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Dr Björn Berning


BjoernBerning

Institute for Earth Sciences
University of Graz
Heinrichstr. 26
8010 Graz
Austria

phone:    +43-(0)316-380-8731
fax:        +43-(0)316-380-9871
email:     bjoern.berning@uni-graz.at








Research Interests and Projects

Temperate carbonates are widespread sediments in the Cenozoic non-tropical realm and have only in the last two decades received appreciable scientific attention. I am especially interested in the paleoenvironment, faunal composition and diagenesis of these high-latitude limestones. During a half-year stay in New Zealand I studied the Eocene/Oligocene Ototara Limestone in collaboration with Daphne Lee, Ewan Fordyce and Abby Smith (all University of Otago). Offshore samples of fossil carbonates from the Chatham Rise, recovered on RV SONNE cruise 168, will allow me to address questions concerning constructive/destructive marine diagenesis in temperate waters.
During my PhD project I was part of Christian Betzler's basin analysis working group at the University of Hamburg. Together with Juan Carlos Braga, Pepe Martín and Julio Aguirre (Universidad de Granada) we studied the depositional environment of Neogene limestone successions in several intramontane basins in Andalucía, southern Spain.


Bryozoans
are one of the main carbonate producers in temperate waters and, owing to their predominantly calcitic skeletons, have a relatively complete fossil record (learn more about bryozoans). Depending on various ecological factors, such as water energy or sedimentation rate, different colonial growth-forms are (more or less) restricted to certain habitats; bryozoans can therefore be used as a tool in paleoenvironmental interpretation. While using such a growth-form analysis to unravel the genesis of the Ototara Limestone during my Diplomarbeit I switched to systematics in my PhD project. In cooperation with Pierre Moissette (Université de Lyon) I investigated the evolution and paleobiogeography of bryozoans around the Messinian salinity crisis in several southern Spanish basins. Another focus of attention was, and still is, the Pliocene successions around Castell'Arquato in northern Italy, which yield perfectly preserved fossils, enabling Claudio Pizzaferri (Parma) and me to describe these species in fine detail (see photo of Cupuladria cavernosa below).

Cupuladria cavernosaDue to the fact that most cheilostomate bryozoans brood their larvae, these spend only a short time in the water column before settlement. The range of larval dispersal is therefore relatively restricted and dependent on habitat-parallel currents, which facilitates to establish (palaeo-) biogeographic realms at various scales and to reconstruct migration routes. I am especially interested in changes in the environment and faunal composition of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea during the Pliocene to Recent, and the role of humans in shaping modern biogeography.

Another project concerning Recent Bryozoa aims at qualifying and quantifying the distribution, ecology and carbonate production of Mediterranean bryozoans off Cabo de Gata (SE Spain) in a project led by J.C. Braga (Universidad de Granada). I am furthermore interested in northern Atlantic seamount faunas and, together with Beate Bader (Universität Kiel) and Jean-George Harmelin (Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille), currently describe bryozoans from the Great Meteor Bank and surrounding areas.


The current project (FWF P18189 to Werner Piller) aims at reconstructing faunal gradients and biogeographic patterns in the western Indo-Pacific during the Oligo-Miocene. Sampling in Oman, Iran, Pakistan and Tanzania will allow us to identify latitudinal changes in palaeoenvironmental conditions during closure of the circum-tropical Tethyan Ocean. Furthermore, faunal assemblages of the Indo-Pacific will be contrasted with those of the Paratethys in order to establish biogeographic boundaries and directions of palaeocurrents. The western Indian Ocean is a mare incognitum as concerns knowledge on both fossil and Recent bryozoan faunas, and our project therefore vital for our understanding of the evolution and biogeographic distribution of modern bryozoans in this region. The abundant occurrence of diverse assemblages of larger foraminifera in the limestones is a welcome side-effect to assess the utilisation of their tests as substrate by bryozoans, thus tracing back the origin of encrusting bryozoans as part of the subtidal meiofauna.

I am a member of the International Bryozoology Association, Paläontologische Gesellschaft, International Biogeography Society, Geologische Vereinigung, and the Giordano Bruno Stiftung.

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Schedocleidochasma porcellanum


Publications



Berning, B. accepted. Evidence for sublethal predation and regeneration among living and fossil ascophoran bryozoans.
Virginia Museum of Natural History Press, Special Publication.
Berning, B., Reuter, M., Piller, W.E., Harzhauser, M., Kroh, A., submitted. Larger foraminifera as substrate for encrusting
bryozoans (Late Oligocene, Tethyan Seaway, Iran): abundantly present but rarely utilised. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
Berning, B., Tilbrook, K.J. & Rosso, A. accepted. Revision of the north-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean species of the
genera Herentia and Therenia (Bryozoa, Cheilostomata). Journal of Natural History.

