Pensoft welcomes SNSB’s paleontology and geobiology journal Zitteliana to its portfolio

The first papers of the journal of the Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology and Geology in Munich since the move to Pensoft’s publishing platform are now online

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft welcomes the latest addition to its diverse portfolio of scientific outlets – the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Zitteliana, which publishes research in the fields of paleontology and geobiology.

Zitteliana is a journal of the Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology and Geology Munich, which is part of the State Natural History Collection of Bavaria (SNSB), a research institution for natural history comprising five state collections.

Published both online and in print, the journal contains original articles, short contributions and reviews on all aspects of palaeontology and geobiology, welcoming research on all regions of the Earth and all periods of geologic time. The journal invites both modern and traditional research outputs, including palaeobiology, geobiology, palaeogenomics, biodiversity, stratigraphy, sedimentology, regional geology, systematics, phylogeny, and cross-disciplinary studies of these areas.

Since its launch in 1961, the journal has changed its name several times (i.e. Mitteilungen der Bayerischen Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und historische Geologie, Zitteliana A (Abhandlungen) and Zitteliana B (Mitteilungen)), and has extended both scope and thematic range to  cover global research from all areas of palaeontology and geobiology.

“This year, Zittelliana is celebrating its 60th anniversary in brand new gear. The move to the innovative scholarly publisher Pensoft shows how tradition can work hand in hand with innovation and modernity. We are very excited about this relaunch and very much look forward to transforming  Zitteliana into an internationally leading journal in Paleontology and Geobiology together with Pensoft,” the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Professor Gert Wörheide adds.

After moving to Pensoft’s scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, and with a brand-new, user-friendly website, Zitteliana now takes full advantage of ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which significantly improves user experience for authors, reviewers and editors alike. The collaboration-focused platform supports manuscripts in all steps of the publishing process – submission, peer review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving, all within its online environment. To the benefit of readers, published articles are then made available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML, which makes them much easier to discover, access, cite and reuse.

In addition, ARPHA Platform offers a long list of high-tech features and human-provided services such as advanced data publishing, linked data tables, semantic markup and enhancements, automated export of sub-article elements and data to aggregators, sub-article-level usage metrics, and web-service integrations with more than 40 world-class indexing and archiving databases.

The journal’s first papers published with Pensoft are already publicly available. One of the studies, authored by Norbert Wannenmacher, Volker Dietze, Matthias Franz of the state office for geology, resources and mining at Freiburg’s regional council, and Günter Schweigert of the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History, describes three new fossil species from south-western Germany.

Zitteliana is the latest in a series of biodiversity-themed journals to join the Pensoft family – earlier this year the ichthyology journal Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria signed with the scholarly publisher and moved on to ARPHA Platform.

Follow Zitteliana on Facebook and Twitter.

Additional information:

About Pensoft:

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company, well-known worldwide for its innovations in the field of semantic publishing, as well as for its cutting-edge publishing tools and workflows. In 2013, Pensoft launched the first ever end to end XML-based authoring, reviewing and publishing workflow, as demonstrated by the Pensoft Writing Tool (PWT) and the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), now upgraded to the ARPHA Publishing Platform. Flagship titles include: Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO), One Ecosystem, ZooKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys and many more.

About ARPHA:

ARPHA is the first end-to-end, narrative- and data-integrated publishing solution that supports the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring to reviewing, publishing and dissemination. ARPHA provides accomplished and streamlined production workflows that can be customized according to the journal’s needs. The platform enables a variety of publishing models through a number of options for branding, production and revenue models to choose from.

Contacts:

Prof. Dr. Gert Wörheide, Editor-in-Chief of Zitteliana
woerheide@snsb.de

Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at Pensoft and ARPHA
l.penev@pensoft.net

Senckenberg Nature Research Society transfers three journals to ARPHA Platform

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny, Vertebrate Zoology and Geologica Saxonica are the latest historic titles to select the various services and advanced technology provided by the OA-born scholarly publishing platform

One of the largest natural research associations in Germany, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society moved three of its international, open-access scholarly journals to the publishing platform ARPHA, following a recent contract with the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft.

Having opted for the white-label publishing solution, the journals remain under the brand of the Society and the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, one of the oldest natural-science museums in the world. Despite transitioning to a new platform, the past volumes of the journals remain accessible from a link on their website homepages.

Following their recent move to the Pensoft-developed publishing platform, Arthropod Systematics & PhylogenyVertebrate Zoology and Geologica Saxonica have not only acquired their own glossy and user-friendly websites, but have also taken advantage from ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which is to benefit all journal users: authors, reviewers and editors alike. In addition, the journals are already using many of the unique services offered by ARPHA, including publication in PDF, semantically enhanced HTML and machine-readable XML formats; advanced data publishing; sub-article-level usage metrics; automated export of sub-article elements and data to key aggregators; web-service integrations with major indexing and archiving databases; and others.

