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A gymnosperm affinity for Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad: implications for vegetation and environmental reconstructions in the Late Triassic

Kürschner, Wolfram M.; Mander, Luke and McElwain, Jennifer C. (2014). A gymnosperm affinity for Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad: implications for vegetation and environmental reconstructions in the Late Triassic. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 94(2) pp. 295–305.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-014-0163-y
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Abstract

Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad is a prominently sculptured palynomorph that is dispersed at maturity as tetrads. It has a wide geographic distribution and reaches a stratigraphically important acme in the Norian and Rhaetian of Europe. As it has not yet been found in situ in a fossilized reproductive structure, its botanical affinity is poorly understood. Recent work on the morphology and ultrastructure of R. tuberculatus favours an affinity with gymnosperms rather than spore plants. In the present contribution, we re-evaluate Triassic–Jurassic (Tr-J) palynological records and discuss the consequences of a gymnosperm affinity for R. tuberculatus for Late Triassic vegetation reconstruction, as well as inferred palaeoecological interpretations. At a Tr-J boundary locality in East Greenland, the relative abundance of R. tuberculatus through time is similar to the Bennettitales Anomozamites and Pterophyllum. We suggest that R. tuberculatus may have been produced by a gymnosperm characterised by an herbaceous ruderal life habit. The poor preservation potential of the vegetative structures of such a plant may explain why R. tuberculatus has not yet been found in situ in a fossil reproductive structure. Moreover, principal component analysis of Late Triassic palynological records show that the vectors of R. tuberculatus and the common pollen type Classopollis plot in opposite directions. We suggest that the parent plants of R. tuberculatus and Classopollis (the Cheirolepidiaceae) may have had different ecological and/or climatological preferences.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
ISSN: 1867-1594
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetPIIF-GA-2012-328245EU
Keywords: Triassic; Rhaetian; Palynology; In situ pollen and spores; Herbaceous gymnosperm; Classopollis
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 50341
Depositing User: Luke Mander
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2017 14:03
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 02:58
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/50341
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