Aguirre, J., Martín, J.M., Braga, J.C., Betzler, C., Berning, B. & Buckeridge, J.S. 2008. Densely packed concentrations of
acorn barnacles (Cirripedia: Sessilia) from the Early Pliocene of SE Spain. Facies. doi:10.1007/s10347-007-0132-2
Berning, B. & Kuklinski, P. 2008. North-east Atlantic and Mediterranean species of the genus Buffonellaria (Bryozoa,
Cheilostomata): implications for biodiversity and biogeography. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 152(3): 537-566. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00379.x
Reuter, M., Piller, W.E., Harzhauser, M., Mandic, O., Berning, B., Rögl, F., Kroh, A., Aubry, M.-P., Wielandt-Schuster, U. &
Hamedani, A. 2008. The Oligo-/Miocene Qom Formation (Iran) - evidence for an early Burdigalian restriction of the Tethyan Seaway and closure of its Iranian gateways. International Journal of Earth Sciences. doi:10.1007/s00531-007-0269-9

Berning, B. 2007. The Mediterranean bryozoan Myriapora truncata (Pallas, 1766): a potential indicator of (palaeo-)
environmental conditions. Lethaia 40: 221-232. doi:10.1111/j.1502-3931.2007.00019.x
Harzhauser, M., Kroh, A., Mandic, O., Piller, W.E., Göhlich, U., Reuter, M., Berning, B. 2007. Biogeographic responses to
geodynamics: a key study all around the Oligo-Miocene Tethyan Seaway. Zoologischer Anzeiger 246(4): 241-256. doi:10.1016/j.jcz.2007.05.001
Pizzaferri, C. & Berning, B. 2007. Taxonomic notes on some cheilostome Bryozoa from the Pliocene of the Western Emilia
region (N Italy). Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 113(1): 97-108.

Berning, B. 2006. The cheilostome bryozoan fauna from the Late Miocene of Niebla (Guadalquivir Basin, SW Spain):
environmental and biogeographic implications. Mitteilungen aus dem Geologisch-Paläontologischen Institut der Universität Hamburg 90: 7-156. (PDF-file, 15 MB)
Geldmacher, J., Hoernle, K., Klügel, A., van den Bogaard, P., Wombacher, F. & Berning, B. 2006. Origin and geochemical
evolution of the Madeira-Tore Rise (eastern North Atlantic). Journal of Geophysical Research (Solid Earth) 111: B09206, doi:10.1029/2005JB003931.

Berning, B., Moissette, P. & Betzler, C. 2005. Late Miocene Bryozoa from the Guadalquivir Basin (SW Spain): eastern Atlantic
and western Mediterranean environment and biogeography. In: Moyano, H.I., Cancino, J.M. & Wyse Jackson, P.N. (eds), Bryozoan Studies 2004. Balkema, Leiden, p. 15-24.

Berning, B. 2003. Sediment sampling. In: Hoernle, K., Mortimer, N., Werner, R. & Hauff, F. (eds), RV SONNE Cruise
SO168 - ZEALANDIA, December 03, 2002 - January 16, 2003. Geomar Report 113: 102-105.
Löffler, S., Hoffmann, L., Berning, B. & Imholz, P. 2003. Biology. In: Hemleben, C., Hoernle, K., Jørgensen, B.B. & Roether,
W. (eds), Ostatlantik - Mittelmeer - Schwarzes Meer, Cruise No. 51, 12. September - 28. December 2001. METEOR-Berichte 03-1: 1/26-1/28.
Neuhaus, B., Lüter, C., Berning, B. & Hoffmann, J. 2003. Biology. In: Hoernle, K., Mortimer, N., Werner, R. & Hauff, F. (eds),
RV SONNE Cruise Report SO168 - ZEALANDIA, December 03, 2002 - January 16, 2003. Geomar Report 113: 106-110.
Reicherter, K., Berning, B. & Betzler, C. 2003. Sedimentology. In: Hemleben, C., Hoernle, K., Jørgensen, B.B. & Roether, W.
(eds), Ostatlantik - Mittelmeer - Schwarzes Meer, Cruise No. 51, 12. September - 28. December 2001. METEOR-Berichte 03-1: 1/22-1/25.
 

