News & Views / December 2016

Report from Belgium
by Julien Denayer / 21st November 2016

* I started a project – writes Julien Denayer – aiming to characterize the biodiversity of corals through the Middle Devonian and the effects of several global events on these faunas. Althought I am still working on Carboniferous corals from Belgium (in collaboration with Eddy Poty), Morocco (with Markus Aretz), Eastern Australia (with Gregg Webb) and Turkey.
** In November 2016 a special volume of Geologica Belgica in homage to Eddy Poty (edited by Markus Aretz and myself) has finally been published. It includes several papers on Devonian and Carboniferous corals and a biography of Eddy Poty (see
*** In parallel, I am working on the revision of the Devonian-Carboniferous Boundary, including biostratigraphy of corals accross the boundary.
**** The type and figured materials of the palaeontological collections of the University of Liege are currently being digitalized, the project includes of course all the Devonian and Carboniferous corals published by Eddy Poty and colleagues (numerous references), Jurassic corals published by Maria Lejeune-Carpentier (1935) and Chapuis & Dewalque (1853). The online catalogue is available at It will be emended during the forthcoming months.

My last two years' publications related to corals:

DENAYER J. 2015. Rugose corals at the Tournaisian-Viséan transition in the Central Taurides (S Turkey) – Palaeobiogeography and palaeoceanography of the Gondwana margin. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 98: 371-398.

DENAYER J. 2015. Late Tournaisian rugose corals of NW Turkey: taxonomy, biostratigraphy and palaeobiogeography. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 89, 3: 313-333.

DENAYER J. 2016. Rugose corals across the Devonian-Carboniferous Boundary in NW Turkey. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 61, 1: 51-70.

DENAYER J., ARETZ M., BARCHY L., CHEVALIER E., FISCHER V., HANCE L., MARION J.-M., MOTTEQUIN B. 2016. Edouard Poty: a bio- and bibliography. In: Denayer, J. & Aretz, M. (Eds). Homage to Prof. Edouard Poty: Devonian and Carboniferous research. Geologica Belgica 19, 1: 2-5.

DENAYER J., ARETZ M., POTY E., MOTTEQUIN B. 2016. Royseux: A palaeobiodiversity hotspot in the Late Viséan (Carboniferous) of Belgium. In: Denayer, J. & Aretz, M. (Eds). Homage to Prof. Edouard Poty: Devonian and Carboniferous research. Geologica Belgica 19, 1: 7-20.

DENAYER J., MOTTEQUIN B., PRESTIANNI C. 2015. IGCP596-SDS Symposium, Climate Change and Biodiversity patterns in the Mid-Palaeozoic, Brussels, September 2015, Field guidebooks. STRATA 17, 81 pp.

DENAYER J., OGAR V. 2016. Vassiljukia, a new colonial rugose coral from the early Viséan (Mississippian) of the Donets Basin (Ukraine) and NW Turkey. Comptes rendus Paléovol. 15, 8: 911-917.

DENAYER J., WEBB G. E. 2015. Cionodendron and related lithostrotionid genera from the Mississippian of eastern Australia: systematic, stratigraphy and evolution. Alcheringa 39: 1-62.

Report from Spain
by Sergio Rodriguez / 21st November 2016

* The research group on Carboniferous of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid - writes Sergio Rodriguez - continues working on Mississippian and Pennsylvanian corals. The members of the group are Sergio Rodríguez, Pedro Cózar and Ismael Coronado, plus external collaborators, Ian D. Somerville (University College, Dublin), Javier Sanz and Silvia Blanco (Universidad de Oviedo) and Felipe González (Universidad de Huelva).
** Our previous funded project "Variations in the biodiversity in relationship with palaeoenvironmental changes in Serpukhovian and Bashkirian from Western Palaeotethys" will be completed in December 2016.
*** Our new funded project has been approved already by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity for the period 2017-2020: "Serpukhovian from Western Palaeotethys: climatic changes and their consequences on the palaeodiversity, biostratigraphic, palaeogeographic and environmental aspects".

In the years 2014-2016 our group participated in presentation of the following papers on corals, sponges or reefs:


CORONADO I., RODRIGUEZ S. 2014. Carboniferous auloporids from the Iberian Peninsula: palaeoecology, diversity and spatio-temporal distribution. Journal of Iberian Geology 40, 1: 61-85.

