The 15th Plant Taphonomy Meeting

The 15th Plant Taphonomy Meeting was held in Leiden (Isabel van Waveren and Han van Konijnenburg-van Cittert), Naturalis, National Museum of Natural History, The Netherlands, 12-13th November 2004

Oral presentations, abstracts

[*] KERP, H., et al.: A new Upper Permian flora from the Middle East with typical Triassic Gondwana elements

[*] LIBERTIN, M., et al.: In situ peat-swamp forest from the tuff bed of the Whetstone Horizon (Czech Republic, Bolsovian)

[*] PSENICKA, J.: Story of Individual plants from in situ peat forming forest, the tuff bed of Ovcin Locality (The White stone horizon from Czeck Republic, Bolsovian, Pennsylvanian)

[*] OPLUSTIL, S., et al.: Middle Westphalian plant associations of clastic and peat substrates in the continental basins of Bohemia, Czech Republic

[*] WAVEREN, I.M. et al.: First results from the 2004 expedition to the lower Permian of Sumatra: Are the different plant associations from the Mengkarang Formation related to differences in lithofacies?

[*] KUSTATSCHER, E. & VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT, J.H.A.: The Flora of Kuhwiesenkopf/ Monte Pra della Vacca (Dolomites, N-Italy): an attempt to reconstruct an Anisian (middle Triassic) paleoenvironment

[*] RAJANIKANTH, A.: Mesozoic Terrestrial Plant life of Pranhita-Godavari Basin, India

[*] VAN DER HAM, R. & DORTANGS, R.W.: A Cretaceous fungus garden

[*] WALTHER, H. & KUNZMANN, L.: Taphonomy of Oligocene Oxbow lake plants taphocoenosis - new results

[*] TEWARI, R.: Significance of fossil cuticules in palaeoecolgy

Other abstracts

[*] KUSTATSCHER, E. & VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT, J.H.A.: The Ladinian Flora (Middle Triassic) of the Dolomites: Palaeoenvironmental and Palaeoclimatic Considerations

[*] BOOI, M.. et al: New species from the lower Permian of the Jambi province, Sumatra, Indonesia

A Cretaceous fungus garden

R.W.J.M. van der Ham1 & R.W. Dortangs2

1 Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, P.O. Box 9514, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Hoofdstraat 36, 6436 CG Amstenrade, The Netherlands

In the framework of the Palaeontological Association's project "Fossils of the Type Maastrichtian", seven conifer species are listed so far. In a silicified specimen of Brachyphyllum patens (Miquel) Van der Ham et Van Konijnenburg-van Cittert (Cheirolepidiaceae?; Van der Ham et al., 2003) from the Maastricht Formation (Valkenburg Member) in the Romontbos quarry near Eben-Emael (NE Belgium), numerous small dark dots were noticed on the leaves. Using scanning electron microscopy, these dots appeared to be fillings of stomatal pits. First, these dots were interpreted as wax plugs. However, in thin sections they appeared to be connected with fungus hyphae infesting the leaves. Further observations led to the conclusion that the dark dots are the hypostromata (bases of fruit bodies) of a remarkably well-preserved ascomycetous fungus: Pteropus brachyphylli gen. et sp. nov. (Venturiaceae). Besides these stomatal hypostromata, the thin sections revealed several other ascomycetous fungus structures: nonstomatal epicuticular stromata, including a thyriothecium with septate spores (?Micropeltidaceae, ?Microthyriaceae), nonstomatal subcuticular stromata (?Phacidiaceae, ?Rhytismataceae), and unidentified epicuticular and endophytical hyphae.