In particular, to the appeal of the authors, editors and reviewers, the ARPHA’s collaboration-centred online environment takes care after each submitted manuscript during the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages, so that no one needs to deal with locally stored files and their transfer by email or third-party cloud storages. Additionally, the platform is designed to regularly notify the users about any required action, thus sparing the burden of unnecessary communication and ensuring the speedy processing of manuscripts.

All three journals operate a Diamond Open Access policy, thanks to the support of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society, making the journals free to publish for all authors.

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny is the successor of the historical Entomologische Abhandlungen, formerly published by the Museum of Zoology at Dresden.

Its scope covers the taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of arthropod taxa, but excludes faunistics and research with a strong regional focus. Descriptions of new taxa are only welcome when embedded in a wider context, for example, a phylogenetic, evolutionary, or biogeographical framework.

Currently, the journal enjoys an Impact Factor of 1.51 and a continuously increasing Scopus CiteScore.

Vertebrate Zoology

Similarly, Vertebrate Zoology was preceded by Zoologische Abhandlungen, also formerly published by the Museum of Zoology at Dresden. Its first publications since the move to ARPHA Platform and part of the first journal volume for 2021 are already a fact.

The journal deals with research on taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of vertebrates. Again, descriptions of new taxa should be integrated into a proper context, for example, a complete revision of a taxon. To support accountability and reproducibility in science and academia, the journal requires that studied specimens have to be deposited in a public scientific collection.

Vertebrate Zoology’s Impact Factor is currently standing at 1.167, while its last Scopus CiteScore reached 2.1 (2019).

Geologica Saxonica

Geologica Saxonica – Journal of Central European Geology, began its life in distant 1876, when it was founded under the name Mitteilungen aus dem Königlichen Mineralogisch-Geologischen und Prähistorischen Museum by German geologist Hanns Bruno Geinitz, renowned for his work on the Carboniferous and Cretaceous rocks and fossils of Saxony.

The journal’s scope ecompasses geology, paleontology, stratigraphy, petrography, mineralogy and geoscience history with focus on Central Europe.

“At Pensoft, we are delighted to support a world-renowned natural history association like Senckenberg in carrying its legacy and treasure of knowledge into our days and well beyond. Now, with ARPHA’s white-label solution, we’re certain that the journals will simultaneously preserve their identity and enjoy all perks of modern and technologically advanced publishing,”

comments Pensoft and ARPHA’s founder and CEO Prof. Lyubomir Penev.

“We are very pleased to have found reliable partners in Pensoft and the ARPHA platform for our three publications to further increase their visibility. Senckenberg’s scientific publications have a long – almost 200-year tradition – and are now shown in a new and innovative design with unprecedented information retrieval options!”

says Prof. Dr. Uwe Fritz, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Vertebrate Zoology and head of the Department of Zoology at Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden.

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Senckenberg is not the first prestigious German research institution to sign an agreement with Pensoft and ARPHA Platform. Since 2014, the Natural History Museum Berlin has trusted the publisher with its own historical titles in the Biology domain: Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution. In 2017, Evolutionary Systematics by the University of Hamburg, another prominent journal with a legacy in the field of Zoology, followed suit. Last year, Zitteliana, a historical scholarly journal covering all fields of paleontology and geobiology by the State Natural History Collection of Bavaria (SNSB) also announced its joining the journal portfolio of Pensoft and ARPHA Platform.

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Follow ARPHA Platform on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jurassic Park in Eastern Morocco: Paleontology of the Kem Kem Group

The Kem Kem beds in Morocco are famous for the spectacular fossils found there, including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods, several large-bodied pterosaurs and crocodilians. In their study, published in the open-access journal Zookeys, an international group of scientists, led by Dr. Nizar Ibrahim and Prof. Paul Sereno, evaluate the geological and paleontological significance of the study area.

The Kem Kem beds in Morocco are famous for the spectacular fossils found there, including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods, several large-bodied pterosaurs and crocodilians.

Now, in a new geology and paleontology monograph, that reveals much more about the famous Kem Kem beds in Morocco, Dr. Nizar Ibrahim from the University of Detroit Mercy, Prof. Paul Sereno from the University of Chicago, and a team of international scholars from the United States, Europe and Morocco, have put together a comprehensive story that is published in the open-access journal Zookeys.

The aim of the new research is to provide the international community with an in-depth review of the rocks and fossils of the region. It reviews the geology and paleontology of this famous but surprisingly understudied area, describing and formally naming the strata and summarizing all of the preserved life forms, from fragile plants and insects to massive dinosaurs. The monograph also paints a picture of life as it once was some 95 million years ago by describing the paleoenvironments of the region, and the unusual predator-dominated fauna.

