A pollen record from Timbio, located at an elevation of 1750m on the high plain of Popayán (2 degrees 24'N, 76 degrees 36'W) is presented. This forms the basis for reconstructing the vegetation and climate history for the periods from 27000 to 9200 radiocarbon years before the present (14Cyr BP) and 2100 14Cyr BP to sub-recent. The 5m sediment core has time control based on seven AMS radiocarbon dates. Four pollen assemblage zones (TIM-1 to TIM-4) are recognized. During the period of 27200 to 26000 14Cyr BP, an Andean forest was near the site. The vegetation consisted of forest and open herb-rich vegetation, climatic conditions were moist and temperatures some 6 degrees C lower than compared to those of today. During the period of 26000 to 16000 14Cyr BP forest was less open. The observed succession from a Podocarpus-Weinmannia dominated forest to a Hedyosmum dominated forest, and finally to a forest with Ilex, Myrica and ferns indicates a progressive decrease of temperature during this period, with a maximum temperature depression of ca. 5-7.5 degrees C compared to present-day conditions. During the period of 16000 to 9200 14Cyr BP, temperature decrease is estimated at ca. 7.5 degrees C and the climate was the driest. During the period of 2100 to 600 14C2600m altitude (ca. 8 degrees C) and those at sea-level (2.5-6 degrees C) and supports the observation that glacial lapse rates were higher than in modern times.
A floral change occurring in northern South America at the Paleocene/Eocene boundary is analysed using palynological data. The sequence studied is an outcrop from the Venezuelan Maracaibo basin, deposited in shallow marine to coastal environments without apparent stratigraphic breaks. Significant pollen and spore counts from 237 samples were studied stratigraphically and statistically in order to compare Paleocene and Eocene palaeofloras and palaeoecological trends. The Late Paleocene/Early Eocene transition is the boundary between two floras which differ both qualitatively and quantitatively. However, the change is not sudden but stepped and gradual. Paleocene taxa seem to be of pantropical distribution, whereas Eocene assemblages are more restricted to the Neotropics. The global warming well documented elsewhere is proposed as the major cause for these changes. Trends in sporomorph diversity in this record appear to track changes in temperature documented in isotopic records from temperate regions. The extinct parent plant of Echitriporites trianguliformis is tentatively proposed to be intolerant to high temperatures, because of its absence during the Early Eocene warm phase. Palaeoecologically, although marsh and back-mangrove swamps dominated both Late Paleocene and Early Eocene assemblages, their taxonomic compositions were different, especially in the inland marsh forests. Mangrove components are scarce or absent through the whole sequence studied, suggesting the absence of these communities during the time-interval analysed. A palaeoecological subdivision into assemblage zones was not possible; instead, a recurrent pattern suggesting palynological cycles was observed. However, palynocycles could not be studied in detail due to the lack of knowledge of botanical affinities for many of the taxa involved and the apparent absence of mangrove assemblages.
A total of 23 pollen diagrams [stored in the Alpine Palynological Data-Base (ALPADABA), Geobotanical Institute, Bern] cover the last 100 to over 1000 years. The sites include 15 lakes, seven mires, and one soil profile distributed in the Jura Mts (three sites), Swiss Plateau (two sites), northern Pre-Alps and Alps (six sites), central Alps (five sites), southern Alps (three sites), and southern Pre-Alps (four sites) in the western and southern part of Switzerland or just outside the national borders. The pollen diagrams have both a high taxonomic resolution and a high temporal resolution, with sampling distances of 0.5–3 cm, equivalent to 1 to 11 years for the last 100 years and 8 to 130 years for earlier periods.