Pteropus brachyphylli is considered as a close relative of extant Phaeocryptopus (Venturiaceae), species of which infest leaves of conifers belonging to the Araucariaceae, Cupressaceae, Pinaceae and Podocarpaceae. P. brachyphylli seems to have been associated with cheirolepidiaceous conifers, which got extinct near the end of the Cretaceous. To date it is the only fossil representative of Phaeocryptopus-like fungi, which include the notorious Swiss Needle Cast pathogen P. gaeumannii. P. brachyphylli is believed to have occupied a niche comparable to that of its modern relatives, which are weak parasites or sometimes saprophytes. The host leaves studied, of which nearly all stomata are occupied by the hypostromata of P. brachyphylli, were probably seriously hampered in their gass exchange. Probably, they were a lready brown(ing) on the tree, though, in view of the relatively good condition of the leaf tissues, not much decayed. Brown(ing), deciduous leafy twigs may have been taken by wind and/or water and blown/washed into the nearby shallow Late Maastrichtian sea. During transport, the epicuticular fruit bodies were specially vulnerable, which might explain the presence of only a single (probable) specimen. The embedment in a layer of epicuticular hyphae may have saved it from abrasion. Surely, the leaves were readily silicified after deposition in the chalky sediment, or protected otherwise from further decay.

As Phaeocryptopus species grow on representative of only a single family or even genus, Pteropus brachyphylli may have been closely associated with cheirolepidiaceous conifers, which got extinct near the end of the Cretaceous, together with such diverse groups as the cycadeoids, dinosaurs and ammonites. Its presence at the base of the Maastricht Formation, just above the Lichtenberg Horizon, sets a minimum age of c. 66.5 million years (Van Adrichem Boogaert & Kouwe, 1993) for the kind of host-fungus relationships as nowadays present between conifers and


Ham, R.W.J.M. van der, J.H.A. van Konijnenburg-van Cittert, R.W. Dortangs, G.F.W. Herngreen & J. van der Burgh, 2003. Brachyphyllum patens (Miquel) comb. nov. (Cheirolepidiaceae?): remarkable conifer foliage from the Maastrichtian type area (Late Cretaceous, NE Belgium, SE Netherlands). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 127: 77-97.

A new Upper Permian flora from the Middle East with typical Triassic Gondwana elements

Hans Kerp1, Abdallah Abu Hamad2, 3, Klaus Bandel13 & Birgit Niemann1

1 Forschungsstelle für Paläobotanik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Hindenburgplatz 57, 48143 Münster, Germany
2 Natural Resources Authority, Geological Mapping Division, P.O. Box 7, Amman, 1118 Jordan
3 Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstraße 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Several species of Dicroidium are described from the Um Irna Formation (Upper Permian) of the Dead Sea region, Jordan. Plant remains are preserved as compressions with excellent cuticles. It is the earliest unequivocal records of Dicroidium, a genus that is typical for the Triassic of Gondwana and the northernmost occurrence of this genus that apparently originated in the Late Permian in the palaeotropics. Middle and Late Permian floras from the Arabian Peninsula show a remarkable mixture of elements from different floral provinces, i.e. Euramerica, Cathaysia and Gondwana. The climatic amelioration that has been reported for the Early Triassic of the Gondwana apparently enabled Dicroidium to migrate southward and finally colonize the entire Gondwana region. Dicrioidium is one of the very few megaplant genera that was not affected by the biotic crisis at the Permian-Triassic transition.

The Flora of Kühwiesenkopf / Monte Prà della Vacca (Dolomites, N-Italy): An attempt to reconstruct an Anisian (middle Triassic) palaeoenvironment

Evelyn Kustatscher1 & Johanna H.A. van Konijnenburg-van Cittert2

1 Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Universitŕ di Ferrara, C.so Ercole I d'Este 32, 44100 Ferrara, Italy, e-mail Evelyn.Kustatscher@unife.it
2 Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Budapestlaan 4, 3584CD Utrecht, Netherlands.

The plant deposit of Kühwiesenkopf / Monte Prà della Vacca belongs to the Northern Dolomites (N-Italy), an area famous for its important palaeontological and stratigraphic studies on Anisian (Middle Triassic) outcrops. It is contained in the Dont Formation, an hemipelagic carbonate-terrigenous succession of a marginal basin environment, and traditionally referred to Pelsonian - Illyrian age (Delfrati et al., 2000 with references).

