Lower Jurassic terrestrial deposits of Romania are described within
several geological units, in the South Carpathians and in the Apuseni
Mountains. These deposits, especially those confined to the South
Carpathians, record exceptional information related to Jurassic terrestrial
ecosystems. Lower Jurassic terrestrial deposits and their associated
floras and faunas are described within 25 main localities. These localities
belong to the Getic Nappe (Resita, Holbav and Cristian basins), Danubian
units (Sirinia, Presacina, Cerna-Jiu basins) in the South Carpathians,
and to the Bihor Authochthonous, in Apuseni Mountains. The Romanian
fossil continental floras, aged early Jurassic (Hettangian –
Toarcian) are represented by compressions (foliage, stem, roots and
reproductive structures, including in situ spores and pollen), permineralizations,
and by dispersed pollen and spores. The compressions belong to pteridophytes
and gymnosperms, and the permineralised woods are generally coniferalean
or cycadalean. In situ spores, dispersed pollen and spores were briefly
described and assigned to pteridophytes and gymnosperms. The floras
are practically unknown up to this date, in spite of recent, modern
researches after 1990, due to the systematic diversity of these floras.
The terrestrial faunal fossils are represented by invertebrates, by
footprints, tracks and vertebrate burrows, as well as by plant-animal
interactions remains, at their turn being poorly understood and described.
This project will reconstruct the Romanian terrestrial Jurassic ecosystems
by investigating the floras and faunas from the following points of
view: systematics & taxonomy, stratigraphy, paleoecology &
coal genesis, paleobiogeography, sedimentary, geological heritage
and paleoclimatic significance, in a wider paleobiogeographic context,
in order to correlate the national data with the European, Greenlandic
and Asian data. context paleobiogeografic mai larg, pentru a corela
datele pe plan national cu cele din Europa, Groenlanda si Asia.
1. Systematics, taxonomy, phytostratigraphy, paleoecology and paleophytogeography
of Early Jurassic land plants of Romania.
2. Systematics, taxonomy, stratigraphy, paleoecology of Early Jurassic
vertebrate and invertebrate terrestrial faunas of Romania.
3. Study of plant-animal interactions, as recorded in the fossil state.
4. Reconstruction of Early Jurassic terrestrial ecosystems of Romania
and their paleobiogeographic & paleoclimatic conditions during the
Early Jurassic (Liassic) time interval, also in European, Greenlandic
and Asian context.
5. Sedimentology of Lower Jurassic deposits in Romania.
6. Studied basins: Resita, Holbav, Cristian, Sirinia, Presacina, Cerna-Jiu,
1. Conf. Dr. Mihai E. Popa, University of Bucharest,
Principal Investigator - paleobotany, sedimentology;
2. Prof. Dr. Nicolae Ticleanu, University of Bucharest, member - paleobotany,
sedimentology. Deceased in 2009;
3. Lect.Dr. Zoltan Csiki, University of Bucharest,
member - paleozoology, sedimentology;
4. Dr. Valentin Paraschiv - National Museum of Geology, Romanian Institute
of Geology, Bucharest, member - paleobotany;
5. Milan Rascov - National Museum of Geology, Romanian Institute of
Geology, Bucharest, member - paleobotany.
Objectives of the project
The project proposes 7 priorities for the study and reconstruction of
Jurassic terrestrial ecosystems in Romania, to them being related the
objectives (Point 12.1) and the actions planned to be undertaken. The
priorities of the project are:
1. Identifying the species of flora and fauna from samples collected
from the field (in the South Carpathians and in Apuseni Mountains) or
from previous collections, using modern and nomenclatorially correct
2. Clarifying the nomenclatorial status of faunal and floral taxa, thorough
the nomemclatorial revision of the main Jurassic genera and species
of fossil fauna and flora, so that the collected or revised material
is assigned to valid taxa.
3. Providing and detailing the flora and fauna taxa lists of the continental
deposits, from fossil localities, outcrops and basins in general.
4. Clarifying the faunal and floral biozones characteristic for the
Lower Jurassic in the studied continental deposits.
5. Clarifying the taphocoenoses, and of paleophytocoenoses related to
the depositional system, of the coal generating associations and of
the 3D distribution of taxa, 2D or 3D, when such analysis is possible
for fossils in the sedimentary deposits, and the evaluation of continental
6. Evaluating the Early Jurassic paleoclimate in Romania and the correlation
of paleoclimate data with data from Eurosinian context.
7. Clarifying the paleofloristic influences in the context of the European
Province of the Eurosinian Region in the Early Jurassic, through identification
of endemic species for the Romanian territory, of ubiquist elements
and of characteristic elements of other floral or faunal provinces.
Related to these priorities, the project defines 9 objectives obtained
through specific actions, reported each year to a new structural unit.
