Links for Palaeobotanists

Home / Preservation & Taphonomy / Molecular Palaeobotany

Taphonomy in General
Plant Fossil Preservation and Plant Taphonomy
Collecting Bias: Our Incomplete Picture of the Past Vegetation
Three-Dimensionally Preserved Plant Compression Fossils
Pith Cast and "in situ" Preservation
Bacterial Biofilms (Microbial Mats)
Permineralized Plants and the Process of Permineralization
Petrified Forests
Pyrite Preservation

! Chemotaxonomy and Chemometric Palaeobotany@
Upland and Hinterland Floras
Abscission and Tissue Separation in Fossil and Extant Plants
Leaf Litter and Plant Debris
Log Jams and Driftwood Accumulations
Fungal Wood Decay: Evidence from the Fossil Record

! Phylogeography@
! Fossil Charcoal@
! Coalification@
Coal Petrology@
X-ray and Tomography@

Molecular Palaeobotany

! J. Alleon et al. (2017): Organic molecular heterogeneities can withstand diagenesis. Scientific Reports, 7.

Anne-Marie Aucour et al. (2009): Insights into preservation of fossil plant cuticles using thermally assisted hydrolysis methylation. Abstract, Organic Geochemistry, 40: 784-794.

F. A. Bazzaz, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA: Plant biology in the future. PNAS, May 8, 2001, vol. 98, no. 10; p.5441-5445.

J.M. Beaulieu et al. (2015): Heterogeneous rates of molecular evolution and diversification could explain the Triassic age estimate for angiosperms. Abstract.

Michael Bennett and Ilia Leitch, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Plant DNA C-values Database. The Plant DNA C-values Database currently contains data for 5150 different plant species. It combines data from the Angiosperm DNA C-values Database (C-values are the DNA amount in the unreplicated gametic nucleus of an organism), Gymnosperm, Pteridophyte, and Bryophyte DNA C-values Database, together with the addition of the Algae DNA C-values database.

! M.L. Berbee and J.W. Taylor (2010): Dating the molecular clock in fungi – how close are we? In PDF, Fungal Biology Reviews, 24: 1-24.

Michael Bernstein, Washington and New Orleans, March 21-27, 2003: (American Chemical Society, EurekAlert): Scientists find evidence for crucial root in the history of plant evolution.

B. Bomfleur et al. (2015): Osmunda pulchella sp. nov. from the Jurassic of Sweden - reconciling molecular and fossil evidence in the phylogeny of modern royal ferns (Osmundaceae). In PDF, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 5. See also here.

D.E.G. Briggs (1999): Molecular taphonomy of animal and plant cuticles: selective preservation and diagenesis. PDF file, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 354: 7-17. See also here.

Brocks, J.J., et al. 1999: Archaean molecular fossils and the early rise of eukaryotes. Science 285: 1033-1036.

S.M. Chaw et al. (1997): Molecular phylogeny of extant gymnosperms and seed plant evolution: analysis of nuclear 18S rRNA sequences. In PDF.

P.C.J. Donoghue and Z. Yang (2016): The evolution of methods for establishing evolutionary timescales. In PDF, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371. See also here.

! Margaret E. Collinson (2011): Molecular Taphonomy of Plant Organic Skeletons. Abstract, Aims & Scope Topics in Geobiology Book Series, 32: 223-247.

! J.W. de Leeuw et al. (2005): Biomacromolecules of algae and plants and their fossil analogues. Abstract, Tasks for vegetation science, 41: 209-233. See also here (in PDF).

! P.C.J. Donoghue and M.J. Benton (2007): Rocks and clocks: calibrating the Tree of Life using fossils and molecules. In PDF, Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Michael J. Donoghue and James A. Doyle (2000): Seed plant phylogeny: Demise of the anthophyte hypothesis? Current Biology, 10: R106-R109.

! J.A. Doyle (2012): Molecular and fossil evidence on the origin of angiosperms. In PDF, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 40: 301-26.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Molecular plant systematics.

Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK: Research activities,
Molecular taphonomy, and
Molecular Palaeobotany.

European Asssociation of Organic Geochemistry

! C.S.P. Foster (2016): The evolutionary history of flowering plants. In PDF, Journal & Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 149: 65-82.

W.E. Friedman et al. (2004): The evolution of plant development. PDF file, American Journal of Botany 91: 1726-1741.