In the plant horizon of about 1 m thickness not only a high amount of plant fossils, but also bivalves, brachiopods, ammonoids, gastropods and fishes have been preserved. The conservation of the terrestrial and marine biota are presumably related to very rapid burial events caused by gravity flows within a marine basin in connection with heavy storms in the terrestrial domain (Broglio Loriga et al., 2002). Therefore, plants which normally grew in different palaeoenvironments are now put together in one single layer. Thus, a much better picture of the floral composition can been obtained, than any in situ preservation of only one of the different environments would have permitted. This is suggested by the high variability both in size and fragility of the samples which can be observed on the same slab.

The macroflora assemblage is composed of both sterile (shoots, roots, stems, leaves) and fertile organs (fructifications, seeds, fertile leaves) belonging at least to 29 genera. It comprises the lycopods Annalepis, ?Isoetites, ?Selaginella and Lycophyta gen. indet.; the horsetails Echinostachys, Equisetites and Neocalamites. Ferns are represented by Anomopteris, Cladophlebis, Filicales gen. indet., Neuropteridium, Scolopendrites, ?Marattiopsis, Marantoidea, Sphenopteris and ?Pteridophyta gen. indet.; the pteridosperms by ?Sagenopteris, Scytophyllum, Peltaspermum and ?Ptilozamites; the cycadophytes by Bjuvia, Nilssonia, Dioonitocarpidium, Pterophyllum and Taeniopteris; the conifers by Albertia, Pelourdea, Voltzia and ?Voltzia.

Considering the palaeogeography of the Northern Dolomites (see e.g. Bosellini, 1968; Senowbari-Daryan et al., 1992) a marginal basinal environment can be suggested for the plant locality during the upper Anisian. The basin was confined by western and probably also by southern (?) mainlands, where four different environments with four different kinds of vegetation communities have been distinguished: The coasts were probably characterised by a poorly diversified flora composed only by alophytic lycophytes (Lycophyta gen. indet., ?Isoetites, Annalepis). The lowland vegetation represented the highest variability, with an overstorey formed by the arboreous pteridosperms (Scytophyllum), cycads (Bjuvia) and bennettialeans (Pterophyllum). In the "drier" zones, also conifers (Voltzia, ?Voltzia) could have been present in the overstorey, and in the swampiest areas arboreous horsetails (Equisetites, Neocalamites). The understorey, on the other hand, was probably composed of small herbaceous ferns (Neuropteridium/Scolopendrites, Cladophlebis) and shrubby conifers (Pelourdea, Albertia). The open areas are occupied by some bigger herbaceous ferns (Anomopteris, Gordonopteris). Also the upland vegetation shows poor variability as only conifers (Voltzia, ?Voltzia, Albertia, Pelourdea) are resistant to prolonged periods of aridity.

Along the river banks the most hygrophytic taxa were growing, such as arboreous horsetails (Equisetites, Neocalamites), herbaceous ferns (Neuropteridium/Scolopendrites, Anomopteris, Gordonopteris) and lycophytes (?Isoetites).

BOSELLINI, A., 1968. Paleogeografia pre-anisica delle Dolomiti centro-settentrionali. - Mem. Acc. Naz. Lincei, anno 365, serie 8, sez. 2a (fis. chi. geol. paleont. e min.), 4/1: 1-33.
BROGLIO-LORIGA C., FUGAGNOLI A., VAN KONIJNENBURG - VAN CITTERT, J.H.A., KUSTATSCHER E., POSENATO R. & WACHTLER, M. 2002. The Anisian Macroflora from the Northern Dolomites (Kühwiesenkopf / Monte Pra della Vacca, Braies): a first report. - Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 108 (3): 381-389, Milano.
DELFRATI L., BALINI M., MASETTI D., 2000, Formazione di Dont. - In: DELFRATI L., FALORNI P., GROPPELLI G. & PAMPALONI R. (eds.), 2000. Carta Geologica d'Italia - 1:50.000 - Catalogo delle Formazioni, Fascicolo I - Unità Validate, Quaderni Serie III, n. 7, Servizio Geologico Nazionale, Accordo di programma SGN - CNR, pp. 89-99.
SENOWBARI-DARYAN, B., ZÜHLKE, R., BECHSTÄDT T., FLÜGEL, E., 1993. Anisian (Middle Triassic) Buildups of the Northern Dolomites (Italy): The Recovery of Reef Communities after the Perm/Triassic Crisis.- Facies, 28: 181-256, Erlangen.