COZAR P., VACHARD D., SOMERVILLE I. D., MEDINA-VAREA P., RODRIGUEZ S., SAID I. 2014. The Tindouf Basin, a marine refuge during the Serpukhovian (Carboniferous) mass extinction in the northwestern Gondwana platform. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 394: 12–28.

COZAR P., GARCIA-FRANK A., SOMERVILLE I. D., VACHARD D., RODRIGUEZ S., MEDINA-VAREA P., SAID I. 2014. Lithofacies and biostratigraphical correlation of marine Carboniferous rocks in the Tindouf BAsin, NW Africa. Facies 60: 941-962.

RODRIGUEZ S. 2014. Los Santos de Maimona: un arrecife del Carbonífero. Memorias de la Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural 12: 73-81.

RODRIGUEZ S., KOPASKA-MERKEL D. C. 2014. Mississippian rugose corals from Alabama: a review. Journal of Paleontology 88, 5: 829-850.


CORONADO I., PEREZ-HUERTA A., RODRIGUEZ S. 2015. Computer-integraded polarisation (CIP) in the analysis of fossils: a case study in a Palaeozoic coral (Sinopora, Syringoporicae, Carboniferous). Historical Biology 27, 8: 1098-1112.

CORONADO I., PEREZ-HUERTA A., RODRIGUEZ S. 2015. Crystallographic orientations of structural elements in skeletons of Syringoporicae (tabulate corals, Carboniferous): implications for biomineralization processes in Palaeozoic corals. Palaeontology 58, 1: 111-132.

CORONADO I., FERNANDEZ-MARTINEZ E., RODRIGUEZ S., TOURNEUR F. 2015. Reconstructing a Carboniferous inferred coral-alcyonarian association using a biomineralogical aproach. Geobiology. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12133, 1-17.

COZAR P., SOMERVILLE I. D., VACHARD D., CORONADO I., GARCIA-FRANK A., MEDINA-VAREA P., SAID I., Del MORAL B., RODRIGUEZ S. 2015 (in press). Upper Mississippian to lower Pennsylvanian biostratigraphic correlation of the Sahara Platform successions in the northern margin of Godwana (Morocco, Algeria, Libya). Gondwana Research. DOI: 10.1016/

LABORDA-LOPEZ C., AGUIRRE J., DONOVAN S. K., NAVAS-PAREJO P., RODRIGUEZ S. 2015. Fossil assemblages and biostratigraphy of metamorphic rocks of the Nevado-Filábride Complex from Águilas tectonic arc (SE Spain). Spanish Journal of Paleontology 30, 2: 275-292.

RODRIGUEZ S., SOMERVILLE I. D. 2015. The Axophyllinae from SW Spain: a review. Boletín de la Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural 108: 81-138.


CORONADO I., RODRIGUEZ S. 2016. Biomineral structure and crystallographic arrangement of cerioid and phaceloid growth in corals belonging to the Syringoporicae (Tabulata, Devonian-Carboniferous): a genetic reflection. Geological Magazine 153, 4:, 718-742.

CORONADO I., PEREZ-HUERTA A., RODRIGUEZ S. 2016. Analogous biomineralization processes between the fossil coral Calceola sandalina (Rugosa, Devonian) and other Recent and fossil cnidarians. Journal of structural Biology 196: 173-186.

RODRIGUEZ S., SAID I., SOMERVILLE I. D., COZAR P., CORONADO I. 2016. Description of the Serpukhovian rugose and tabulate corals from Idmarrach and Tirhela Formations (Adarouch, Morocco). Boletín de la Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural, Sección Geológica 109: 71-101.

RODRIGUEZ S., SAID I., SOMERVILLE I. D., COZAR P., CORONADO I. 2016. Serpukhovian coral assemblages from Idmarrach and Tirhela Formations (Adarouch, Morocco). Geologica Belgica 19, 1-2:, 29-42.

RODRIGUEZ S., SOMERVILLE I. D., COZAR P., CORONADO I., SAID I. 2016. Inventory and analysis of the distribution of Viséan corals from the Guadiato Area (Córdoba, SW Spain). Spanish Journal of Palaeontology 31, 1: 181-220.

