Morphological Convergence in Forest Microfungi Provides a Proxy for Paleogene Forest Structure

Jouko Kalevi Rikkinen, Alexander Schmidt

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Amber, fossilized plant resin from gymnosperms and angiosperms, is renowned for preserving a wide range of organisms in microscopic fidelity. These so-called amber inclusions comprise many groups of organisms, ranging from bacteria to arthropods and vertebrates. Calicioid lichens and fungi, which are from now on referred to as “calicioids,” constitute a diverse group of tiny ascomycetes with superficially similar, usually well-stalked ascomata and which often accumulate mature ascospores on top of the apothecial disk to form a true mazaedium. The aim of this study is to use all available information on the morphology and ecology of extant calicioids to reconstruct the substrate and habitat ecology of known fossil calicioids and then to use this information to open new insights into the stand structure and ecological conditions of European Paleogene amber forests. First, we introduce the morphology of extant calicioids and demonstrate that their structural features are intimately linked to habitat ecology and are instrumental for successful dispersal; we also explain the conspicuous morphological convergence between phylogenetically distant calicioid fungi. Then, we show that the adaptive traits of calicioids have not changed since at least the Eocene, and argue that their fundamental niches also have remained unchanged. Finally, we summarize what the diversity and relative abundance of fossil calicioids in amber tells us about the ecological conditions that once prevailed in European amber forests.
Titel på gästpublikationTransformative Paleobotany : Papers to Commemorate the Life and Legacy of Thomas N. Taylor
RedaktörerMichael Krings, Carla J. Harper, Néstor Rubén Cúneo, Gar W. Rothwell
Antal sidor22
FörlagAcademic Press
Utgivningsdatum27 jul 2018
ISBN (tryckt)9780128130124
ISBN (elektroniskt)9780128130131
StatusPublicerad - 27 jul 2018
MoE-publikationstypA3 Del av bok eller annan forskningsbok


  • 1181 Ekologi, evolutionsbiologi

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