In situ peat-swamp forest from the tuff bed of the Whetstone Horizon (Czech Republic, Bolsovian)

Milan Libertín1, Josef Pšenicka2, Jirina Dašková3, Stanislav Opluštil4, Jirí Bek5, Jana Drábková6 & Zbynek Šimunek7

1 National Museum, Václavské námestí 68, 11821 Prague 1, Czech Republic, e-mail: milan.libertin@nm.cz
2 West Bohemiam Museum, Kopeckého sady 2, 301 36 Pilsen, Czech Republic, e-mail: Jpsenicka@zcm.cz
3 Institute of Geology, Academy of Sciences, Rozvojová 135, 165 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic, e-mail: daskova@gli.cas.cz
4 Charles University, Albertov 6, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic, e-mail: oplustil@natur.cuni.cz
5 Institute of Geology, Academy of Sciences, Rozvojová 135, 165 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic, e-mail: mrbean@gli.cas.cz
6 Czech Geological Survey, Devonská, e-mail: drabkova@cgu.cz
7 Czech Geological Survey,Klárov 3, e-mail: simunek@cgu.cz

The studied locality Ovcin is inactive opencast mine near Radnice town. The locality is situated southern part of the Central and Western Bohemian Carboniferous Basins of the Bohemian Massif. Tuff very rapidly changes to the sandy porphyric tuff 0,4 - 0,9 m thick. Clayey tuffit - whetstone (7-8 m) thick overlie the sandy porphyric tuff. Plant assemblage was rapidly covered by volcanic ash originating in two volcanic eruptions. The break in volcanic activity is documented by impressions of raindrops 150 mm above the base. Clayey siltstone representing the finest grained part of the pyroclastic fall yielded the richest plant record. Whole plants including their fertile parts are often preserved fossilised in their original position.

The method of study in situ fossil plant assemblage buried in volcanic ash never been made during palaeobotany history, especially from ecological view. The study of fossiliferous tuff was differentiated to several steps. The fist step was uncovering non transported volcanic ash (tuff) with in situ fossil plants. Uncovering surface was divided to one square meter net. All square meters were signed (alphabet for Y-axes and numbers for X-axes). For measuring of Z-axes was using the roof of Lower Radnice seam. For subsequently coordination in a computer was defined starting point localized to left upper corner of A0. Generally was uncovering 109 m2. Individual remains of fossil plants were recorded to graph paper (second step) using coordinates X-Y-Z, mentioned above, with description of shape and diameter. Fossils were documented by digital camera for subsequently control of data. Third step represents analysis of data and graphic reconstruction using COREL DRAW 9.0. Last fourth step is synthesis of sedimentary, taxonomy and taphonomy data.

Preservation of the plants:
Consequently, the flora preserved in this tuff represents a peat-swamp forest assemblage. In several excavation of total area about 109 m2 we recognized about 22 biological species belonging to lycopsids, sphenopsids, ferns, pteridosperms and cordaites. Lycopsids, sphenopsids and ferns represent approximately 80 percent of all fossil plant content. Pteridosperms and cordaites comprise the remaining 20 percent. The assemblage at this locality can be characterized as well-diversified lycophyte-tree dominated forest, which is structured into the following storeys: arborescent storey, low-tree storey, shrubby storrey and understorrey. The arborescent storey is composed of Lepidodendron simile, Lepidodendron selaginoides and Leidophloyos acerosus the height of which varied between 10 to 20 m. Cordaites borassifolius probably also represents to the arborescent storey. The low-tree storey comprises arborescent plants, the height of which reached about 5 m. The dominant elements of this storey are genera Psaronius and Calamites. The shrubby storey is represented by plants ranging from 1 to 3 m in height. This horizon consists of Spencerites sp., Sphenopteris mixta, Sphenopteris sp. and Calamites sp. The most species-diversified part of the phytocenoses was the understorey, the density of which varied from place to place. The plants of the understorey are preserved in the basalt 50 mm of the tuff bed just above the roof of the Lower Radnice Coal Seam. Dominant elements of this storey are Corynepteris angustissima and Sphenophyllum majus with co-dominant species Sphenophyllum brasense, Sphenopteris schatzlarensis, Hymenotheca, Desmopteris longifolia. Lianas are represented by Eusphenopteris nummularia, Eusphenopteris obtusiloba, Laveinopteris loshii, Desmopteris longifolia, Senftenbergia plumosa, Oligocarpia lindsaeoides.

