Krings, Michael , Harper , Carla J , Taylor, Edith L .
Primary producers in the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert: Cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae.
The Lower Devonian Rhynie chert from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has long been recognized as one of the most important rock deposits yielding comprehensive information on early continental plant, animal, and microbial life. Cyanobacteria and microscopic algae were no doubt instrumental as primary producers in the Rhynie ecosystem, and therefore must have been diverse and occurred in large quantities. However, only a few of these life forms have been documented in detail and formally described, due in part to the simple fact that specimens are often exceedingly small, and thus not readily recognized and studied. Moreover, classification of cyanobacteria and microscopic algae today largely relies on molecular data and (ultra)structural features that are difficult, if not impossible to obtain from fossils. This presentation reviews the documented evidence of primary producers from the Rhynie chert, and presents several new discoveries of coccoid and filamentous cyanobacteria, including forms resembling the extant Anabaena, Aphanothece, Cyanosarcina, Gloeocapsa, and Oscillatoria, as well as sarcinoid and filamentous eukaryotic algae that are morphologically similar to present-day Apatococcus/Desmococcus and Ulothrix. Moreover, microbial mats dominated by the filamentous cyanobacterium Croftalania venusta are described that harbour a variety of other photoautotrophic microorganisms, and thus represent a valuable source of new information on the diversity of primary producers in the Rhynie ecosystem.
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1 - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften, Paläontologie und Geobiologie, Richard-Wagner-Straße 10, Munich, 80333, Germany
2 - University Of Kansas, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Haworth Hall, Lawrence, KS, 66045-7600, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Candidate for Awards:None