The most challenging was the logistic part of planning our trip to Gotland – from finding access to the sites, through planning the route and fieldwork. And, however it may sound odd – finding accommodation during the peak of tourist season – Gotland has quite limited accommodation opportunities. Another problem was that the shore of Gotland is protected and the use of hammers is restricted – we were allowed to collect only these specimens that are weathered and naturally detached from the rock matrix. Work of a palaeontologist without a hammer is indeed a demanding task…
First moments at the cliff near Ygne – from the analysis of published data on sedimentology and the eustatic curve I was expecting to find platy corals at the bottom of this cliff. But expecting something and finding what you expected are two entirely different things. I was astonished that we have found them exactly where they were expected! Another memorable moment was finding a spectacular biostrome with tabulate and solitary rugose corals below the MCE beds (described few months earlier, Berkowski & Zapalski 2018).
Certainly the shore between Ygne and Högklint – easily accessible, close to Visby where we were based, with spectacular cliffs, and very few people passing by. And, of course, lots of fossils.
Brian Roy Rosen from the Natural History Museum, who inspired me to make the previous study (Devonian MCEs from Poland), and asked many questions after this one was published. Most of them still lack answers, but they are inspiring! Also Grzegorz Widlicki (Univ. Warsaw), who quite quickly prepared thin sections of this material.
Most of biological investigations formulate hypotheses and verify them - this is not obvious for historical sciences, such as palaeontology. This was one of the rare cases where it was possible to formulate clear hypothesis and successfully test it.
Yes – we just started a project that will investigate these communities in detail, so more papers to come in the next few years! Next field trip to the Silurian seas of Gotland is already at the stage of planning!
The Silurian mesophotic coral ecosystems: 430 million years of photosymbiosis | article
Zapalski MK, Berkowski B (2019)
Coral Reefs 38:137-147