Taphocenosis from the locality represents a tropical peat-swamp forest, which belongs to a climax (subclimax) succession state. Arborescent plants formed a relatively dense forest with rich canopy and well-developed understorey covering all the surface of peat hammocks.

Financial support: GACR - GA205/02/1121

Middle westphalian plant associations of clastic and peat substrates in the continental basins of Bohemia, Czech Republic

S. Opluštil1, J. Pšenicka2, M. Libertín3 & Z. Šimunek4

1 Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Albertov 6, Prague 2, Czech Republic, e-mail: oplustil@natur.cuni.cz
2 West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen, Kopeckého sady 2, Pilsen, Czech Republic, e-mail: jpsenicka@zcm.cz
3 National Museum, Václavské námestí 1, Prague 1, Czech Republic, e-mail: milan.libertin@nm.cz
4 Czech Geological Survey, Klárov 3, Prague1, Czech Republic, e-mail: simunek@cgu.cz

Coal forming flora cannot normally be directly studied from coal due to intensive decomposition and diagenetic processes, which transformed original plant tissues into coal, matter. Except for dispersed spore spectra analysis, the only direct insight is possible only where early diagenetic permineralised peat concretions (coal balls) occur. Another alternative way, which provides high-quality data on structure and composition of plant assemblages, is study of plant remains (mostly compressions, locally petrifactions) buried in situ by volcanic ash-fall.

In Bolsovian and Westphalian D coal-bearing strata of the Late Palaeozoic continental basins of the Bohemian Massif, several fossiliferous tuff layers occur either intercalated in some coal seams or overlying them. Current taphonomical studies (in preparation) indicate mostly simple burial and taphonomical history of vegetation related to volcanic ash-fall. Influence of blast effect of volcanic eruption has not been proved since most of the trees were found in upright position without branches which were broken off by loaded ash and buried just below the trees together with plants growing in understorey or in shrubby level. It is indicated also by relatively regularly distributed branches and leafy shoots around the trunks. Thus, associations of plant fossils found in most of these volcanostic horizons are comparable to original fytocoenoses colonizing the original mire. These taphocoenoses were studied, based on material stored in major collections. This study allowed to distinguish plants according to their substrate preference (peat/clastics or both) and also to improve our knowledge on plant assemblages, which colonized middle to late Westphalian mires. Most of these assemblages are tree lycophyte dominated forest assemblages with well-developed understorey and shrubby level. Only one assemblage was dominated by Calamites with well-diversified fern understorey. Assemblage from the Štilec locality consists of 5 species, which represents pioneer herbaceous fytocoenosis. It colonized shallow lake that replaced the original mire. Westphalian D mire assemblage was Cordaites-Calamites dominated with co-dominance of tree ferns of arborescent group.

