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Stefano Claudio Vaiani

Assistant professor

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Academic discipline: GEO/01 Paleontology and Paleoecology

Curriculum vitae

Degree in Geological Sciences in 1992, PhD in Palaeontology, post-Doctoral and Research fellowships from 1993 to 2003. Since January 2004 Researcher in Palaeontology at the Department of Biology, Geology and Environment, University of Bologna (Italy).

Member of the Board of Teachers of the Doctoral School in Palaeontology (Modena University, Italy) in 2005 (XXI cycle, last cycle of this Doctorate, end of the work of the Board in 2007).

Member of the Board of Teachers of the Doctoral School in Earth, Life and Environmental Science (University of Bologna) from 2013 to 2017 (from the XXIX to the XXXII cycle).


Consultant for the Geological Survey of Regione Emilia-Romagna and scientific collaborations from 1995 to 2009 for micropalaeontological and biostratigraphical studies supporting the execution of the Geological Map of Italy (CARG project).

Teaching activity at the University of Bologna

1) Course of Palaeontology for the first cycle (bachelor) degree in Earth Science, from academic year 2016/17

2) Course of Palaeoecology and Palaeoclimatology for the first cycle (bachelor) degree in Earth Science from 2005 to 2016

3) Teaching module (15 hours) in the course of Stratigraphic Palaeontology and Palaeoenvironmental Reconstructions for the second cycle (2 years master) degree in Geology and Land Management, academic years 2011/12 and 2013/14

4) Teaching module (30 hours) in the course of Palaeontology (Laboratory) for the first cycle (bachelor) degree in Earth Science, academic years 2012/13 and 2013/14

5) Teaching module (8 hours) in the course of Palaeontology for the first cycle (bachelor) degree in Natural Science, academic years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16

6) Collaboration in teaching activity for the course of Palaeontology for the first cycle (bachelor) degree in Earth Science from 2005.

The research activity is focused on the application of micropalaeontology, and specifically of the foraminiferal assemblages, in multidisciplinary geological studies. Within this framework, the research has been developed within research groups or with the cooperation of specialists in various fields of Earth Science, such as sedimentologists, field geologists, geochemists (including isotope geochemists), geophysics and mineralogists. Selected studies were developed with the cooperation of specialists in other fossil groups, such as ostracoda, nannofossils, palaeobotany (palinology and carphology), mollusca and marine mammals. The research is almost entirely based on studies of Neogene and Quaternary successions of the Mediterranean area.

Main results of scientific activity

1) Late Quaternary evolution of the Po Delta and of the Po River coastal plain. This research, developed in cooperation with many specialists, was based upon the micropalaeontological analyses of more than 50 boreholes, mainly drilled for the Geologcal Mapping Project of Italy. In more than 15 years of studies, a detailed stratigraphic architecture and palaeoenvronmental evolution of the subsurface successions has been defined - combining mainly palaeontological and sedimentological data and thus showing a major control of glacio-eustatic variations, with minor contributions of local and autogenic processes. Geochemical analyses also show remarkable variations in sediment provenance by river discharge in deltaic areas substantially releted with the palaeoenvironmental evolution highlighted by fossil assemblages.

The main articles of this research are:

Fiorini F., Vaiani S.C., 2001. Benthic foraminifers and transgressive-regressive cycles in the Late Quaternary subsurface sediments of the Po Plain near Ravenna (Northern Italy). Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana 40, 357-403.