In 1996 Prof. Sereno and colleagues introduced the informal term “Kem Kem beds” for this fossil-rich escarpment. In this monograph, the authors review the original tri-level proposal for the region by French geologist Choubert (his informal “trilogie mésocretacée”) and propose the Kem Kem Group for the entire package of rock with two new names for the dinosaur-bearing layers based on the richest fossil sites, the Gara Sbaa and Douira formations.

The region is famous for the prodigious fossils found in all of these units, many derived from commercial fossil collecting, which obscures the precise location and level of the specimens. The monograph is the first work to pinpoint where many of the most important finds were made. Over the last 25 years in particular, paleontologists have brought to light a diverse array of new vertebrate fossils including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods, several large-bodied pterosaurs, crocodilians, turtles and an array of sharks and bony fish.  

To put a comprehensive story together on the Kem Kem, the authors of the monograph visited collections of Kem Kem fossils around the world and led many expeditions to the region. Fossil and geological data reviewed in the monograph is derived from a number of different sources. A University of Chicago-led major expedition in 1995 generated a wealth of geological and paleontological data, as did later expeditions involving teams from the University College Dublin, the University of Portsmouth, the Faculté des Sciences Aïn Chock, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, the University Cadi Ayyad, the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale (Milan), and the University of Detroit Mercy.

One of the key features of the Kem Kem assemblage is the presence of several large-bodied theropods, a group of dinosaurs that includes all of the meat-eaters. Most famous among these from the Kem Kem include the sail-backed Spinosaurus and the sabre-toothed Carcharodontosaurus.

Most fossils in the Kem Kem region are discovered as isolated fragmentary pieces weathered from sandstones. Only four partial dinosaur skeletons or skulls have been recovered, which include the long-necked sauropod Rebbachisaurus garasbae and the theropods Deltadromeus agilis, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus and Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. These Kem Kem theropods are among the largest known dinosaurian predators on record reaching adult body lengths in excess of 12 meters. 

“Given the continued input of new specimens and the continuing expansion of paleontological research, we predict that diversity in the Kem Kem Group will increase substantially in the coming decades. Based on our review of existing collections, this increase will include scores of taxa from the pond locality Oum Tkout including nonvertebrates, such as plants, insects, and ostracods, as well as an array of actinopterygian fish. We also anticipate a continuing trickle of new terrestrial vertebrates that will be named on better preserved specimens that are diagnostic at present only at the familial level, including turtles and various kinds of archosaurs. As nearly half of the reptilian families listed are indeterminate, better preserved specimens will offer future opportunities to recognize new reptilian genera” ,

share the authors.
Predators abound on land, in the air and in water some 95 million years on the shores of northern Africa —as shown by the abundant fossils in the Kem Kem region.
Large herbivores, such as the long-necked sauropod Rebbachisaurus, could have been hunted or scavenged by several large predators.
Credit: Artwork by Davide Bonadonna
License: CC-BY 4.0

“In summary, the Kem Kem assemblage of non-vertebrates and vertebrates is likely to continue to show dramatic increase in diversity in the coming decades. Nonetheless, the array of taxa currently known, which extends from plants across a range of aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates, is sufficiently mature to allow a summary of the vertebrate assemblage and a discussion of its paleoecological contex”,

conclude the researchers.

In his earlier research, a famous paleontologist from the University of Chicago Prof. Paul Sereno has described many outstanding dinosaur discoveries, including new Cretaceous crocodilians from the Sahara and two new fanged vegetarian dinosaur dwarfs (called heterodontosaurids). 


The most famous of Kem Kem dinosaurs, the semi-aquatic giant Spinosaurus, and the most common of Kem Kem fossils, the giant sawfish Onchopristis, tangle in the shallow coastal waters on a warm Late Cretaceous day.
Credit: Artwork by Davide Bonadonna
License: CC-BY 4.0

The wealth of aquatic life, including shrimp, bony fish, lungfish and giant lobe-finned coelacanths, supported a remarkable array of predators, including the fish-eating sail-backed Spinosaurus and toothless pterosaur Alanqa soaring overhead.
Credit: Artwork by Davide Bonadonna
License: CC-BY 4.0

Original source:

Ibrahim N, Sereno PC, Varricchio DJ, Martill DM, Dutheil DB, Unwin DM, Baidder L, Larsson HCE, Zouhri S, Kaoukaya A (2020) Geology and paleontology of the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem Group of eastern Morocco. ZooKeys 928: 1-216. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.928.47517

Contacts:

Prof. Paul Sereno
Email: dinosaur@uchicago.edu 

Dr. Nizar Ibrahim
Email: ibrahini@udmercy.edu

Field research in Turkmenistan’s highest mountain reveals high biological diversity

Camera trap image of male Markhor Capra falconeri at the Koytendag State Nature Reserve
Photo by Koytendag State Nature Reserve

New open-access book presents a comprehensive report on the remarkable ecosystems of the Koytendag nature reserve

Situated in the extreme south-east of Turkmenistan: on the border with Uzbekistan and close to the border with Afghanistan, Koytendag presents one of the most distinct landscapes in Central Asia. Reaching elevations of up to 3,137 m, this is also the highest mountain in Turkmenistan.