Charcoal analysis of six shell mounds showed that no major changes of the mainland vegetation ecosystem have taken place along the southeastern Brazilian coast (22°53′–22°57′S, 42°03′–42°33′W) from 5500 to 1400 ¹⁴C yr BP. These shell mounds have been occupied by sedentary fisher–gatherer–hunters. Charcoal fragments retrieved from vertical profiles in the archaeological sites were examined; taxonomic determinations were based on a reference collection of charred woods and a program for computer-aided identification. Charcoal assemblages of all the studied sites present taxa from various restinga vegetation types, mangroves, xeromorphic coastal forest, and inland Atlantic Forest. The restinga ecosystem, characteristic of the Brazilian coast, is associated with sandy beach ridges; the restinga forest was much more abundant during the studied period than nowadays. The charcoal assemblages represent mainly the local vegetation; a regional reconstruction depends on the study of numerous sites. In the Cabo Frio region, open restinga taxa are more abundant in the Sambaqui do Forte, while forest elements are more important in the Sambaquis Salinas Peroano and Boca da Barra. The sites studied in the Arraial do Cabo (Sambaqui da Ponta da Cabeça) and in the Saquarema regions (Sambaquis da Pontinha and da Beirada) show that open restinga formations were locally predominant. A comparison of multivariate analysis applied to both charcoal assemblages and to phytosociological data of the extant vegetation showed a good correspondence between the charcoal spectra and the present vegetation. The high taxonomic diversity of archaeological charcoal samples and numerous fragments showing traces of decay before charring suggests that aleatory gathering of dead wood constituted the main source of firewood for fisher–gatherer–hunters populations. Condalia sp. was probably selected for cultural reasons.
Morphological variations are examined in the dinoflagellate cysts Spiniferites spp., Lingulodinium polyedrum and Protoceratium reticulatum (=Operculodinium centrocarpum) from a core taken in the Bjørnsholm Bay, the Limfjord, Denmark. The fjord has a history of changing salinity, and unusual cyst morphotypes are found in the greatest numbers during periods of inferred low salinity. Variation occurs primarily in cyst process morphology, and the aberrant morphotypes have processes that are shorter, thicker and/or more membranous. The different morphotypes are described and compared with other varieties and forms of the three taxa and to other closely related taxa.
The island of Rügen (NE Germany), situated close to the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ), in the southern Baltic Sea is underlain by sedimentary rocks of an Early Palaeozoic age, known only from boreholes. The wells, Rügen 5/66 and Binz 1/73, were investigated for their chitinozoan assemblages to improve the earlier biostratigraphic dating (graptolites and acritarchs) and to facilitate comparisons with other chitinozoan assemblages on both sides of the TESZ. In the lower part of the Rügen 5/66 core (3794.7-3615.8m), Lagenochitina destombesi Elaouad-Debbaj is indicative of an early late Tremadoc age. In the upper part of the same well (3287.3-1709.7m), the observed chitinozoan taxa suggest an age spanning the early Llanvirn to the Caradoc. The entire sampled interval of the Binz 1/73 core (5217.6-5041.8m) is interpreted as belonging to the Siphonochitina formosa Biozone (early-early late Abereiddian, corresponding to the early Llanvirn). The chitinozoan data corroborate the earlier suggested biostratigraphic ages, based on acritarchs and graptolites. The chitinozoans from the Binz 1/73 well point to a high latitude provenance of the investigated host sediments at time of deposition.
This is the third paper of an extensive study of pollen morphology and exine structure of Acalyphoideae (Euphorbiaceae) following the most recent system of Webster. Pollen from 120 collections representing 96 species and 30 genera is described and illustrated with light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. These taxa are from tribes Epiprineae, Adelieae, Alchorneae, and Acalypheae pro parte. Pollen of eight genera, Epiprinus, Symphyllia, Adenochlaena, Cleidiocarpon, Koilodepas, Cladogynos, Cephalocrotonopsis and Cephalocroton, of the nine assigned to Epiprinae share 3-colporate apertures, microreticulate, punctate or deeply punctate tecta, well developed or prominent columellae (Koilodepas excepted) and thin foot layers; pollen of the ninth genus, Cephalomappa, has porelike colpi, a coarsely reticulate exine, irregular columellae and an irregular foot layer. Of the five genera assigned to Adelieae, pollen of Adelia, Lasiocroton and Leucocroton is similar: 3-colp(oroid)ate with