Amorosi A., Colalongo M.L., Pasini G., Sarti G., Vaiani S.C., 2003. Facies architecture and latest Pleistocene-Holocene depositional history of the Po Delta (Comacchio area), Italy. Journal of Geology 111, 39-56. DOI: 10.1086/344577

Amorosi A., Centineo M.C., Colalongo M.L., Fiorini F., Fusco F., Pasini G., Vaiani S.C., Sarti G., 2004. Palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic evolution of the Po Plain from 150-ky core records. Global and Planetary Change 40, 55-78. DOI: 10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00098-5

Curzi P.V., Dinelli E., Ricci Lucchi M., Vaiani S.C., 2006. Palaeoenvironmental control on sediment composition and provenance in the late Quaternary deltaic successions: a case study from the Po delta area (Northern Italy). Geological Journal, 41, 591-612. DOI: 10.1002/gj.1060

Amorosi A., Colalongo M.L., Dinelli E., Lucchini F., Vaiani S.C., 2007. Cyclic variations in sediment provenance from the Late Pleistocene deposits of Eastern Po Plain, Italy. Geological Society of America Special Paper 420, 13-24. DOI: 10.1130/2007.2420(02)

Amorosi A., Dinelli E., Rossi V., Vaiani S.C., Sacchetto M., 2008. Late Quaternary palaeoenvironmental evolution of the Adriatic coastal plain and the onset of Po River Delta. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 268, 80-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.07.009

Rossi V., Vaiani S.C., 2008. Microfaunal response to sediment supply changes and fluvial drainage reorganization in Holocene deposits of the Po Delta, Italy. Marine Microplaleotology, 69, 106-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2008.07.001

Vaiani S.C., 2010. Miliolidae (benthic foraminifera) distribution and sea-level variation during the Holocene transgression in subsurface deposits of the Po River delta (Italy). GeoActa 9, 43-52.

Dinelli E., Ghosh A., Rossi V., Vaiani S.C., 2012. Multiproxy reconstruction of Late Pleistocene-Holocene environmental changes in coastal successions: microfossil and geochemical evidences from the Po Plain (Northern Italy). Stratigraphy 9, 153-167.

Campo B., Amorosi A., Vaiani S.C., 2017. Sequence stratigraphy and late Quaternary paleoenvironmental evolution of the Northern Adriatic coastal plain (Italy). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 466, 265-278. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.11.016

Barbieri G., Amorosi A., Vaiani S.C., 2017. Benthic foraminifera as a key to delta evolution: Acase study from the late Holocene succession of the Po River Delta. Micropaleontology 63, 27-41.

Barbieri G., Vaiani S.C., 2018. Benthic foraminifera or Ostracoda? Comparing the accuracy of palaeoenvironmental indicators from a Pleistocene lagoon of the Romagna coastal plain (Italy). Journal of Micropalaeontology 37, 203-230.

Amorosi A., Bruno L., Campo B., Costagli B., Dinelli E., Hong W., Sammartino I, Vaiani S.C., 2019. Tracing clinothem geometry and sediment pathways in the prograding Holocene Po Delta system through integrated core stratigraphy. Basin Research https://doi.org/10.1111/bre.12360

Amorosi A., Barbieri G., Bruno L., Campo B., Costagli B., Dinelli E., Drexler T.M., Hong W., Rossi V., Sammartino I, Scarponi D., Vaiani S.C., Bohacs K.M., 2019. Three‐fold nature of coastal progradation during the Holocene eustatic highstand, Po Plain, Italy – close correspondence of stratal character with distribution patterns. Sedimentology https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12621

2) Late Quaternary palaeoenvironmental evolution of selected alluvial and coastal plains of Central Italy (Tuscany and Marche areas). The investigated areas include the Arno valley and the Piombino and Tronto alluvial plains. These studies were carried out with methods and aims comparable to those used in the Po Delta, although with a lower number of boreholes and analyses.

Sedimentological and palaeontological (including palynological) analyses provided the basis for the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and these are locally integrated by geochemical data for sediment provenance. As for the Po Delta, glacio-eustatic variations exerted the main control on the palaeoenvironments, however the different geological setting produced peculiar palaeoenvironmental evolutions, for instance the Arno valley includes thick incised-valley fills with estuarine sediments in costal areas and expanded lagoon successions inland.

The main articles of this research are:

Amorosi A., Ricci Lucchi M., Sarti G., Vaiani S.C., Prandin S., Muti A., 2004. Late Quaternary sedimentary evolution of the Piombino alluvial plain (western Tuscany) as revealed by subsurface data. GeoActa 3, 97-106.