William Friedman et al., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder: Molecular and Organismal Research in Plant History, MORPH. MORPH, an NSF research coordination network, fosters cross-disciplinary interactions between organismic and molecular plant biologists studying the evolution of morphological diversity to promote a modern synthesis in plant evolutionary developmental biology. Go to: Publications.

B. Gieren (2006): Die Landpflanzenevolution im Phanerozoikum aus petrographischer und geochemischer Sicht. PDF file, in German. Thesis, Georg-August-Universität, Gõttingen.

L.E. Graham et al. (2004): Resistant tissues of modern marchantioid liverworts resemble enigmatic Early Paleozoic microfossils. In PDF, PNAS, 101: 11025-11029.

! Linda E. Graham et al. (2000): The origin of plants: Body plan changes contributing to a major evolutionary radiation. Abstracts, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97: 4535-4540.
! See also at here. (in PDF).

Guido Grimm, Department of Palaeobotany, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm: Cladistic analyses of fossil and recent Cycadales based on morphological and molecular data. See also
here (abstract), and there (in German).

Guido Grimm, Department of Palaeobotany, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm: Molekulare Paläontologie. Brief introduction (in German).

NEAL S. GUPTA and RICHARD D. PANCOST: Biomolecular and Physical Taphonomy of Angiosperm Leaf During Early Decay: Implications for Fossilization. Abstract, Palaios 2004; v. 19; no. 5; p. 428-440.

Y. Hautevelle et al., Laboratoire de Chimie Bioorganique, Strasbourg, France:
Determination of the molecular signature of fossil conifers by experimental palaeochemotaxonomy. Powerpoint presentation.

Barbara W. Heavers, Jane Y. Meneray, Jane E. Obbink, and Harry J. Wolf: Molecular Evolution in Plants.

Heckman, D.S., et al. 2001: Molecular evidence for the early colonization of land by fungi and plants. Science 293: 1129-1133.

J.A. Heredia-Guerrero. et al. (2014): Infrared and Raman spectroscopic features of plant cuticles: a review. In PDF, Front. Plant. Sci., 5. See also here.

A.H. Knoll (2012): Systems Paleobiology. In PDF. See also
here (, or
there (YouTube).

! Michel Laurin (2012): Recent progress in paleontological methods for dating the Tree of Life. In PDF, Frontiers in Genetics, 3.

Andrew H. Knoll 1999: Enhanced: A New Molecular Window on Early Life. Science 285: 1025-1026.

Y. Lu et al. (2012): Determination of the molecular signature of fossil conifers by experimental palaeochemotaxonomy - Part 1: The Araucariaceae family. In PDF, Biogeosciences Discuss., 9: 10513-10550.

S. Magallón et al. (2015): A metacalibrated time-tree documents the early rise of flowering plant phylogenetic diversity. In PDF, New Phytologist.

Ana Martín-González et al. (2009): Double fossilization in eukaryotic microorganisms from Lower Cretaceous amber. BMC Biol. 2009; 7: 9.

Patrick T. Martone et al. (2009): Discovery of Lignin in Seaweed Reveals Convergent Evolution of Cell-Wall Architecture. Abstract, Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 169-175. See also here.

Leszek Marynowski et al. (2008): Systematic relationships of the Mesozoic wood genus Xenoxylon: an integrative biomolecular and palaeobotanical approach. PDF file, N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh., 247: 177-189.

L. Marynowski et al. (2011): Effects of weathering on organic matter Part II: Fossil wood weathering and implications for organic geochemical and petrographic studies. In PDF, Organic Geochemistry, 42: 1076-1088.

L. Marynowski et al. (2007): Biomolecules preserved in ca. 168 million year old fossil conifer wood. PDF file, Naturwissenschaften, 94: 228-236.

! S. Mathews (2009): Phylogenetic relationships among seed plants: persistent questions and the limits of molecular data. In PDF, American Journal of Botany, 96: 228-236.

Thanh Thuy NGUYEN TU (Laboratory of Paleobotany and Paleoecology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris), Jiri KVACEK, David ULICNÝ, Hervé BOCHERENS, André MARIOTTI, Jean BROUTIN: Isotope reconstruction of plant palaeoecology: Case study of Cenomanian floras from Bohemia. Abstract.

Karl J. Niklas (1981): The Chemistry of Fossil Plants. Abstract, BioScience, 31: 820-825.

