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Late palaeozoic wetland plant communities: palaeoecological, palaeobiogeographic and evolutionary significance

King, Sarah Caroline (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The late Palaeozoic marked the beginnings of fully established, global terrestrial ecosystems as we know them today. Large-scale provinciality of vascular plants had
developed by this time, and four global phytogeographic provinces were named, superimposed on the converging Pangaean landmass: Angara (mid-high latitude north), Gondwana (mid-high latitude south), Euramerica (low latitude west) and Cathaysia (low latitude east). The low latitude provinces supported vast swathes of the famous ‘coal swamp’ wetland flora at this time. Delineation of these provinces has never been formally ratified due to most palaeobotanical work being on a local to regional scale, and results of this work being presumed as representative of a wide area. This thesis examines the wetland flora of the most contentious, low latitude provinces, and aims to assess the widely cited proposal of linkage and substantial interchange between Euramerica and Cathaysia. The proposal is upheld, specifically during the Stephanian (~305-300 Ma), when the well established flora in Euramerica migrated along a pathway through the tectonically complex Angara region and quickly colonised North Cathaysia,where it flourished and diversified after the extirpation of the source flora in Euramerica.

Connections between the regions at other times are also found to be highly likely,although the complexity of the tectonic backdrop, and difficulties with characterisation of
highly dynamic wetland floras, lead to ultimate recommendations to analyse the floras as fully and in as wide a context as possible, and to utilise all avenues of evidence, in order to progress in uncovering their full histories.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Cleal, Christopher and Hilton, Jason
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects:GE Environmental Sciences
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3565
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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