A diverse and abundant organic-walled microphytoplankton assemblage is reported from two measured sections of the Lower Devonian (Lochkovian) Ross Formation in Benton and Decatur counties, Tennessee, USA. The palynoflora comprises 24 genera and 34 species of acritarchs, including one new genus and species (Caulissoma gordonii); and five genera and 11 species of prasinophyte phycomata (excluding Leiosphaeridia and Tasmanites). Other components include chitinozoans, miospores, and scolecodonts. This is the first Early Devonian acritarch/prasinophyte assemblage to be described from Tennessee, and it is assigned a Lochkovian age based on marine invertebrate faunas, stratigraphic relationships, and the palynomorph assemblage. A high degree of similarity (67% commonality) exists between this palynoflora and that from the stratigraphic and age-equivalent Haragan and Bois d’Arc formations of Oklahoma. Appreciable numbers of the microphytoplankton taxa identified herein are common to the Haragan and Bois d’Arc formations and are, moreover, restricted to the Lochkovian and endemic to Laurentia. Additionally, a number of species are widely distributed and confined to the Early Devonian, and three species, Demorhethium lappaceum, Riculasphaera fissa, and Thysanoprobolus polykion – all cosmopolitan – are constrained to the Lochkovian. With increasing knowledge of Early Devonian palynofloras, the apparent degree of provincialism is progressively declining as seemingly endemic taxa are reported from more regions in both hemispheres. The Ross Formation sediments were deposited in a low-energy, offshore, normal marine environment, punctuated by intermittent episodes of shallow-water current and storm deposition.

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