Skip to Main Content
GEOREF RECORD

Structure and dynamics of a Pennsylvanian-age Lepidodendron forest; colonizers of a disturbed swamp habitat in the Herrin (No. 6) Coal of Illinois

William A. DiMichele and Philip J. DeMaris
Structure and dynamics of a Pennsylvanian-age Lepidodendron forest; colonizers of a disturbed swamp habitat in the Herrin (No. 6) Coal of Illinois
Palaios (1987) 2 (2): 146-157

Abstract

Tree stumps of arborescent lycopods were discovered in situ at the contact of the Herrin (No. 6) Coal and the Energy Shale Members, near the Walshuille paleochannel, the major river channel running through and draining the Herrin coal swamp. The stumps are associated with, and in one case attached to, fallen trunks identified as a Lepidodendron similar to L. aculeatum. The stumps and trunks occur in a lower carbonaceous facies of the Energy Shale. The trees were rooted in the peat and represent the final vegetation at the site. Various lines of evidence suggest that the trees were of approximately the same age and formed a single stand that died as a consequence of completing a determinate life cycle, not as a result of mud accumulation or drowning. Distribution of the tree stumps is random. Consideration of tree habit and development, edaphic (soil) quality of this and similar swamp sites, and colonization dynamics suggests that these trees were opportunists within a milieu of stressful habitats. Vegetation structure probably was influenced only slightly or not at all by density-dependent (competitive) factors. Lycopods of this type are characteristic of clastic-compression (mineral-substrate) swamp vegetation, and occur in some coal-swamp (peat-substrate) communities, possibly in relatively higher nutrient areas. Their presence above the Herrin Coal appears restricted to near-channel sites, which they may have colonized as depositional and/or edaphic conditions changed from those typical of a peat-substrate swamp to those more similar to mineral substrates. There are a number of similarities between modern and ancient swamps in the ecological strategies of the dominant plants and the structure of the communities; however, there is little morphological "convergence" among the dominant species.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 2
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Structure and dynamics of a Pennsylvanian-age Lepidodendron forest; colonizers of a disturbed swamp habitat in the Herrin (No. 6) Coal of Illinois
Affiliation: Smithson. Inst., Dep. Paleobiol., Washington, DC, United States
Pages: 146-157
Published: 1987
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 39
Accession Number: 1987-080036
Categories: Paleobotany
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch maps
N38°07'60" - N38°30'00", W89°07'60" - W88°43'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Ill. State Geol. Surv., USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 1987
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal