Krings, Michael , Taylor, Thomas N. , Galtier, Jean .
Chytrids in zygopterid ferns: evidence from the Upper Pennsylvanian Grand’Croix cherts (Saint-Etienne basin, France).
Chytrids (Chytridiomycota) are morphologically simple aquatic microfungi, which are known as saprotrophs, parasites, and mutualists. Although the fossil record of chytrids is more extensive than that of any other group of fungi, little is known about their biodiversity in ancient ecosystems. Recent studies indicate that a diverse assemblage of chytrids occurs in a partially degraded specimen of the zygopterid reproductive organ Biscalitheca cf. musata from the Upper Pennsylvanian Grand’Croix cherts of central France. The assemblage consists of (1) clusters of zoosporangia that appear to have developed within individual cells; (2) thick-walled zoosporangia with narrow protrusions that probably represent discharge tubes; (3) spherical to drop-shaped zoosporangia in physical connection with multi-branched rhizomycelia; and (4) pear-shaped zoosporangia with prominent surface projections. Some chytrids have also been found associated with the spores of B. musata. The sporangium walls frequently host a chytrid-like microfungus that is characterized by minute hairs on all surfaces. Most chytrids in B. cf. musata were probably saprotrophs. Despite the exquisite preservation of the fungi, their systematic affinities remain difficult to resolve. Nevertheless, these fossils provide a remarkably detailed account of the morphology of Carboniferous Chytridiomycota, and serve as a framework to discuss late Paleozoic microbial activity.
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1 - Bayerische Staatssammlung Für Paläontologie und Geologie, Richard-Wagner Strasse 10, Munich, D-80333, Germany
2 - University of Kansas, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045-7534, USA
3 - CIRAD, UMR5120, Botanique & Bioinformatique, TA40/ PS2, Bouleverd de la Lironde, Montpellier, 34398, France
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Superior A/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 3:00 PM