stratified opercula, crotonoid tecta and thin foot layers; grains of Enriquebeltrania and Crotonogynopsis lack opercula and the latter has a distinctive infratectum of poorly differentiated columellae. All genera examined of tribe Alchorneae, seven of the nine, have exines with unstratified opercula and elongated columellae near the endoaperture. Exines of subtribe Alchorneinae (Orfilea, Alchornea, Coelebogyne, Aparisthmium, Bocquillonia) have complex infratecta of poorly differentiated columellae, whereas pollen of Conceveiba and Gavarretia, the two genera examined of the three assigned to subtribe Conceveibinae, has a single layer of short columellae and almost identical tectal morphology. In the large tribe Acalypheae, pollen of the first six of the 11 subtribes was examined. Pollen of Ricinus (Ricininae) and Adriana (Adrianinae) share indistinguishable exine structures and tecta. Pollen of Mercurialis and Leidesia of subtribe Mercurialinae and pollen of Dysopsis of subtribe Dysopsidinae are almost identical: finely reticulate tecta, very thin apertural endexines, elongate columellae, and channeled/perforate foot layers. All three genera of subtribe Cleidiinae have grains that are 3-colporate and have complete tecta; pollen of Wetria has a tectum morphology very similar to that of Ricinus and Adriana; pollen of Cleidion is 3-brevicolporate with microrugulose or punctate tecta, and has threadlike non-apertural endexines and foot layers, and thick tecta; exines of Sampantaea have an endexine throughout the grain, thin foot layers, very short columellae and a thick continuous tectum. Pollen of Macaranga of subtribe Macaranginae is small, 3-colporate with poorly defined endoapertures, and an exine structure characterized by thin foot layers, short columellae, and thick tecta. Pollen data support: the concept of the subtribe Epiprininae, but indicate that subtribe Cephalomappinae (Cephalomappa) is not related and should be considered for separate tribal status; a close relationship among Adelia, Lasiocroton and Leucocroton, but not with the two remaining members of Adelieae, Enriquebeltrania and Crotonogynopsis, which do not appear to be closely related to each other; the present concept of Alchorneae and subtribes Alchorneinae and Conceveibinae. Within the genera examined of the first six subtribes of Acalypheae, the pollen data: support a close relationship between the monogeneric subtribes Ricininae and Adrianinae; indicate a close relationship between subtribes Mercurialinae (Mercurialis, Leidesia) and Dysopsidinae (Dysopsis); suggest that Wetria is not closely related to Cleidion or Sampantaea (Cleidiinae); tentatively support the concept of Macaranginae as comprising only Macaranga.
The Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous genus Tritaenia Maegdefrau et Rudolf 1969 is problematic because of: (1) missing authentic material of its type species, T. linkii (Roemer 1839) Maegdefrau et Rudolf; and (2) Watson and Harrison's (1998) synonymization of T. linkii with Pseudotorellia heterophylla Watson. This paper: (1) rectifies the status of T. linkii on the basis of newly recovered specimens carrying the original author's authentication; and (2) gives the basis for rejecting Watson and Harrison's claim that T. linkii and T. crassa (Seward) Bose et Manum 1991 represent linear leaves of the heterophyllous taxon Pseudotorellia heterophylla. The three species of Tritaenia known to date (T. crassa, T. linkii, T. scotica) are reviewed, and the genus is compared with other Mesozoic so-called 'Sciadopitys-like' hypostomatic leaves with a median stomatal zone, many of which occur in mass accumulations such as T. linkii. Deciduousness is indicated for T. linkii and T. crassa by their occurrence in mass accumulations and the possession of well-developed abscission scars. Known mass accumulations of fossil foliage are reviewed and their implications for palaeoenvironmental interpretations discussed.
CHITINOS is a microfossil image and data acquisition system developed to support palynologists from field work to report production. The system is intended for chitinozoans, but it can also accommodate other fossil groups. Thanks to its client-server architecture, the system can be accessed by multiple users. The database can be filled with data acquired during palynological work or taken from the literature. The system allows for the easy input, update, management, analysis and retrieval of paleontological data to enable the paleontologist to elucidate paleogeographic patterns, changes in biodiversity and taxonomic differentiations. Query and plot interfaces are intended for report production. The system was designed as the basis of a knowledge expert system by providing a new perspective in the interpretation of interrelated data.