Report from Poland
by Jerzy Fedorowski / 30th November 2016

*submitted to Acta Geologica Polonica is a following paper:
FEDOROWSKI J. Early Bashkirian Rugosa (Anthozoa) from the Donets Basin (Ukraine). Part 6. The Family Aulophyllidae Dybowski, 1873 (with two Tournaisian taxa in the appendix). [Acta Geologica Polonica, probable publication in 2017]
Seven genera (one new), belonging to four subfamilies, seven named species (six new), four species left in the open nomenclature and two specimens included in the paper as the unnamed Aulophyllidae are described from the lowermost Bashkirian Limestone D5/10 to the lower Bashkirian Limestone F1 strata. A new genus: Voragoaxum and six new species: Dibunophyllum medium, Dibunophylloides paulus, D. similis, D. columnatus, Voragoaxum cavum and Rozkowskia lenta are introduced. A brief illustrated revision of the Tournaisian "Lophophyllum" subtortuosum Gorskyi, 1932 and "Lophophyllum" sp. Gorskyi, 1932, both from the Southern Urals, is included in order to suggest a possible ancestor of Voragoaxum. In Remarks to individual families the suspected relationships within the Family Aulophyllidae is discussed. In the final Considerations a possibility of derivation of the Family Bothrophyllidae from the late representatives of the Subfamily Dibunophyllinae is suggested.

** work in progress is on a following manuscript:
FEDOROWSKI J.. Early Bashkirian Rugosa (Anthozoa) from the Donets Basin (Ukraine). Part. 7. The Family Neokoninckophyllidae Fomichev, 1953 and one new subfamily.
Revision of the family Neokoninckophyllidae, based on my restudy of Fomichev's (1953) collection and supported by peels taken from his specimens allows the emendation of that family as an independent taxon. Thus, its synonymy with the subfamily Dibunophyllinae Hill (1981) is rejected. The new subfamily, represented by three species identified so far, bears several characters in common with the lithostrotionid subfamily Diphyphyllinae, except for being represented by solitary corals.

Report from the USA
by George Stanley Jr / 30th November 2016

* My research focuses on early Mesozoic reefs, the evolution of photosymbiosis and taxonomy of scleractinian corals. For Mesozoic reefs, a study with a former doctoral student, Montana Hodges, addresses the end-Triassic mass extinction and an analysis of the Early Jurassic recovery (Hodges and Stanley 2016). Field work has focused on western North America in Alaska, USA (Nevada), and Mexico. We published a brief report on Early Jurassic corals from the well-known T/J boundary site at New York Canyon, Nevada (Hodges and Stanley 2015). These corals along with other examples from south-central Alaska and Sonora, Mexico are yielding new information on the nature of the recovery in North America and work continues on both dating and analysis of the corals and associated fauna.

** Last year I published collaborative research in Japan on Late Triassic corals from Japan (Stanley and Onoue 2015). This taxonomic work on rare scleractinian corals from the Sambosan Tectonic Belt, revealed previously unrealized diversity and helped test hypotheses on the paleogeography of Carnian and Norian reef corals from tropical locations in western Panthalassa. Results emphasized the diversity and a degree of isolation from coeval corals living in the former Tethys and eastern Panthalassa.

*** I served as co-editor for a book contribution dealing with coral reefs at the crossroads (Hubbard et al 2016). The meaning of this volume's title is that modern reefs stand at the threshold of an important crossroad. We can take the straight path in the business as usual scenario, likely leading to reef collapse, or take a turn to try to save our important marine resource. The 12 chapters in this book contain contributions from well-known reef specialists. They illustrate the multifarious challenges facing reef science and explore the fossil record in order to better understand modern reefs. Among these chapters are my two co-authored contributions with Jere Lipps, one on photosymbiosis in past and present reefs and the other emphasizing evolutionary trends in reefs through time.

**** my recent contributions to fossil corals and reefs are as follows:

Hodges M. S., Stanley G. D. Jr 2015. North American coral recovery after the end-Triassic mass extinction, New York Canyon, Nevada. GSA Today 25, 10: 4-9.

Hodges M. S., Stanley G. D. Jr 2016. New evidence of coral recovery in eastern Panthalassa after the end-Triassic mass extinction. 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (19-24 June, 2016) Honolulu, Hawaii. Abstracts Book, pp 146-147.

