Abstract

Late Albian amber from Charente-Maritime (southwestern France) contains the first known marine diatoms preserved in a fossil resin. Approximately 70 inclusions were assignable to the genera Basilicostephanus, Coscinodiscus, Hemiaulus, Melosira, Paralia, Skeletonema, Stephanopyxis, Trochosira, ?Aulacoseira, and to the order Rhizosoleniales. Some of them are represented by several species. This diatom assemblage is mainly composed of colonial planktonic genera, which are typical for coastal shallow waters. The newly found amber inclusions extend the fossil record of four genera and one order from the Late Cretaceous and support certain molecular phylogenetic assumptions regarding the diversification of marine diatoms in the Early Cretaceous. The unusual introduction of diatom shells from the beach or sea by wind, spray, or high tide onto the resin flows was possible because the amber forest grew close to the seashore.

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