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Trilobit Neufundland



Biostratigraphy & Palaeoecology

Trilobites, Biostratigraphy and Palaeoenvironments of the Middle Cambrian Manuels River Formation at its type locality along Manuels River, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Canada


This project aims at a comprehensive taxonomic revision of the macrofossils of the middle Cambrian Manuels River Formation, in particular the biostratigraphically important trilobites, within a detailed litho- and biostratigraphic framework. In addition, palaeoecological and palaeobiogeographic interpretations of the Avalon Peninsula in mid Cambrian times will be carried out. Fragments of Avalonia are scattered today on the continents of North America, Europe and Africa. Studies of the geographic distribution of fossil faunas and floras are a prime instrument for reconstructing ancient continental configurations and positions. For the Early Palaeozoic, trilo­bites have proved to be excellent tools for deciphering continental movements. A pre­requi­site for reliable results is a solid biostratigraphy as a basis for dating the rocks; this, in turn, requires a solid taxonomy.

            The results of a MSc project carried out in 2010–2011 (Hildenbrand 2012) showed that the stratigraphy and palaeontology (taxonomy) of the fauna of the middle Cambrian (Drumian–Guzhangian) Manuels River Formation is in need of detailed revision. This concerns in particular the type locality of the formation along Manuels River, Conception Bay South. The Manuels River trilobites were first studied in detail by Howell (1925) and later revised by Hutchinson (1962). In the past 50 years, no comprehensive work on this fauna has been carried out. Recent studies have either been of a specialized nature (for example, Bergström & Levi-Setti 1978, Martin & Dean 1988, Boyce 1988) or dealt with occurrences of the Manuels River fauna in adjacent geographic areas, for example, Milner (1995) and Landing & Westrop (1998a, 1998b). Among general geological studies of relevance for the project can be mentioned those by Brueckner (1969) and Anderson (1987).

            As Howell’s (1925) collection has been lost and Hutchinson’s (1962) work dealt with the Manuels River Formation in broader terms, a detailed study of the type locality with bed-by-bed sampling of macrofossils was necessary. The project is carried out by PhD students Anne Hildenbrand and Gregor Austermann under the supervision of Prof. Peter Bengtson and Prof. Wolfgang Stinnesbeck. Initial field work was conducted in the summer of 2012. The project is funded by the German Klaus Tschira Foundation gGmbH since 2012 and logistic support is done by the Manuels River Natural Heritage Society.



Field Trips

  • Newfoundland field trip 2015 (Deutsch)
  • Newfoundland field trip 2014 (Deutsch)
  • Newfoundland field trip 2013 (Deutsch)



Finished Theses


  • Tobias Malang, MSc.
    Master Thesis: "Detailkartierung der neoproterozoisch bis oberkambrischen Abfolge entlang des westlichen Ufers des Manuels River, Conception Bay South, Neufundland, Kanada"
  • Sven Wetzel, MSc.
    Master Thesis: "Detailkartierung der neoproterozoischen bis oberkambrischen Abfolgen entlang des östlichen Ufers des Manuels River, Conception Bay South, Neufundland, Kanada"


  • Dipl.-Geol. Anne Hildenbrand
    Diploma Thesis: “Small shelly fossils” der mittelkambrischen Manuels-River-Formation in Conception Bay South, Avalon-Halbinsel, Neufundland, Kanada"
  • Sebastian Vetter, BSc.
    Bachelor Thesis: "Mineralogische und geochemische Untersuchung von Tonhorizonten in der mittelkambrischen Manuels-River-Formation, Conception Bay South, Neufundland, Kanada"


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Latest Revision: 2015-11-24
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