A pelagic sedimentary succession, virtually complete from the Upper Hauterivian to the Upper Aptian and unconformably overlain by the Middle-Upper Albian p.p., was continuously cored in the Belluno Basin (southern Alps, NE Italy) as part of the APTICORE Program. APTICORE at Cismon Valley penetrated 131.8m of limestones, marls and black shales, with 100% recovery of good quality cored material.One hundred and forty-six samples recovered from the marl and shale beds of the Cismon core were processed and analyzed for palynomorphs. Most of them yielded relatively rich and fairly well preserved assemblages of marine and terrestrially-derived palynomorphs.The results of a qualitative study of dinoflagellate cysts and acritarchs are presented and discussed. The distributions of 150 taxa are tabulated against the chronostratigraphy independently established on the basis of original litho-, bio-, chemo-, magnetostratigraphic investigations and of correlations with extensively studied sections outcropping in the vicinity of the Cismon drill site.The acritarch Pinocchiodinium erbae gen. et sp. nov. is described. Due to its distinctive morphology and extremely constant occurrence also in the black shales of the Selli Level, it is proposed as a marker species for the Aptian sediments of the Tethys.The dinoflagellate cysts Kallosphaeridium dolomiticum sp. nov. and Nexosispinum hesperus brevispinosum subsp. nov. are described from the Upper Hauterivian. Additional taxonomic remarks are made about other dinoflagellate cyst species, including the emendations of Tanyosphaeridium magneticum Davies 1983 and Bourkidinium granulatum Morgan 1975.The biostratigraphic value of selected taxa is discussed and compared with data known both from the Tethyan and Boreal realms. In particular, the extinction of Bourkidinium granulatum emend. is proposed as the best dinoflagellate cyst event for the delimitation of the Hauterivian-Barremian boundary in the Northern Hemisphere. The first appearance datums of Prolixosphaeridium parvispinum and Odontochitina operculata, and the slightly younger last appearance datum of Nexosispinum vetusculum are confirmed as useful biohorizons for recognition of the lower part of the Upper Barremian and hence for the approximation of the Lower-Upper Barremian boundary. The last occurrences of Rhynchodiniopsis aptiana and Phoberocysta neocomica are calibrated in the basal Aptian.
Acritarchs from the interval corresponding to the late Arenigian and early Llanvirnian in British stratigraphy have rarely been described from China, and they are documented herein for the first time. A biostratigraphic correlation of certain acritarch taxa with the Undulograptus austrodentatus graptolite Biozone, which constitutes the base of the Darriwilian Stage, is still premature for China and elsewhere. According to recent studies on different sections from South China, it appears that at least four distinctive species (Ampullula suetica, Dicrodiacrodium ancoriforme, Hoegklintia rayii nov. comb., Liliosphaeridium intermedium) may characterize an interval that corresponds to levels just below or within the Darriwilian Stage. In this context, the acritarch assemblages of the lower to upper Arenigian and of the lower Llanvirnian sequences from different localities of the Yangtze Platform are described. Four acritarch assemblages are distinguished for this time interval and their possible correlations with other areas are discussed.
A restudy of the Ordovician (Arenig-Llanvirn) acritarch taxa Tranvikium polygonale Tynni, 1982, and Ampullula suetica Righi, 1991, indicates that they represent extremes in a single morphological plexus. At one extreme are forms with a polar 'excystment' aperture (closed by an operculum or two opercular pieces) and a smaller opening (plugged or open) at the opposite pole; at the other are forms lacking a polar aperture but having, at the opposite pole, a tube open distally and plugged or open basally. New morphological terms for these structures are proposed. The genera and species are treated as synonyms and an emended diagnosis is given for Tranvikium polygonale, incorporating this whole morphological plexus. The possible purposes of the structures exhibited and the likely affinity of T. polygonale to various groups of algae are discussed. The emendation of Ampullula by Brocke (1997) is rejected and the genus Stelomorpha Yin, 1994 retained, with an emended diagnosis. The new combination Stelomorpha princeps (Brocke, 1997) Uutela and Sarjeant is proposed.
The Lower Palaeozoic sequences west of the Leinster Granite and in the Slievenamon Inlier of southeast Ireland have been palynologically re-investigated. Most of the productive samples yielded sufficient identifiable acritarchs for positive stratigraphical age determinations for several of the formations. The samples also include rare cryptospores, scolecodonts and tubular structures. Previous work in the area west of the Leinster Granite proposed an unbroken succession from Early Ordovician Ribband Group turbidites and volcanics passing up conformably to Early Ordovician to Late Silurian Kilcullen Group. The new palynological data clearly show that the Kilcullen Group in this area is entirely Silurian (Llandovery-early Wenlock) in age, also results obtained from the same group at Slievenamon confirm the previously reported Silurian age. Ordovician acritarchs found in the Kilcullen Group of both study areas are reworked and range in age from late Tremadoc to Llanvirn. The new data reveal a major stratigraphic break between the Ribband Group dated as Early and Middle Ordovician and the Silurian Kilcullen Group. This major break extends some hundreds of kms southwest to the Dingle Peninsula and possibly equates with a similar discontinuity in the Isle of Man to the northeast. This break would thus appear to be a major feature within the northwestern Avalonian margin sequence.
