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Variations in angiosperm leaf vein density have implications for interpreting life form in the fossil record

Camilla Crifo, Ellen D. Currano, A. Baresch and C. Jaramillo
Variations in angiosperm leaf vein density have implications for interpreting life form in the fossil record
Geology (Boulder) (October 2014) 42 (10): 919-922

Abstract

It is often difficult to interpret plant life form and position within a forest based on fossils of isolated plant organs. Here we propose leaf vein density as a new tool to interpret fossil angiosperm life form, and in particular to trace the emergence of angiosperms as members of the canopy. Angiosperm leaf vein density was analyzed in two tropical forests and one temperate forest. Comparisons of vein density between canopy and understory plants showed that vein density variation mainly reflected the position of the leaf in the canopy, independent of ecological strategy (shade tolerant versus sun demanding), phylogenetic position, and site (tropical versus temperate). Vein density values of a standing forest were reflected in its leaf litter, suggesting that fossil leaf assemblages are representative of past forest ecosystems. Comparison of vein density distributions of Cretaceous-Paleocene paleofloras (132.35-58.0 Ma) to those of a modern tropical leaf litter assemblage suggests that angiosperms emerged in forest canopies by at least 58 Ma.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 10
Title: Variations in angiosperm leaf vein density have implications for interpreting life form in the fossil record
Affiliation: Miami University, Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, Oxford, OH, United States
Pages: 919-922
Published: 201410
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2014-082867
Categories: Paleobotany
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2014322
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, PAN, Panama
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201443
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