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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Dotzler, Nora [1], Krings, Michael [2], Taylor, Thomas N. [3], Galtier, Jean [4].

The non-marine microbial world in the late Paleozoic: new discoveries from Early Devonian and Early Carboniferous cherts.

Microorganisms were critical components of ancient ecosystems. Only recently, however, have they received increased attention when examining the fossil record. In spite of this activity, documentation of microorganisms from non-marine paleoenvironments remains rare. The Early Devonian Rhynie chert represents one of a few direct sources of information about microbial diversity in late Paleozoic non-marine paleoecosystems. Although the Rhynie chert has been studied for more than 80 years, documenting the biodiversity is still in progress. Here we report on a newly discovered filamentous-colonial cyanobacterium that forms distinct types of aggregates and colonies, as well as microbial mats. The mats are not composed exclusively of cyanobacterial filaments, but also contain several types of fungi, inlcuding a new chytrid. We hypothesize that this chytrid was biologically associated with the interior of microbial mats. The Rhynie chert also yields the earliest account of the prasinophycean phycoma Cymatiosphaera in a freshwater paleoecosystem. Cherts that are similarly rich in fossil microorganisms come from the Lower Carboniferous of Combres/Lay and Esnost in France. From these cherts, we report on a microfungal assemblage dominated by various types of chytrids associated within the wood of arborescent lycophytes. Many of these fungi differ from those in the Rhynie chert and underscore the microbial differences in two non-marine paleoecosystems separated by approximately 80 million years. We speculate that, as additional information is obtained about land plant/fungal interactions in the Early Carboniferous, it will become increasingly more important to record microbial diversity and trace associations in changing non-maine paleoecosystems.

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1 - Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläotnologie und Geologie, Richard-Wagner-Strasse 10, Munich, D-80333, Germany
2 - Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Richard-Wagner-Strasse 10, Munich, D-80333, Germany
3 - University of Kansas, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045-7534, USA
4 - CIRAD, UMR5120, Botanique & Bioinformatique, TA40/ PS2, Bouleverd de la Lironde, Montpellier, 34398, France


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: CP18
Location: Williford A/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: CP18005
Abstract ID:605

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