The "messaoudensis-trifidum acritarch assemblage" is currently considered to be characteristic of latest Tremadoc-earliest Arenig cold-water environments on the periphery of Gondwana, at high latitudes in the southern hemisphere. An integrated biostratigraphical study on both acritarchs and graptolites was until now only available for localities in northwest England. Reinvestigation of the "messaoudensis-trifidum acritarch assemblage" from the Barriga Formation (Sierra Morena, southwestern Spain), which contains some graptolite horizons that can be attributed to the latest Tremadoc (pre-phyllograptoides and pre-approximatus graptolite biozones), strengthens the biostratigraphical potential of the "messaoudensis-trifidum assemblage", and the importance of some of the acritarch taxa recovered from these levels. It is concluded that the acritarch genera Coryphidium Vavrdová, 1972, Peteinosphaeridium Staplin et al., 1965 emend. Playford et al., 1995, Striatotheca, Burmann, 1970, and the Veryhachium lairdii group (rectangular veryhachiids) appear in the latest Tremadoc, and should not be considered as indicators of the base of the Arenig, as previously suggested.
Tresarcus, a new monospecific acritarch genus, is established along with the type-species Tresarcus suecicus sp. nov. It was found in samples from the upper Arenig (Lenodus sp. A conodont Zone) of the Hagudden and Horns Udde sections, Öland, Sweden. The three-arched process tip is a peculiar characteristic of Tresarcus. This structure recalls, from a morphological point of view (though at a different dimensional scale), the four-arched termination of the epidermal hairs that ornate the adaxial (upper) surface of the assimilating leaves of Salvinia natans, Adanson, 1785 (Pteridophyta). This species has an aquatic habit and the four-arched structure as the tip of the epidermal is interpreted as a device that favours buoyancy by trapping air on the leaf surface. A similar function is hypothesized for the three-arched processes of Tresarcus.
Palynomorph assemblages, especially chitinozoans and acritarchs, from the Upper Ordovician of well Nl-2 (north-east of the Algerian Sahara) are studied in order to precisely date the ultimate effects of the Late Ordovician glaciation and to document the impact of this major climatic stress on the diversity of the palynoplankton. References are made to stable isotope excursions and to global eustatic sea level variations in order to improve the local age determination. The Hassi el Hadjar Formation, i.e. glacio-marine diamictites, is interpreted as a transgressive event resulting from the melting of the northern Gondwana ice cap. It yields poorly preserved and moderately diverse chitinozoans of late Hirnantian age. Acritarchs are more abundant in the lower part of these “microconglomeratic clays”, but display a low diversity and are badly preserved throughout the whole formation. Reworked individuals are recorded in both groups. The marine sediments of the M'Kratta Formation of latest Hirnantian age contain better preserved, more abundant and more diverse palynomorph assemblages, especially in the Upper Member. The composition of this palynoplankton indicates a fairly good faunal and phytoplankton recovery after the early Hirnantian climatic stress.
The metasediments of the low-grade metamorphosed Baden-Baden-Gaggenau zone of the northern Schwarzwald (southwestern Germany) have been analyzed palynologically. From 133 samples representing different metasedimentary units, only three samples of the upper part of the Traischbach Serie provide extremely poorly-preserved palynomorphs. The assemblage consists of the galeate acritarch genera Caldariola, Cymatiogaleaand Stelliferidium, as well as specimens of diacromorph and polygonomorph acritarchs. Although determinations are difficult at the generic level and essentially impossible at the specific level, the assemblage can be attributed to an interval between the Late Cambrian and Early Ordovician. This is the first biostratigraphical age assignment for the metasediments of the Baden-Baden-Gaggenau zone, which can possibly be correlated with the Villé Unit of the northern Vosges Mountains (eastern France).