In the first year, the objectives are related to the Getic Nappe basins
(Resita, Pui-Hateg, Holbav, Cristian), in the second year, to the Danubian
Units basins (Sirinia, Presacina, Cerna-Jiu), and in the third year,
to the Apuseni Mountains (Suncuius). The objectives of the project,
as they are introduced in Point 12.1 of the application, are the following:
1. Clarifying the systematics in paleobotany and paleozoology, and clearing
of the taxonomical problems through the study of previous collections
(each year, a new structural unit) and of previous literature.
2. Collecting of paleobotany, paleozoology and sedimentary material,
for developing the primary data of these fields (each year, a new structural
3. The synthesis of paleobotany, paleozoology, sedimentology, and the
reconstruction of terrestrial Jurassic ecosystems in Romania (each year,
a new structural unit).
From all these points of view, the proposed project is an original attempt
through its objectives and its proposed methods, with a substantial
scientific and highly international interesting background.
Methods of research
The methods used include field research methods and laboratory methods.
The selected methods are chosen in connection with the project’s
objectives, and they are used in the project in specific actions.
A. Field methods
1. Geological mapping, recording of primary sedimentological, paleozoological
and paleobotanical data, drawing geological and facies maps, local and
2. Sampling material for paleobotany, paleozoology and sedimentology,
with a stratigraphic and depositional control, where such a control
is possible in the field.
B. Laboratory methods
1. Cuticular analysis: oxidation of compressive material, izolating
cuticles, the study of epidermal anatomy using an optical transmitted
2. Extracting in situ spores and pollen: extracting fertile material
from reproductive structures, maceration, centrifugation, mounting of
biological slides for study under transmitted light microscopy.
3. Macro- and microscopic digital photography, with binocular lens or
with the transmitted light microscope.
4. Classical drawing or using a camera lucida.
5. Image processing for vectorial and bitmap images for paleontolgical
or sedimentary material.
6. Mechanical processing of the paleozoological and paleobotanical samples
by using mechanical means (needles and other means under classical or
7. Extracting cuticles or spores and pollen in bulk maceration: treating
the bulk material with strong reagents for dissolving the rock matrix,
isolating and concentrating the organic matter for study.
8. Developing reference, paleobotanical, paleozoological, sedimentological
and heritage data bases.
9. Washing and sieving of sedimentary samples.
10. Thin sections of silicified woods and of petrological material.
1. Popa, M.E., 2009, Late Palaeozoic and Early
Mesozoic continental formations of the Resita Basin, Bucharest University
Press, 197 pp., Bucuresti.
Research papers in periodicals with impact
1. Lindfors, M. S., Csiki, Z., Grigorescu, D., Friis, E.M., 2009. Preliminary
account of plant mesofossils from the Maastrichtian Budurone microvertebrate
site of the Hateg Basin, Romania. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,
Palaeoecology, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
2. Pienkowski, G., Popa, M.E., Kedzior, A., 2009, Sauropod
footprints in the Early Jurassic strata of the Southern Carpathians
- first record of Jurassic dinosaur tracks in Romania and its palaeobiological
and palaeogeographical significance, Geological Quarterly, Warsaw.
3. Steinthorsdottir, M., Bacon, K.L., Popa, M.E., Bochner, L., McElwain,
J.C., Bennettitalean leaf cuticle fragments (here Anomozamites
and Pterophyllum) can be used interchangeably in stomatal based
palaeo-CO2 reconstructions, Palaeontology, Wiley. Submitted in 2009,
accepted for publication.
4. Kedzior, A., Popa, M.E., 2103. Sedimentology of
the terrestrial Steierdorf Formation in Anina, Colonia Ceha Quarry,
South Carpathians, Romania, Acta Geologica Polonica.
5. Popa, M.E., Kvacek, J., Vasile, S., Csiki-Sava,
Z., 2014. Maastrichtian monocotyledons of the Rusca Montana and Hateg
basins, South Carpathians, Romania. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology
6. Popa, M.E., 2014. Early Jurassic bennettitalean
reproductive structures of Romania. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments
7. Popa, M.E., Kvacek, J., Vasile, S., Csiki-Sava,
Z., 2016. Maastrichtian dicotyledons of the Rusca Montana and Hateg
basins, South Carpathians, Romania. Cretaceous Research 57, 699-712.
8. Csiki-Sava, Z., Kedzior, A., Pienkowski, G., Popa, M.E., 2016. Hettangian
tetrapod burrows from the continental Steierdorf Formation at Anina,
western Romania. Geological Quarterly.
Research papers recorded in international databases
1. Popa, M.E., Meller, B., 2009, Review
of Jurassic plants from the Anina (Steierdorf) coal-mining area, South
Carpathians, in the collections of the Geological Survey of Austria,
Jahrbuch der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, vol. 149 (4), Wien.