Hubbard D. K., Rogers C. S., Lipps J. H., Stanley G. D. Jr (eds.) 2016. Coral Reefs at the Crossroads. Coral Reefs of the World Series v. 6; Springer Science Publishers, 300pp; doi 10.1007/978-94-017-7567-0

Lipps J. H., Stanley G. D. Jr 2016. Photosymbiosis in the past and present reefs. In Coral Reefs at the Crossroads. Coral Reefs of the World 6. Hubbard et al. (eds). Springer Science Publishers, Dordrecht; pp 47-68. doi 10.1007/978-94-017-7567-0_3

Lipps J. H., Stanley G. D. Jr 2016. Reefs through time: An evolutionary view. In Coral Reefs at the Crossroads. Coral Reefs of the World 6. Hubbard et al. (eds). Springer Science Publishers, Dordrecht; pp 175-196. doi 10.1007/978-94-017-7567-0_8

Stanley G. D. Jr., Onoue T. 2015. Upper Triassic reef corals from the Sambosan Accretionary Complex, Kyushu, Japan. Facies 61: 1. doi 10.1007/s10347-014-0425-1

Report from Australia
by Ross McLean / 5th December 2016

Here is some update information on my recent coral activities for our Newsletter;
also please note my current e-mail address for all future correspondence:

With the support of my affiliation with the University of Wollongong as an Honorary Principal Fellow, I have continued working on Silurian and Devonian rugosans since returning to Australia. Current projects include Middle Devonian cystiphyllids from western Canada, Lower Silurian rugosans from central western NSW, and revision of Australian Lower Devonian species previously assigned to Phillipsastrea (with Tony Wright).

Recent publications:

McLEAN R. A. 2014. Solitary disphyllid corals from the Frasnian (Upper Devonian) of western Canada. Palaeontographica Canadiana 34, 123 pp.

McLEAN R. A. 2016. (manuscript submitted 2016) Fasciphyllid and spongophyllid rugose corals from the Middle Devonian of western Canada.

I also have a question – writes Ross - are there any plans for a future Fossil Cnidaria meeting? I haven't seen any information on the last one - did it actually occur?

Report from Ukraine
by Viktor OGAR / 14th December 2016

* my current research on corals from the Carboniferous exotic block of the Crimea was completed, and the colonial Rugose corals which were previously described from the Urals were identified

* I am finishing now the study of the Tournaisian and Lower Visean Rugose corals from the Donets Basin; many previously unknown and new taxa were identified

* the new project (co-authored by V. Polyakova, Donetsk) is: "Upper Serpukhovian and Lower Bashkirian corals and sponges of the Donets Basin"

* revision of the Bothrophyllum-like corals from Pennsylvanian of the Donets Basin and Southern Urals is planned for the next year (with consulting assistance by Prof. J. Fedorowski)

My publications (for the last 5 years) concerning the Carboniferous corals, sponges and buildups:

DENAYER J., OGAR V. 2016. Vassiljukia, a new colonial rugose coral from the early Visean (Mississippian) of the Donets Basin (Ukraine) and NW Turkey. Comptes rendus Paléovol. 15, 8: 911-917.

FEDOROWSKI J., OGAR V. 2013. Early Bashkirian Rugosa (Anthozoa) from the Donets Basin, Ukraine. Part 4. Cordibia, a new protocolonial genus. Acta Geologica Polonica 63, 3: 297-314.

KLEVTSOVSKIY A., OGAR V. 2013. Deyaki Syringopora z nyzhnego karbonu pivdennoyi pribortovoyi zony Dniprovsko-Donetskoyi zapadyny [Some Syringopora from the Lower Carboniferous of southern near-edge zone of the Dnieper-Donets depression]. Paleontological Review 45: 28-36; 149 [In Ukrainian].

OGAR V. 2011. Novi tabulaty z turneiskykh vidcladiv Donbasu [New Tabulate corals from the Tournaisian deposits of the Donets Basin]. Paleontological Review 3: 77-83, 138-139 [In Ukrainian]

OGAR V. 2012. Carboniferous buildups in the Donets Basin (Ukraine). Geologica Belgica 15, 4: 340-349.

OGAR V. V. 2016. New Rugose corals and refinements of the Tournaisian biostratigraphy of the Donets Basin (Ukraine). Geologica Belgica 19, 1-2: 21-28.

OGAR V. V., FALAHATGAR M., MOSSADEGH H. 2013. Visean corals of the Kiyasar area, south of Sari, northern Iran. Revista brasileira de paleontologia 16, 3: 375-396.

OGAR V., KLEVTSOVSKIY A. 2015. Carboniferous corals and Chaetetids from exotic limestone block of the Crimea. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 121, 2: 123-124.