Story of individual plants from In situ peat-forming forest, the tuff bed of Ovcin Locality (the Whetstone Horizon from Czech Republic, Bolsovian, Pennsylvanian)

J. Pšenicka

Department of Palaeontology, West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen, Kopeckého sady 2, 301 36 Pilsen, Czech Republic, e-mail: Jpsenicka@zcm.cz

Many previous works have mentioned the importance of tuffs where an association of fossil plants is preserved in situ and thus correspond with original phytocoenosis. We present here the several "stories" of individual plants that can be read from specimens of the ash bed (Whetstone Horizon). We present "story" of Calamites, Sphenophyllum majus, Lepidodendron lycopodioides, Oligocarpia lindsaeoides or Selaginella longibracteata. In several excavations of total area c. 100 m2 we recognised about 25 biological species belonging to lycopsids, sphenopsids, ferns, pteridosperms and cordaites. Lycopsids, sphenopsids and ferns composed approximately 80 per cent of all fossil plants, with pteridosperms and cordaites comprising the remaining 20 per cent. The assemblage at this locality can be characterised as a well-diversified tree-lycophyte dominant forest structured into several following storeys: arborescent storey, low-tree storey, shrubby storey and understorey. The arborescent storey is composed of Lepidodendron simile Kidston, L. lycopodioides Sternberg and Lepidofloyos acerosus Sternberg (all lycopsids) the height of which varied between 10 and 20 m. Nevertheless, it is impossible to define exactly the height of these species since only lower parts of trunks in upright position or several metre lengths of fallen trunks were found. The spatial distribution of trees varies usually between 2 and 5 m and the diameter of the tree casts is 5 to 25 cm. Cordaites borasifolius (Sternberg) Unger probably belongs to the arborescent storey, too. This species is represented by branches with leaflets, trunks and reproductive organs (Cordaianthus). The low-tree storey comprises arborescent plants, the height of which reached around 5 m. The dominant elements of this storey are Psaronius and Calamites sp. A. The Psaronius sp. trunks were associated with fern fronds of the Pecopteris aspidioides-type. The shrubby storey is represented by plants ranging from 1 to 3 m in height. This horizon consists of Spencerites havlenae n.sp. (lycophyta), Sphenopteris mixta, Spenopteris sp., (both pteridosperms), Calamites sp. B (Sphenophyta). Regarding its height we found almost complete plants. The most species-diversified part of the phytocoenoses was the understorey the density of which varied from place to place. The plants of this storey are preserved in the basal 50 mm of the tuff bed just above the roof of the Lower Radnice Coal. Dominant elements of this storey are Corynepteris angustisima (Sternberg) Nemejc (pteridophyta) and Sphenophyllum majus Bronn (sphenophyta) with co-dominant species Selaginella sp., Sphenophyllum brasense n. sp., Sphenopteris cf. schatzlarensis, Sphenopteris sp., Hymenotheca sp., Desmopteris longifolia and Palmatopteris furcata. Lianas are represented by Selaginella sp. (lycophyta), Eusphenopteris nummularia (Gutbier) Ameron, E. obtusiloba (Brongniart) Ameron, Laveinopteris loshii (Brongniart) (all pteridosperms), Desmopteris longifolia (Sternberg in Göppert) Stur, Senftenbergia plumos (Artis) Bek and Pšenicka, Oligocarpia lindsaeoides (Ettingshausen) Stur (all pteridophyta).

This project is supported by GACR (205/02/1121).

Mesozoic Terrestrial Plant life of Pranhita-Godavari Basin, India

A. Rajanikanth

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Unversity Road, Lucknow 226 007 U.P. India

Gondwana basins of peninsular India have gained much attention due to rich coal deposits, abundant plant fossils and associated faunal records. The Pranhita Godavari Basin, an incratonic rift basin extending up to the east coast, is an important Gondwana basin in the peninsular India. Interplay of dominantly fluvial process with local lacustrine and marginal marine depositions distinguishes Mesozoic deposits. Fluvio-lacustrine deposits variously preserved upland, near basinal and marginal type of floral components. Plant mega fossils are preserved in the form of impressions, compressions and petrifications. Members of plant groups -bryophytes, pteridophytes and gymnosperms are preserved in medium to coarse sandstones, fine sandstones, shales and mudstones. Differential preservation of plant fossils dictated by depositional environments denotes partial floral assemblages.