Location of Koytendag
Image by Atamyrat Veyisov

Koytendag State Nature Reserve and its three Wildlife Sanctuaries: Hojapil, Garlyk and Hojaburjybelent, were established between 1986 and 1990 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and increasing economic activities.

Since 2013, a series of scientific expeditions and assessments were coordinated and funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to pave the way for the protection and preservation of the unique landscape and rare wildlife the site is recognised for.

As a result, the efforts of the conducted field studies of multidisciplinary international research teams are brought together in a comprehensive report, which is now openly available as an Advanced Book from the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft, edited by Geoff Welch (RSPB) and Prof. Pavel Stoev (National National Museum of Natural History of Bulgaria and Pensoft). Soon, the book will also be available in Russian.

The book is split into eight sections focused on different areas within the study of biodiversity: Flora, Surface dwelling invertebrates, Cave fauna, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. An additional chapter is dedicated to the hydrogeology of the site because of its key role in supporting both the cave fauna and the local communities.

Entrance to the newly discovered record-breaking underground lake at the Koytendag State Nature Reserve
Photo by Mikhail Pereladov

In the summary of the report, the authors make a list of the most significant findings made during the research. These include the discovery of a cave hosting the largest underground lake in the whole North Eurasia (4,400 m2) and a total of 48 species of higher plants that can only be found in Koytendag. In terms of Koytendag’s surface-dwelling fauna, the report lists a number of species new to science: a scorpion (most likely yet unnamed species currently recognised as a species complex) and a spider. Meanwhile, a total of seven previously unknown species were found underground, including the very first exclusively subterranean animal found in the country: the insect-like ‘marvellous’ dipluran named Turkmenocampa mirabilis, and a strongly adapted to the underground waters of a desert sinkhole Gammarus troglomorphus. Additionally, the annual monitoring, conducted since 1995 by the reserve staff, report an encouraging increase in the populations of the rare markhors and mouflons. An intact predator-prey community was also identified as a result of observations of numerous Eurasian lynxes and grey wolves, as well as prey species.

Entrance of the cave Kaptarhana, (Lebap Province, Eastern Turkmenistan), where scientists discovered the first ever exclusively subterranean dweller for the country (find more here).
Photo by Aleksandr Degtyarev

Stephanie Ward, RSPB Central Asia Partner Development Officer, says:

“RSPB has been working in Turkmenistan under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government since 2004. In that time we have had the privilege of working with a team of talented and dedicated national experts across the diverse and inspiring nature of this fascinating country. Our work in Koytendag has captured the attention and interest of many international scientists who hope that their contemporary biodiversity research will help to deepen the understanding and therefore ensure protection of the unique wonders of this mountain ecosystem. As a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will continue to collaborate with the Turkmen people on the research and promotion of Koytendag State Nature Reserve.

Book editor and member of the research team Prof. Pavel Stoev adds:

“Koytendag Mountain is among the least explored and, simultaneously, one of the most biologically diverse regions in Central Asia. The rapid assessments of its flora and fauna revealed a high number of highly specialised species, all of which have undergone a long evolution to adapt to the harsh environments of the mountain. The establishment of Koytendag State Nature Reserve and the associated wildlife sanctuaries is a step in the right direction for the protection of this unique biota.”

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Cover of the book, available as an open-access Advanced book from: https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e37858.

Original source:

Welch G, Stoev P (2019) A report of RSPB-supported scientific research at Koytendag State Nature Reserve, East Turkmenistan. Advanced Books. https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e37858

Additional information:

This work was carried out under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan and the RSPB, within the Project on “Improvement of the status of birds and other biodiversity in Turkmenistan”.

About Koytendag State Nature Reserve:

Koytendag State Nature Reserve was established in 1986 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and the increasing anthropogenic activities. Of particular importance was the protection of rare species, such as the markhor; important habitats, including pistachio and juniper forests; and the impressive dinosaur trackways at Hojapil.

Advanced Books publishing by Pensoft:

Launched by Pensoft and powered by the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, the Advanced Books approach aims to issue new books or re-issue books previously only available in print or PDF. In the Advanced Books format, the publications are semantically enhanced and available in HTML and XML as well, in order to accelerate open access, data publication, mining, sharing and reuse. The Advanced books builds on the novel approaches developed by the Pensoft’s journals.