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Small is beautiful: investigations into Early Devonian plant mesofossils from the Welsh borderland, UK

Morris, Jennifer Louise, Edwards, Dianne, Richardson, J. B. and Axe, Lindsey 2011. Small is beautiful: investigations into Early Devonian plant mesofossils from the Welsh borderland, UK. Presented at: The Palaeontological Association 55th Annual Meeting, Plymouth, UK, 17-20 December 2011.

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Much of our understanding of the anatomy of the earliest land plants comes from the study of exceptionally well preserved, charcoalified mesofossils. Despite representing only a facet of early land vegetation, they continue to make significant contributions to the understanding of biodiversity and the development of terrestrial ecosystems. Recent studies have focused on establishing the morphological, anatomical and ultrastructural characteristics, using SEM, TEM and semi-thin sectioning, of a group of mesofossils macerated from Lochkovian rocks collected from the Welsh borderland. In particular, terminal sporangia, some attached to stomatiferous branching axes, contain in situ spores (trilete monads or cryptospores) of which many taxa have only been recognised in the dispersed spore record. With this data it is hoped that their affinity and taxonomic relationship with the early tracheophytes and bryophytes may be elucidated. For example, based on sporangial morphology and spore wall ultrastructure, a group of discoidal sporangia containing separating dyads are thought to be closely related to the tracheophytes, the dyads possessing a similar ultrastructure to crassitate trilete monads. Conversely, a group of valvate sporangia containing permanent dyads are hypothesised as representing a separate group of early embryophytes that possessed both tracheophytic and bryophytic characteristics.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2017 21:07

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