Six acritarch species from the Lükati Formation were studied using a combination of techniques, including transmitted light, scanning electron (SEM) and transmission electron (TEM) microscopy. New details of wall ultrastructure, surface microsculpture and internal morphology of the vesicle and processes significantly add to the previously known morphological features and increase the understanding of the form-genera Archaeodiscina, Globosphaeridium, Comasphaeridium, Skiagia, Tasmanites and Leiosphaeridia. Examination of microfossils using TEM revealed a substantial variation in wall ultrastructure among acritarchs. The diversity includes four structural types of vesicle wall in addition to their single- and multi-layered structure and the variable thickness of the wall. These are: electron-tenuous and fibrous; electron-dense and homogeneous; electron-dense and homogeneous but perforated by radial canals; and composite laminated structure. Morphologically recognised groupings of acritarchs (acanthomorphic, disphaeromorphic, sphaeromorphic) and tasmanitid taxa appear to be characterised by particular features of the wall structure, although the wall structure in itself may not be directly indicative of systematic relationships. Structurally diverse vesicle walls are observed in Tasmanites and Leiosphaeridia, taxa that both have been interpreted, based on other lines of evidence, to be of prasinophycean (green algal) affinities. The distinct wall ultrastructure of the Leiosphaeridia studied is similar to that of extant green algal genera, which provides evidence that some Cambrian leiosphaerids were chlorophycean algae, probably related to the Order Chlorococcales. Previous research and interpretations of the wall ultrastructure are also briefly discussed.
We sampled and analyzed surface sediments from 31 lakes along a latitudinal transect crossing the coniferous treeline on the Kola Peninsula, Russia. The major vegetation zones along the transect were tundra, birch-forest tundra, pine-forest tundra, and forest. The results indicate that the major vegetation types in our study area have distinct pollen spectra. Sum-of-squares cluster analysis and principal components analysis (PCA) groupings of pollen sites correspond to the major vegetation zones. PCA ordination of taxa indicates that the first axis separates taxa typical of the forest zone (Pinus, Picea) from taxa typical of tundra and forest-tundra zones (Polypodiaceae, Ericaceae, and Betula). The current position of the coniferous treeline, defined in our region by Pinus sylvestris, occurs roughly where Pinus pollen values reach 35% or greater. Arboreal pollen (AP)/non-arboreal pollen (NAP) ratios were calculated for each site and plotted against geographic distance along the transect. AP/NAP ratios of 7 or greater are found within pine-forest tundra and forest vegetation zones. Pinus stomates (dispersed stomatal guard cells) are absent from sites north of the coniferous treeline and all but two samples from the forested sites contain stomates. Stomate concentrations among the samples are highly variable and range from 10 to 458 per ml and positively correlate with the changing Pinus pollen values.
The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases, environmental disruption appears to have been a major factor in shaping the fossil record. This does not mean that continuing adaptation was not important during this interval, but it may indicate that adaptive evolution was strongest in environments other than those best represented in the paleobotanical record.
Tricolpites trioblatus Mildenhall and Pocknall was described from Upper Miocene-Pliocene sediments of New Zealand and attributed to the Hebe complex (Scrophulariaceae), which is common in the New Zealand vegetation, especially in montane and subalpine habitats. Pollen in Miocene-Pliocene sediments in central Australia is identified with T. trioblatus, and the depositional situations included shallow lakes, with fresh or brackish waters, sometimes becoming saline. The affinities of T. trioblatus are re-examined in the light of these disparate environments in Australia and New Zealand. It has been found that all the fossil grains examined are more comparable to pollen of Wilsonia, and perhaps Cressa (Convolvulaceae), than to those of the Hebe complex. Wilsonia and Cressa are found in salt marshes, hence affinities with them are ecologically more credible for central Australia. T. trioblatus is found in late Eocene sediments deposited under episodic marine transgressions; an environment likely to stimulate the evolution of new species tolerant to saline conditions.
Ten megaspore species isolated from Moscow Basin lignites of Lower Carboniferous (Viséan) age have been studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM). These species belong to seven megaspore genera: Lagenicula, Sublagenicula, Crassilagenicula, Setosisporites, Zonalesporites, Caudatosporites, and Cystosporites. Megaspores of the genus Caudatosporites have only been described previously from the Duckmantian (Westphalian B); a new species is duly erected. The ultrastructure of megaspore walls from the genera Crassilagenicula and Zonalesporites has not been previously described. This study also places them in context with other contemporaneous megaspores. The study shows that during the Viséan, in the Moscow Basin, megaspores expressed a similar wall ultrastructure despite large differences in external appearance. The genus Crassilagenicula may represent a group of megaspores from plants that had evolved from those bearing gulate megaspores here typified by Lagenicula acuminata, Setosisporites brevispinosus, and Sublagenicula hirsutoida. Zonalesporites brasserti also appears to show affinities to this group, and may be representative of a plant species in a transitional state between the Lagenicula bearing lycopsids and those more isoetalean in nature.