Aguzzi M., Amorosi A., Castorina F., Ricci Lucchi M., Sarti G., Vaiani S.C., 2006. Stratigraphic architecture and aquifer systems in the eastern Valdarno Basin, Tuscany. Geoacta 5, 39-60.

Aguzzi M., Amorosi A., Colalongo M.L., Ricci Lucchi M., Rossi V., Sarti G., Vaiani S.C., 2007. Late Quaternary climatic evolution of the Arno coastal plain (Western Tuscany, Italy) from subsurface data. Sedimentary Geology 202, 211-229. DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2007.03.004

Catanzariti R., Curzi P.V., Dinelli E., Vaiani S.C., 2009. Quaternary subsurface stratigraphy in the Tronto alluvial plain (Italy): palaeoenvironmental evolution and relationships with sediment geochemistry. GeoActa 8, 33-48.

Amorosi A., Rossi V., Scarponi D., Vaiani S.C., Ghosh A., 2014. Biosedimentary record of postglacial coastal dynamics: High-resolution sequence stratigraphy from the northern Tuscan coast (Italy). Boreas 43, 939-954. DOI: 10.1111/bor.12077

3) Late Holocene turbidite successions of the Ionian Sea and relationships with seismic and tsunami events. The Ionian Sea is one of the most seismically active region in the Mediterranean and includes dominant turbidite deposits in the deep basins, mainly represented by earthquake-triggered mass flows. The scientific collaboration with selected Earth Science specialists allowed the recognition of a cyclic stacking pattern of sedimentary units within each turbidite, by the comparison of sedimentological, micropalaeontological, geochemical and mineralogical data. These units are also commonly produced by multiple mass-flows, moreover peculiar sedimentological structures and microfossil assemblages suggest that the upper part of some turbidites has been deposited in response to seiching of the confined water mass that appears to be generated by earthquake ruptures combined with tsunami waves. The detailed study of the most famous of these seismo-turbidites: the "Homogenite" or "Augias" Turbidite from cores collected in an area of more than 150.000 km2 allowed the recognition of the transition between the turbidite tail and in situ pelagic sediments, with peculiar microfossil assemblages. Based mainly on the radiocarbon ages of these assemblages, the turbidite deposition is consistent with the A.D. 365 Crete earthquake/tsunami, unlike previous interpretations that relate this turbidite to the Santorini caldera collapse.

The main articles of this research are:

Polonia A., Vaiani S.C., De Lange G.J., 2016. Did the A.D. 365 Crete earthquake/tsunami trigger synchronous giant turbidity currents in the Mediterranean Sea? Geology 44 (3), 191-194. DOI: 10.1130/G37486.1

Polonia A., Nelson C.H., Romano S., Vaiani S.C., Colizza E., Gasparotto G., Gasperini L., 2017. A depositional model for seismo-turbidites in confined basins based on Ionian Sea deposits. Marine Geology 374, 177-198, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.05.010

4) Micropalaeontological studies supporting the execution of the Geological Map of Italy (CARG project). These researches, carried out in more than 10 years with the collaboration of field geologists, stratigraphers and other palaeontologists, are based upon the micropalaeontological analyses of hundreds of samples from outcrop and cored successions for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and biostratigraphy. This research led to the realization of 12 sheets of the Geological Map of Italy at 1:50.000 scale (CARG project) regarding geological sheets, supplementary geological sheets and the illustrative notes. The published sheets cover both the Po Plain and the Northern Apennines areas, from Reggio Emilia to Ferrara and Rimini.

The main articles of this research are:

Carta Geologica D’Italia alla scala 1:50.000:

Sheet 187 Codigoro (2009); Sheet 200 Reggio nell'Emilia (2016), coauthor of the illustrative notes; Sheet 203 Poggio Renatico (2009); Sheet 205 Comacchio (2009); Sheet 219 Sassuolo (2002); Sheet 220 Casalecchio di Reno (2009); Sheet 221 Bologna (2009); Sheet 223 Ravenna (2002); Sheet 238 Castel San Pietro Terme (2009); Sheet 239 Faenza (2009); Sheet 255 Cesena (2009); Sheet 256 Rimini (2005).