! M. Nip et al. (1986): Analysis of modern and fossil plant cuticles by Curie point Py-GC and Curie point Py-GC-MS: recognition of a new, highly aliphatic and resistant biopolymer. In PDF.

Wolfgang Oschmann, Christian Dullo, Volker Mosbrugger & Fritz F. Steininger, "PALÄONTOLOGIE IM 21. JAHRHUNDERT". Go to: Molecular Palaeobiology (in German).

! Palaeontologia Electronica: Fossil Calibration Database (project developed by the Working Group "Synthesizing and Databasing Fossil Calibrations: Divergence Dating and Beyond").
The mission of the Fossil Calibration Database is to provide vetted fossil calibration points that can be used for divergence dating by molecular systematists. The curated collection of well-justified calibrations also promote best practices for justifying fossil calibrations and citing calibrations properly. Raising the Standard in Fossil Calibration! See also:
D.T. Ksepka et al. (2015): The Fossil Calibration Database, A New Resource for Divergence Dating. Abstract, Systematic Biology.

! J.F. Parham et al. (2012): Best Practices for Justifying Fossil Calibrations. In PDF, Syst Biol., 61: 346-359. See also here

Penn State News: Turn back the molecular clock, say Argentina´s plant fossils (December 02, 2014). See also here (RedOrbit, December 05, 2014).

K.J. Peterson et al. (2007): Molecular palaeobiology. In PDF, Palaeontology, 50: 775-809.

N.D. Pires and L. Dolan (2012): Morphological evolution in land plants: new designs with old genes. In PDF, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367: 508-518.

Imogen Poole and Pim F. van Bergen (2006): Physiognomic and chemical characters in wood as palaeoclimate proxies. PDF file, Plant Ecology, 182: 175-195.

Imogen Poole, Pim F. van Bergen, Johan Kool, Stefan Schouten and David J. Cantrill: Molecular isotopic heterogeneity of fossil organic matter: implications for δ13Cbiomass and δ13Cpalaeoatmosphere proxies. PDF file, Organic Geochemistry 35(11-12) (2004) 1261-1274 (via Virtual Journal Geobiology, volume 3, Issue 9, September 2004, section 2B).

Pim F. van Bergen and Imogen Poole (2002): Stable carbon isotopes of wood: a clue to palaeoclimate? PDF file, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 182: 31-45.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

S. Proost and M. Mutwil (2016): Tools of the trade: studying molecular networks in plants. Abstract, Current Opinion in Plant Biology.

Dmitry A. Ruban (2012): Mesozoic mass extinctions and angiosperm radiation: does the molecular clock tell something new? In PDF, Geologos, 18: 37-42.

Bruce Runnegar, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, (Center for Astrobiology, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics), UCLA, Los Angeles, CA: UCLA ESS116 PALEONTOLOGY FALL 2002. Images and schemes. Go to: Molecular evolution and paleontology.

B. Saladin et al. (2017): Fossils matter: improved estimates of divergence times in Pinus reveal older diversification. BMC Evolutionary Biology.

! P. Sarkar et al. (2009): Plant cell walls throughout evolution: towards a molecular understanding of their design principles. In PDF, Journal of Experimental Botany, 60: 3615–3635. See also here.

Mary Higby Schweitzer, Department of Microbiology and Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman: Palaeontologia Electronica, Volume 5, Issue 2, (Coquina Press), 2003. Go to Reviews and Previews: THE FUTURE OF MOLECULAR PALEONTOLOGY (also available in PDF).

Mark Shwartz, Stanford Report, April 4, 2001: Geochemists find evidence that flowers may have evolved 250 million years ago.

ScienceDaily: Oily fossils provide clues to the evolution of flowers.

! H. Sauquet et al. (2017): The ancestral flower of angiosperms and its early diversification. Nature Communications, 8.

H. Sauquet et al. (2012): Testing the Impact of Calibration on Molecular Divergence Times Using a Fossil-Rich Group: The Case of Nothofagus (Fagales). In PDF, Syst. Biol., 61: 289-313.
Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

B. Artur Stankiewicz et al. (1998): Chemical preservation of plants and insects in natural resins. PDF file, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 265: 641-647. See also here.

B.A. Stankiewicz et al.: Molecular taphonomy of arthropod and plant cuticles from the Carboniferous of North America: implications for the origin of kerogen. Abstract, Journal of the Geological Society, 1998, vol. 155, no. 3, pp. 453-462.