Modern soil samples from South Congo were analyzed for pollen content and compared to forest inventories to define modern pollen-vegetation relationships. A correspondence analysis (CA) was applied independently to botanical and pollen data and a hierarchical cluster analysis to pollen data only. Subsequently, a CA using a presence-absence approach has been made to directly compare the two types of data. Results show that the pollen rain and floristic composition of the sampled sites are not directly linked to altitudinal or precipitation gradients, but clear evidence of variation in relation to hygromorphy and soil type is detected. The forests occurring in swampy environments are well differentiated from the forests developed on well-drained soils by pollen and floristic data. Among forests on well-drained soils, a good distinction can be made between those growing on sandy soils and those growing on ferralitic soils. The comparison between pollen spectra and vegetation shows site-to-site variations in pollen assemblages in relation to the floristic heterogeneity of forests, and it appears that few taxa show a good correlation between plant cover and pollen abundance.
The conifer, Frenelopsis alata (K. Feistmantel) E. Knobloch (Cheirolepidiaceae), occurring mostly in the Cenomanian of Europe, is revised on the basis of the type material. Its comparison with relevant species of Frenelopsis is discussed.The ovuliferous cone associated with the genus Frenelopsis is recorded for the first time. For the associated ovuliferous cones of Frenelopsis, a new genus, Alvinia, is introduced in a new combination for the type: Alvinia bohemica (Velenovský) comb. n. Its association with Frenelopsis alata is based on the presence of Classopollis pollen adhering to ovuliferous cone scales, and the same type of pollen found in the microsporangiate cone of F. alata, the same cuticle pattern present on ovuliferous cones, sterile twigs and microsporangiate cones of F. alata, and also the co-occurrence of ovuliferous cones or their scales and sterile twigs of F. alata.Large ovuliferous cones of Alvinia bohemica are formed by helically arranged ovuliferous scales subtended by bracts. Each ovuliferous cone scale displays one or two seeds covered by a covering flap, and three appendages, which form distally a funnel-like structure lined in its inner part by long trichomes. Numerous pollen grains of Classopollis adhere to the trichomes, and the structure is considered to function as a protostigmatic area.The ovuliferous cones of Alvinia differ from similar cones of the Cheirolepidiaceae, Hirmeriella and Tomaxellia, mainly in a high state of unification of the ovuliferous cone scale, reduction of appendages and in a presence of the protostigmatic funnel-like structure.The ovuliferous cones, Alvinia bohemica, rarely occur intact, so it is assumed that they disintegrate when mature. It seems likely that they were not woody. This assumption is supported by the flattened appearance of cones and their cone scales in the sediment, their flexibility and the absence of massive coaly matter known from cones of the Taxodiaceae and Cupressaceae. It is proposed that this type of ovuliferous cone scale indicates a specialized type of pollination. In addition, it is suggested that cone scales enclosing seeds play an important role in propagation.
Coniferous foliage from the Albian of Alexander Island, Antarctica, is assigned to the Araucariaceae, Podocarpaceae, and Taxodiaceae based on attached or associated fertile remains. Araucarian foliage represented by Araucaria alexandrensis sp. nov. and A. chambersii sp. nov. is associated with ovulate cone scales described as Araucarites wollemiaformis sp. nov. and A. citadelbastionensis sp. nov., respectively. The Podocarpaceae is represented by Bellingshausium willeyii sp. nov. and the Taxodiaceae by Athrotaxites ungeri, both with attached cones. Sterile foliage is widespread belonging to the form genera Podozamites, Elatocladus, Brachyphyllum and Pagiophyllum. The conifers in this Albian southern high-latitude flora make up ca. 15% of the species diversity. Evidence from leaf litter distribution on palaeosols and leaf morphology suggest that the majority of conifers were large canopy-forming trees, although a few were probably small understorey shrubs.