Taylor, Thomas N. , Kerp, Hans , Hass, Hagen .
The influence of gametophyte development on population structure in the Rhynie chert ecosystem.
The ca. 400 million-year-old Rhynie chert is well known to biologists because of the extraordinary preservation of the biota. The site originated by the deposition of siliceous sinter in the subaerial zone of a hydrothermal hot-springs complex. Since the land mark studies of Kidston and Lang, this early terrestrial ecosystem has also provided information about several levels of biological interaction. Several of these appear to have been critical in the development and maintenance of the ecosystem. While a great deal of anatomical and morphological information is known about several of the Rhynie chert sporophytes, details about the development of the gametophyte phase and the alternation of generations of the macroplants has been largely absent until recently. Here we provide a synthesis of the development of the gametophyte of Aglaophton major, beginning with germination events of the spores and leading to the maturation of sexually mature antheridiophores and archegoniophores, each produced on a unisexual, rhizoid bearing gametophyte. This information, together with details about the sexually dimorphic gametophytes of other Rhynie chert macroplants, can now be considered within an ecological and evolutionary framework. As a result of a large body of detailed information, it is now possible to propose hypotheses about some elements that relate to the population dynamics in this early terrestrial ecosystem.
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1 - University of Kansas, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045-7534, USA
2 - Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Forschungsstelle für Paläobotanik, Hindenburgplatz 57, D-48143, Münster, , Germany
Rhynie, gametophyte, life cycle
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 10:30 AM