Alfred E. Szmidt, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, Sweden: Molecular evolution of plants. Phylogeny of Eurasian pines based on chloroplast DNA sequences.
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

D. Tautz (2006), starting on PDF page 09: Morphologie versus DNA-Sequenzen in der Phylogenie-Rekonstruktion. PDF file, in German. Species, Phylogeny and Evolution 1. Themenheft Phylogenetisches Symposium Göttingen: Der Stellenwert der Morphologie in der heutigen Phylogenetische Systematik.

Kyle Trostle (2009), Franklin and Marshall College, Earth and Environment Department, Lancaster, PA: Diagenetic History of Fossil Wood from the Paleocene Chickaloon Formation, Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Pim F. van Bergen and Imogen Poole (2002): Stable carbon isotopes of wood: a clue to palaeoclimate? PDF file, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 182: 31-45.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! P.F. van Bergen et al. (2004): Structural biomacromolecules in plants: what can be learnt from the fossil record. In: A.R. Hemsley and I. Poole (eds.): The Evolution of Plant Physiology. Provided by Google books.

Q. Wang and K.-S. Mao (2015): Puzzling rocks and complicated clocks: how to optimize molecular dating approaches in historical phytogeography. In PDF, New Phytologist. See also here. (abstract).

Jing-Ke Weng and Clint Chapple (2010): The origin and evolution of lignin biosynthesis. New Phytologist, 187: 273-285.

G.D.A. Werner et al. (2014): A single evolutionary innovation drives the deep evolution of symbiotic N2-fixation in angiosperms. Nature Communications, 5: 4087.

Friedrich Widdel and Ralf Rabus (2001): Anaerobic biodegradation of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons. PDF file, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 12: 259-276.

! P. Wilf and I.H. Escapa (2016): Molecular dates require geologic testing. In PDF, New Phytologist, 209: 1359-1362.. See also here.

! P. Wilf and I.H. Escapa (2015): Green Web or megabiased clock? Plant fossils from Gondwanan Patagonia speak on evolutionary radiations. In PDF, New Phytologist, 207: 283-290.

C. Witkowski (2014): Mimicking Early Stages Of Diagenesis In Modern Metasequoia Leaves Implications For Plant Fossil Lagerstätten. In PDF, Thesis in Global Environmental Studies, Department of Science and Technology, Bryant University (Master of Science in Global Environmental Studies).
See also here. Abstract, Session No. 17: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Taphonomy: The Impact of Morphological, Molecular, and Isotopic Changes on Environmental Proxies. Northeastern Section, 49th Annual Meeting, The Geological Society of America.

Andrea D. Wolfe, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus: The ISSR Resource Website.

Ewan Wolff, Montana State University Geoscience Education Web Development Team: Advances in Paleontology. Go to: Morphology - the study of form and function in anatomy, and Hot Topics in Paleontology: Histology, Evolution of Development (Evo-Devo), and Biomolecular Markers.

! G. Wörheide et al. (2016): Molecular paleobiology — Progress and perspectives. Abstract, Palaeoworld, 25: 138–148. See also here (in PDF).

H. Yang et al. (2005): Biomolecular preservation of Tertiary Metasequoia Fossil Lagerstätten revealed by comparative pyrolysis analysis. In PDF, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 134: 237-256.

! H.S. Yoon et al. (2004): A molecular timeline for the origin of photosynthetic eukaryotes. PDF file, Mol. Biol. Evol., 21: 809-818. See also here.

Michael Zech (2006): The Use of Biomarker and Stable Isotope Analyses in Palaeopedology. Reconstruction of Middle and Late Quaternary Environmental and Climate History, with Examples from Mt. Kilimanjaro, NE Siberia and NE Argentina. PDF file, Dissertation, University of Bayreuth, Germany.

D. Zinniker et al. (1998): Techniques and advances in molecular paleobotany: Methods for evaluating hypotheses of plant evolution and phylogeny by molecular fossils. Abstract, 1998 Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of America Baltimore.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

E.L. Zodrow et al. (2010): Phytochemistry of the fossilized-cuticle frond Macroneuropteris macrophylla (Pennsylvanian seed fern, Canada). In PDF, International Journal of Coal Geology, 84: 71-82.

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Last updated August 07, 2017

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