The Triassic Glossopteris-Dicroidium Flora preserved in the form of impressions. Vertebrate fauna are common. The Jurassic flora preserved in the form of impressions and silicified woods. The plant ecosystem consists of pteridophytes, cycadophytes, ginkgophytes and conifers. Variations in wood and leaf assemblages are attributed to taphonomic constraints and taxonomic bias. Jurassic invertebrate and vertebrate fauna are well known. The Early Cretaceous fluvial deposits encompass gymnosperm dominated plant fossils assignable to pteridophytes, pteridosperms, cycadophytes, ginkgophytes, taxales and other conifers. Faunal records are scarce. Inferences based on plant impressions, compressions and petrified woods representing Ptilophyllum flora are discussed. Comparative analysis of floral assemblages with associated coastal basins has been carried out. Plant fossil data is evaluated for palaeoecological significance.

Significance of Plant Cuticles in Palaeoecology

Rajni Tewari

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, University Road, Lucknow, 22 6007 U.P. INDIA

Cuticles are the decay resistant outermost protective coverings of aerial parts of plants mainly leaves and young stems. In fossils they are either preserved as compressions or are present in dispersed condition. Due to their resistant nature they preserve sufficient characters or a group of characters, viz.-size, nature and arrangement of epidermal cells, their differentiation into vein and mesh areas, size of veins and areolae, nature of anticlinal and surface walls, type of stomata and guard cells, trichomes/trichome bases, and stomatal frequency/stomatal index. These characters are not only useful taxonomic evidences but are also significant in understanding history of an extant taxon, correlating strata stratigraphically and in determining palaeoecology. They are useful indicators of change in climate, local environment and other environmental features. They also reflect vegetative adaptations resulting due to climatic changes. Moreover, certain specialized sculpturing of epidermal cells can reflect particular physiological functioning of leaves. Dispersed cuticles, additionally are reliable means of identifying fossil plant remains that lack identifiable macroscopic characters. Besides, stomatal index analysis has recently emerged as a powerful tool for estimating palaeo CO2 (pCO2), which is essential in order to understand climatic changes and their effects on global temperature.

The Bockwitz flora (Late Oligocene, Saxony, Germany) - New taphonomic and palaeoecological aspects of a unique palaeobotanical site

Harald Walther1 & L. Kunzmann1

1 Staatliche Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum für Mineralogie und Geologie, Königsbrücker Landstr. 159, D - 01109 Dresden, Germany,
e-mail: harald.walther@snsd.smwk.sachsen.de; lutz.kunzmann@snsd.smwk.sachsen.de

The Palaeogene sediments of the southern margin of the Leipzig Basin ("Weisselster Basin", central Germany) are famous for their large quantities of highly diversed and excellently preserved mega- and palynofloras. In 1991 the Upper Oligocene Thierbach Member was chosen by an international research team for an interdisciplinary approach to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment and palaeovegetation of a distinct section of this Palaeogene basin. The Thierbach Member was well exposed in the Borna, Bockwitz and Witznitz open cast mines (south of Leipzig, Saxony). Besides sedimentological and palaeobotanical investigations, taphonomic, palynological and biogeochemical data sets, derived from the same sample horizons, are used for a multidisciplinary model (Gastaldo et al. 1998).

Leaf megafloras and carpofloras of the Thierbach Member are the "key-flora" of the floral assemblage ("Florenkomplex") Rott-Thierbach (MAI & WALTHER 1991, MAI 1995). For the Thierbach complex a Broad-leaved Deciduous Forest is reconstructed for the zonal vegetation, which indicates a warm-temperate and perhumide palaeoclimate.

The objective of the present contribution is to demonstrate new palaeobotanical and taphonomic data of an abandoned channel-fill sequence in the Bockwitz open cast mine. The Thierbach Member in Bockwitz is composed of two clastic complexes of an alluvial braidplain (GASTALDO et al. 1996). From plant taphonomic data and sedimentological features the plant fossil assemblages from different facies types are identified as being either autochthonous, parautochthonous, or allochthonous. The abandoned channel-fill sequence bears in the lower part mainly parautochthonous plant remains of a riparian forest and partly of a zonal Broad-leaved Deciduous Forest (Fagus). In the upper part autochthonous elements such as Salvinia and Stratiotes represent the stage of channel alluviation, whereas rooting structures show the development of an incipient palaeosoil after complete channel fill. Allochthonous plant remains (diaspores, leaves of evergreens, twigs, pollen) are distributed scattered throughout the sequence. Such elements belong to the flood-derived and wind-derived input into the channel.

