Cryptic diversity of a Glossopteris forest: the Permian Prince Charles Mountains Floras, Antarctica.

Slater, Ben James (2014). Cryptic diversity of a Glossopteris forest: the Permian Prince Charles Mountains Floras, Antarctica. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The Toploje Member chert is a Roadian to Wordian autochthonous– parautochthonous silicified peat preserved within the Lambert Graben, East Antarctica. It preserves a remarkable sample of terrestrial life from high-latitude central Gondwana prior to the Capitanian mass extinction event from both mega- and microfossil evidence that includes cryptic components rarely seen in other fossil assemblages. The peat layer is dominated by glossopterid and cordaitalean gymnosperms and contains sparse herbaceous lycophytes, together with a broad array of dispersed organs of ferns and other gymnosperms. The peat also hosts a wide range of fungal morphotypes, Peronosporomycetes, rare arthropod remains and a diverse coprolite assemblage. The fungal and invertebrate-plant interactions associated with various organs of the Glossopteris plant reveal the cryptic presence of a ‘component community’ of invertebrate herbivores and fungal saprotrophs centred around the Glossopteris organism, and demonstrate that a multitude of ecological interactions were well developed by the Middle Permian in high-latitude forest mires. Comparisons of coal maceral data from co-occurring coal seams with quantitative analyses of the silicified peat constituents reveals that while silicified peats provide an unparalleled sample of the organisms forming these coal deposits, they do not necessarily reflect the constituents that ultimately dominate the coal maceral volume.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography


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