These geological maps and illustrative notes are available on line by ISPRA at http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/Media/carg/emilia.html

5) Strontium isotope stratigraphy and boron isotopes and relationships with fossil assemblages. These studies were carried out mainly with isotope geochemistries in order to:

i) apply the Sr isotope stratigraphy as a chronostratigraphic tool and the relationships with biostratigraphic events in reference Mediterranean sections, such as the Calabrian stratotipe at Vrica and the DSDP Site 132 (Tyrrhenian Sea)

ii) evaluate the influence of freshwater dilution, defined by microfossil assemblages, on the isotope ratios of Sr and B in biogenic carbonates of paralic and deltaic palaeoenvironments.

The main articles of this research are:

Barbieri M., Castorina F., Colalongo M.L., Pasini G., Vaiani S.C., 1998 - Worldwide correlation of the Pliocene/Pleistocene GSSP at Vrica (Southern Italy) confirmed by strontium isotope stratigraphy. Newsletters on Stratigraphy 36, 177-187.

Vaiani S.C., Barbieri M., Castorina F., Colalongo M.L., 1999. Integrated strontium isotope stratigraphy and biochronology in the upper Pliocene and Pleistocene of DSDP Site 132 (western Mediterranean). Giornale di Geologia 61, 37-45.

Vaiani S.C., 2000. Testing the applicability of Strontium Isotope Stratigraphy in marine to deltaic Pleisto­cene deposits: an example from the Lamone River Valley (northern Italy), Journal of Geology 108, 585-599. DOI: 10.1086/314416

Castorina F., Vaiani S.C., 2009. Early Pliocene 87Sr/86Sr isotopic record from the DSDP Site 132 (Tyrrhenian Sea). GeoActa 8, 25-31.

Vaiani S.C., Pennisi M., 2014. Tracing freshwater provenance in palaeo-lagoons by boron isotopes and relationship with benthic foraminiferal assemblages. A comparison from late Quaternary subsurface successions in Northern and Central Italy. Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana 53, 55-66. DOI: 10.4435/BSPI.2014.06

Castorina F., Vaiani S.C. 2017. Riverine influence in Sr isotope ratio of mollusk shells and relationship with foraminiferal assemblages in a Late Quaternary succession of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy). Italian Journal of Geosciences 137, 31-37.

6) Foraminiferal biostratigraphy and palaeoenvironments within sediments associated to fossil remains of marine mammals (from museum's collections) or from successions where these vertebrates were collected. These micropalaeontological studies were included in taxonomic and phylogenetic researches of selected species of marine mammals carried out by specialists of these fossils. Foraminiferal data provided a bio and chronostratigraphic framework of the analyzed mammals, suitable to researches on their evolutionary trends. The comparison of the living palaeoenvironment of the analyzed mammals with the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction - based on the foraminiferal assemblages in sediments associated with the vertebrate remains - locally highlighted a post mortem transport of these remains.

Comparable researches (foraminiferal based biostratigraphy and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction) were also carried out in successions including fossil fruits and seeds.

The main articles of this research are:

Sorbi S., Vaiani S.C., 2007. New sirenian record from Lower Pliocene sediments of Tuscany (Italy). Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 113/2, 299-304.

Bianucci G., Vaiani S.C. Casati S., 2009. A new delphinid record (Odontoceti, Cetacea) from the Early Pliocene of Tuscany (Central Italy): systematics and biostratigraphic considerations. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie – Abhandlungen, 254, 275-292. DOI: 10.1127/0077-7749/2009/0018

Sorbi S., Domning D.P., Vaiani S.C., Bianucci G., 2012. Metaxytherium subapenninum (Bruno, 1839) (Mammalia, Dugongidae), the latest sirenian of the Mediterranean Basin. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32, 686 - 707. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2012.659100

