middle level and apex predators.Herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs, lizards and softshelledtryonichid turtles evidence elements of terrestrialisland communities. The palaeobiogeographicalrelationships and dispersal of these local assemblageswas probably influenced by marine transgressions andregressions. These would have affected habitat availabilityand connectivity via changing water depths.Part 2 presents three school education projects aimed atincreasing awareness of geoscience and natural history inschools. The better integration of geological time conceptsand geosciences into the Swedish school curriculum isalso discussed. The first study described a project wherebyfossils were found in the sandboxes in preschools, andtheir use as a tool for learning about dinosaurs, fossilsand natural history. A survey of teachers and childrenfound that both increased their knowledge base throughthis approach, and that the local context of the fossilsin particular generated interest about the subject. Theconcepts of geological time was similarly addressed in thesecond study, which utilized timescale projects and otherhands-on activities to create memory triggers for childrenand students, and to demonstrate how the perspective of‘deep time’ is relevant for understanding large-scale Earthprocesses, such as evolution and environmental change.The integration of geosciences into the Swedish schoolcurriculum is currently inadequate. Therefore, the finalpaper in this sequence discusses how geosciences forman interdisciplinary bridge between school subjects andcan be used to teach geography and biology at all schoollevels.

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