2. Popa, M.E., Kedzior, A., Fodolica, V., 2010, The Anina Geopark: preserving
the geological heritage of the South Carpathians, Revue Roumaine de
3. Popa, M.E., Zaharia, A., 2011, Early Jurassic ovipositories
on bennettitalean leaves from Romania, Acta Palaeontologica Romaniae,
vol. 7, Cluj-Napoca.
4. Popa, M.E., 2011, Field and laboratory techniques in plant compressions:
an integrated approach, Acta Palaeontologica Romaniae, vol. 7, Cluj-Napoca.
Other types of research papers:
1. Popa, M.E. and Kedzior, A., 2008, High resolution paleobotany
and sedimentology of the Steierdorf Formation, Resita Basin, Contributions
to the Annual scientific session "Ion Popescu-Voitesti", Cluj-Napoca.
2. Popa, M.E., Diaconu, F., 2010, Preliminary results
on the paleobotanical collection of the Resita Banat Mountains Museum,
Drobeta, Review of the Iron Gates Museum.
1. Popa, M.E., and Zaharia, A., 2009, Plant-insect interactions
in the Lower Jurassic continental formations of the South Carpathians,
Romania, 7th National Symposium of Palaeontology, Cluj-Napoca.
2. Popa, M.E. and Kedzior, A., 2009, Lower Jurassic continental formations
of the South Carpathians, Romania, 8th IGCP 506 meeting in Bucharest,
Romania, 30 august 2009.
3. Popa, M.E., 2009, Mesozoic paleontological heritage values in the
Resita Basin, South Carpathians, Romania, First International Symposium
of Palaeontology, Chaoyang, Liaoning, China.
4. Seghedi, A., Iancu, V., Popa, M.E., Rascov, M., Ghenciu, M., 2009,
The Iron Gates Natural Park: Proposals For Geo-Tourism Related To Mining
Activities, MAEGS symposium, Cluj-Napoca.
5. Popa, M.E. and Kedzior, A., 2008, Vertebrate burrows in the Lower
Jurassic continental deposits of the Steierdorf Formation, Romania,
IGCP 506 "Marine and Nonmarine Jurassic", Hammamet, Tunisia.
6. Popa, M.E., 2008, The Early Jurassic flora of the Sirinia Basin,
South Carpathians, Romania, IOPC VIII, Bonn University, Bonn.
7. Kedzior, A. and Popa, M.E., 2008, The Lower Jurassic Steierdorf Formation,
Resita Basin, SW Romania, European Coal Conference, Lvov, Ukraine.
8. Popa, M.E., McElwain, J.C., The genera Anomozamites and Pterophyllum
(Cycadeoidales) of the Triassic-Jurassic Kap Stewart Formation in Jameson
Land, Eastern Greenland, 10th European Paleobotanical-Palynological
9. Popa, M.E., Zaharia, A., 2010, Plant-insect interactions in the Lower
Jurassic continental formations of the South Carpathians, Romania, al
7-lea Simpozion National al Paleontologilor din Romania, Cluj-Napoca.
10. Kedzior, A., Popa, M.E., Pienkowski, G., 2010,
Evidences of vertebrate activity recorded in the Lower Jurassic continental
deposits of the Steierdorf Formation, SW Romania, Earth Sciences Frontiers,
17: 258-260, 8th International Jurassic Congress, Suining, China.
11. Pienkowski, G., Popa, M.E., Kedzior, A., 2010, Early Jurassic Sauropod
Footprints of the Southern Carpathians, Romania: Palaeobiological and
Palaeogeographical Significance, Earth Sciences Frontiers, 17:193-196,
8th International Jurassic Congress, Suining, China.
12. Popa, M. E., 2013, New data on Early Jurassic bennettite
reproductive structures and their associated foliage of the Steierdorf
Formation, Romania, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
1. Popa, M.E., 2009, Floral changes in continental formations in Romania
and Greenland, Colorado Plateau Coring Project, New Mexico Museum of
Natural History and Science, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1. Rascov, M., 2008, Ecosisteme terestre jurasic timpurii in Bazinul
Resita, Panza Getica, 120pp, supervisor Conf.Dr. Mihai E. Popa.
1. Sandu M., 2009, Pteridofite fosile din Jurasicul inferior al Bazinului
Sirinia, supervisor Conf.Dr. Mihai E. Popa.
2. Savescu B., 2009, Paleoecologia Bazinului Sirinia,
supervisor Conf.Dr. Mihai E. Popa.
3. Zaharia A., 2009, Interactiuni plante insecte in
Jurasicul inferior din Bazinul Sirinia, supervisor Conf.Dr. Mihai E.
4. Pirvu A., 2010, Petrografia carbunilor liasici de
la Anina, supervisor Conf.Dr. Mihai E. Popa.