Conference Abstracts (presentation type)

Berning, B. 2007. Fossil vs. Recent bryozoan faunas: estimating the impact of humans on modern species distributions. 1st
International Palaeobiogeography Symposium, Paris 10.-13. July 2007 - Abstracts. p. 13. (oral)
Berning, B. 2007. Miocene, Pliocene, Anthropocene: contrasting biogeographic patterns and processes. Abstracts with Program:
14th Meeting of the International Bryozoology Association, Boone, North Carolina, July 1-6, 2007, p. 3 (oral)
Berning, B. 2007. Pliocene vs. Anthropocene - Evolution of biogeographic patterns and processes in marine Bryozoa.
International Biogeography Society. Third Biennial Conference, January 9-13, 2007, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, p. 143. (poster)
Berning, B., Bader, B., Kuklinski, P. & Tilbrook, K.J. 2007. On Buffonellaria, some Escharinidae, and something completely
different. International Bryozoology Association: VII Larwood Meeting, Naples - 2nd February 2007, Abstracts, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, p. 17. (oral)
Berning, B., Harzhauser, M., Piller, W.E., Mandic, O., Kroh, A. & Reuter, M. 2007. Biotic interchange via the Oligo-Miocene
Tethyan Seaway: approaching the Terminal Tethyan Event. 1st International Palaeobiogeography Symposium, Paris 10.-13. July 2007 - Abstracts. p. 14. (oral)
Berning, B., Piller, W.E., Harzhauser, M., Mandic, O., Kroh, A. & Reuter, M. 2007. Oligo-Miocene origination of the
Atlantic-Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific biogeographic provinces. International Biogeography Society. Third Biennial Conference, January 9-13, 2007, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, p. 143. (poster)
Harzhauser, M., Piller, W.E., Mandic, O., Kroh, A., Reuter, M. & Berning, B. 2007. Paleogeography versus Paleobiogeography:
the rise of the western Indo-Pacific bioprovince predates the Terminal Tethyan Event. Tagung der Gesellschaft für biologische Systematik, 20.-23.02.2007, Vienna.
Schneider, S., Berning, B., Bitner, M.A., Carriol, R.-P., Jäger, M., Kriwet, J., Kroh, A. & Werner, W. 2007. A unique late
Burdigalian paleocommunity from the Upper Marine Molasse (Gurlarn near Passau) - macrobenthic invertebrate and fish fauna. In: Elicki, O. & Schneider, J.W. Fossile Ökosysteme. 77. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft. Kurzfassungen der Vorträge und Poster. Wissenschaftliche Mitteilungen der Universität Freiberg 36: 125.
Berning, B. 2006. Pliozäne bis rezente Bryogeographie des Ostatlantiks und Mittelmeeres: natürliche Muster und anthropogene
Einflüsse. In: Schäfer, P., Kinkel, H. & Bader, B., 76. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft. Berichte-Reports, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Kiel 22: 5-6. (poster)
Berning, B. 2006. Late Neogene bryogeography of southern Spain revisited. Abstracts International Bryozoology Association:
Larwood Meeting, Trinity College, Dublin - 10th March 2006, p. 4. (oral)
Berning, B. & Taylor, P.D. 2006. Pliocene to Recent bryogeography of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea: natural
patterns and human impact. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter 63: 44. (poster)
Kroh, A., Harzhauser, M., Piller, W., Reuter, M., Mandic, O. & Berning, B. 2006. Von Acroporen-Teppichen und
Elefantenmuscheln. Oberoligozäne Karbonate der Arabischen Platte und ihre Bedeutung für die Entstehung der Indopazifischen Faunenprovinz. In: Harzhauser, M., Wanzenböck, G. & Zuschin, M. (eds), 12. Jahrestagung der Österreichischen Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Tagungsprogramm, Abstracts, Exkursionen. Eigenverlag, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, p. 23.
Piller, W.E., Harzhauser, M., Kroh, A., Reuter, M. & Berning, B. 2006. Faunal gradients and biogeographic patterns in the Oligo-
Miocene of the western Indo-Pacific: insights from the Arabian Peninsula. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter 63: 67.
Reuter, M., Piller, W., Harzhauser, M., Kroh, A., Mandic, O. & Berning, B. 2006. Faunengradienten im Oligo/Miozän des
westlichen Indopazifiks: erste Ergebnisse aus dem Oman. In: Schäfer, P., Kinkel, H. & Bader, B., 75. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft. Berichte-Reports, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Kiel 22: 108-109.
Reuter, M., Piller, W., Harzhauser, M., Kroh, A., Mandic, O. & Berning, B. 2006. Flachmarine Faunen aus dem Oman und ihre
Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der indopazifischen Faunenprovinz im Oligo/Miozän. In: Tessadri-Wackerle, M. (ed.), PANGEO Austria. Innsbruck University Press, p. 279-280.
Berning, B. 2005. Looking in from outside the goldfish bowl: Mediterranean Neogene biogeography of bryozoans from an
Atlantic point of view. Patterns and Processes in the Neogene of the Mediterranean Region. 12th Congress R.C.M.N.S., 06.-11. September, Vienna. Program, Abstracts, Participants. pp. 24-25. (oral)
Berning, B. & Betzler, C. 2005. Exploring the third dimension: the success of Cenozoic Bryozoa. Evolution of Carbonate
Systems During the Oligo-Miocene Climatic Transition. ESF (LESC) Exploratory Workshop, 22.-26. February, Potsdam. Abstract Book. 1 p., not paginated. (poster)
Aguirre, J., Martín, J.M., Braga, J.C., Betzler, C. & Berning, B. 2004. Pavimentos de balánidos en depósitos del Plioceno
inferior de las cuencas de Almería-Níjar y Carboneras (SE de España). Jornadas de la Sociedad Española de Paleontología 20: 17-18.
Berning, B. 2004. Contrasting Late Miocene bryozoan faunas from the eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean: implications
for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and the species concept in Bryozoa. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter 57: 111. (oral)
Berning, B., Aguirre, J., Braga, J.C., Martín, J.M. & Betzler, C. 2004. An extraordinary barnamol faunal assemblage from the
Lower Pliocene of the Carboneras Basin, SE Spain. In: Reitner, J, Reich, M. & Schmidt, G. (eds), Geobiologie. 74. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Göttingen, 02. bis 08. Oktober 2004. Kurzfassungen der Vorträge und Poster. Universitätsdruck Göttingen, p. 57. (poster)
Berning, B., Aguirre, J., Martín, J.M., Braga, J.C. & Betzler, C. 2004. A rolling stone gathers no moss animals!? The
Palaeontological Association Newsletter 57: 141. (poster)
Berning, B., Betzler, C. & Bandel, K. 2004. Marine Umweltbedingungen des ostatlantisch-mediterranen Raumes vor Beginn der
Messinischen Salinitätskrise: bryozoologische Erkenntnisse. In: Kukla, P., Littke, R., Stollhofen, H. & Schwarzer, D. (eds),
Sediment 2004: Kurzfassungen und Exkursionsführer. Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft 33:24. (oral)
Berning, B., Moissette, P., Bandel, K. & Betzler, C. 2004. Die Bryozoenfauna von Niebla (Guadalquivir Becken, SW Spanien):
Biogeographie und Environment des ostatlantisch-mediterranen Raumes im Obermiozän. In: Reitner, J., Reich, M. & Schmidt, G. (eds), Geobiologie. 74. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Göttingen, 02. bis 08. Oktober 2004. Kurzfassungen der Vorträge und Poster. Universitätsdruck Göttingen, p. 58. (oral)
Berning, B., Moissette, P. & Betzler, C. 2003. Late Neogene bryogeography of southern Spain. In: Moyano, H.I., Cancino, J.M.
& Orellana, M.C. (eds), Boletín de la Sociedad de Biología de Concepción 74: 40-41. (oral, keynote speaker)
Berning, B. 2002. Microfacies and palaeoenvironment of the Eocene-Oligocene non-tropical Ototara Limestone, New Zealand.
In: Hüssner, H., Hinderer, M., Götz, A.E. & Petschick, R. (eds), Sediment 2002: Abstracts and Programme. Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft 17: 35-36. (oral)

