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Abstract Detail



Paleobotanical Section

Thummel, Ryan [1], Stromberg, Caroline [2].

Survey of Phytolith Production in Bryophytes.

Silica deposits accumulated in the inter- and intra cellular spaces of plants, known as phytoliths, are well known within all the major lineages of vascular land plants. These phytoliths can remain in the fossil record even when the rest of the plant is not preserved. Because they can have shapes that are diagnostic of certain clades of plants, they can be useful indicators of past vegetation and ecosystems. Unlike in vascular plants, the production of phytoliths among the non-vascular land plants, or "bryophytes", has not been extensively studied. In this project multiple species among the bryophytes, including the phyla of liverwort, mosses, and hornworts, were studied for the presence of phytoliths using specimens provided by the Burke Herbarium and the University of Washington Biology Department greenhouse. Phytoliths were found in all three bryophyte clades, including in the basal liverwort genus Treubia, which is believed to be similar to the earliest land plants. This suggests that phytoiths may have been produced by the earliest land plants, and could potentially provide information about some of the earliest terrestrial ecosystems. Although phytoliths were found in specimens from many lineages throughout the non-vascular plants, production appears to be greatly dependent on environmental conditions, with some specimens of a species producing many phytoliths while others produced none. This indicates that the deposition of silica in non-vascular plants is passive and not the result of an active, energetically costly uptake, transportation and deposition of silica as occurs in many vascular plants. Most of the phytoliths found were silicified chunks of cell tissue, and are similar to phytoliths found in many vascular plants. However, some phytoliths produced in the complex thalloid liverworts seem to be unique to this clade and could therefore be used in the fossil record to trace their ecological and evolutionary history.


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1 - University Of Washington, Department of Biology, 24 Kincaid Hall, Box 351800, Seattle, WA, 98195-1800, USA
2 - University Of Washington, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Bx 353010, Seattle, WA, 98195-3010, United States

Keywords:
Phytoliths
Bryophyta
Marchantiophyta
Anthocerotophyta.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PPB003
Abstract ID:367
Candidate for Awards:None


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