Martinetto E., Monegato G., Irace A., Vaiani S.C., Vassio E., 2015. Pliocene and Early Pleistocene carpological records of terrestrial plants from the southern border of the Po Plain (northern Italy). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 218, 148-166. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2014.10.00

7) Revision of lithostratigraphic units. This research, developed in collaboration with sedimentologists and stratigraphers, are based on the biostratigraphic, sequence-stratigraphic, sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental analyses of selected lithostratigraphic units, allowing a detailed characterization - and in certain cases - a revision of the hierarchic order or a redefinition of the units. The revised lithostratigraphic units are the Pantano, Cigarello and Sabbie di Imola Formations outcropping in the Northern Apennines. Moreover the hierarchic order of the Bismatova Formation was changed and raised to Group.

These revisions are thereafter used in the Geological Mapping Project of Italy (CARG project).

The main articles of this research are:

Amorosi A., Colalongo M.L., Vaiani S.C., 1996 - Revisione litostratigrafica dell'Unità Bismantova (Miocene epiligure, Appennino Settentrionale). Bollettino della Società Geologica Italiana 115, 355-367. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3121.1996.tb00566.x

Amorosi A., Colalongo M.L., Vaiani S.C., 1996 - Detecting a sequence boundary across different tectonic domains: an example from the Middle Miocene of the northern Apennines (Italy). Terra Nova 8, 334-346.

Amorosi A., Barbieri M., Castorina F., Colalongo M.L., Pasini G., Vaiani S.C., 1998. Sedimentology, micropalaeontology, and strontium-isotope dating of a lower-middle Pleistocene marine succession (“Argille Azzurre”) in the Romagna Apennines, northern Italy. Bollettino della Società Geologica Italiana 117, 789-806.

Amorosi A., Caporale L., Cibin U., Colalongo M.L., Pasini G., Ricci Lucchi F., Severi P., Vaiani S.C., 1998. The Pleistocene littoral deposits (Imola Sands) of the Northern Apennines foothills. Giornale di Geologia 60, 83-118.

The research activity includes also the cooperation for chapters of various books, specifically:

Andreani F., Vaiani S.C., 2005. I microfossili dei calanchi nelle Argille Azzurre della Romagna occidentale: una chiave per lo studio degli ambienti e del clima del passato. In: Bassi S., Piastra S., Sami M. (Editors), Calanchi - Le Argille Azzurre delle Romagna occidentale. Carta Bianca Editore, 63-67.

Scarponi D., Colalongo M.L., Fiorini F., Vaiani S.C., 2009. l delta. I Fossili. In: Amorosi A., Pignone R. (Editors), La pianura geologia, suoli e ambienti in Emilia-Romagna, pp. 126-130. Pendragon. Bologna. ISBN 978-88-8342-731-2

Scarponi D., Colalongo M.L., Fiorini F., Vaiani S.C., 2009. La piana costiera. I Fossili. In: Amorosi A., Pignone R. (Editors), La pianura geologia, suoli e ambienti in Emilia-Romagna, pp. 158-164. Pendragon. Bologna. ISBN 978-88-8342-731-2

Scarponi D., Colalongo M.L., Fiorini F., Vaiani S.C., 2009. La pianura alluvionale. I Fossili. In: Amorosi A., Pignone R. Editors), La pianura geologia, suoli e ambienti in Emilia-Romagna, pp. 99-102. Pendragon. Bologna. ISBN 978-88-8342-731-2

Pasini G., Vaiani S.C., 2012. Il paleoinghiottitoio della Cava a Filo. In: Demaria D., Forti P., Grimandi P., Agolini G. (Editors), Le Grotte Bolognesi, pp. 167-168. ISBN 978-88-904951-2-0

Dalmonte C., De Waele J., Fornaciari E., Pasini G., Vaiani S.C., Correale C., Fabbri F., 2012. Fenomeni carsici tardo-Messiniani. In: Demaria D., Forti P., Grimandi P., Agolini G. (Editors), Le Grotte Bolognesi, 218-219. ISBN 978-88-904951-2-0

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