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Murinopsia francqua

Short Curriculum
  • May 2006: Visiting Fellow at the NHM London (SYNTHESYS travel grant GB-TAF-1381).
  • since February 2006:  Postdoc Research Fellow at the University of Graz (FWF Project P18189 to Werner Piller).
  • December 2005:  PhD, University of Hamburg, thesis title: "The late Tortonian cheilostome Bryozoa from Niebla (Guadalquivir Basin, SW Spain): implications for Atlantic-Mediterranean environment and biogeography during the late Neogene" (download at: http://www.sub.uni-hamburg.de/opus/frontdoor.php?source_opus=2766).
  • September to October 2005: one month stay at the Universidad de Granada, Spain.
  • October 2005 to January 2006:  Research Assistant, University of Hamburg (DFG Project Re1361/4 to Klaus Reicherter).
  • April 2004 to July 2005:  Research Assistant, University of Hamburg (DFG Project Be1272/13 to Christian Betzler).
  • October 2003: one month stay at the Université de Lyon, France (DAAD grant).
  • December 2002/January 2003:  participation in SONNE 168 cruise (http://www.ifm-geomar.de/div/projects/zealandia/).
  • October 2001 to November 2003:  PhD student, University of Hamburg.
  • September/October 2001:  participation in METEOR 51/1 cruise (http://www.ifm-geomar.de/index.php?id=vulkosa).
  • March 2001:  Diplom, University of Hamburg, thesis title: "Geology and microfacies analysis of the non-tropical Ototara Limestone: paleoenvironment of an Eocene-Oligocene volcanogenic/biogenic succession from North Otago, New Zealand".
  • February to June 2000:  DipSci student at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
  • 1994 to 2001:  student of Geology and Palaeontology, University of Hamburg.
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