Selected references:
GASTALDO, R. A., FERGUSON, D. K., WALTHER, H. & RABOLD, J. M. 1996. Criteria to distinguish parathochthonous leaves in Tertiary alluvial channel fills. - Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 91: 1-21.
MAI, D. H. & WALTHER, H. 1991. Die oligozänen und untermiozänen Floren NW-Sachsens und des Bitterfelder Raumes. - Abh. Staatl. Mus. Mineral. Geol. Dresden 38: 1-230.
GASTALDO, R. A., RIEGEL, W., PÜTTMANN, W., LINNEMANN, U. & ZETTER, R. 1998. A multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct the Late Oligocene vegetation in central Europe. - Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 101: 71-94.

First results from the 2004 expedition to the lower Permian of Sumatra: are the different plant associations from the Mengkarang Formation related to differences in lithofacies?

I.M. van Waveren1, F. Hasibuan2, M. Booi1, P.L. Boer3, D. Chaney4, J.H.A. van Konijnenburg-van Cittert1, & R.H. Wagner5

1 Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, Naturalis, P.O. box 9517, 2300 RA The Netherlands.
2 Geological Research and Development Center, Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia.
3 Department of sedimentology, Institute of Geology, University of Utrecht, Budapestlaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands.
4 Department of Paleobiology, MRC 121, Smithsonian Institution, NMNH, 10-th Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20560 USA.
5 Centro Paleobotánico, Jardín Botánico de Córdoba, Avenida de Linneo s/n. 14004, Córdoba, Spain.

The ecosystem stability and taxonomic stasis that prevailed for plants in the Late Carboniferous were disturbed in the Early Permian because of the end of the Paleozoic glaciation (Pfefferkorn et al., 20000). This transition was observed in Texas where a Permian xeromorphic flora replaced a wet one (DiMichele et al., 2004). A similar transition was discovered for the Jambi-paleoflora in the uniquely preserved regressive Mengkarang Formation (Sumatra). A review of the Jambi paleoflora indicated the presence of Cathaysian and Euramerican plant fossils in the Early Permian deposits of Sumatra. (Van Waveren et al. 2004). In October 2003 a pilot study to the Jambi area on Sumatra where the Early Permian is outcropping indicated that the study of the Mengkarang formation can clarify (1) some aspects of the the change from a wet to a xeromorphic flora, (2) its depositional environments and (3) its stratigraphic position in order to assess Sumatra's role in Early Permian floral migration and its paleogeographic position The first results of the sampling expedition held in August 2004 will be presented.

DiMichele, W.A., Chaney D. and Tabor, N., 2004. Vegetation of Wolfcampian (early Permian) age in North-Central Texas, USA: Dynamics in the Western Tropical Belt during the time of Late Paleozoic Deglaciation. Abstracts from the VII International Organization of Paleobotany Conference, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina, March 21-26-2004. p 23-24.
Pfefferkorn, H.W., Gastaldo, R.A, and DiMichele, W.A., 2000. Ecosystem Stability during the Late Paleozoic Cold Interval: in Gastaldo, R.A., and DiMichele, eds., Phanerozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems: Paleontological Society Short Course Notes: The Paleontological Society Papers, v. 6, p. 63-78.

The Ladinian Flora (Middle Triassic) of the Dolomites: Palaeoenvironmental and Palaeoclimatic Considerations

Evelyn Kustatscher1, & Johanna H.A. van Konijnenburg-van Cittert2

1 Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Universitŕ di Ferrara, C.so Ercole I d'Este 32, 44100 Ferrara, Italy, e-mail Evelyn.Kustatscher@unife.it.
2 Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Budapestlaan 4, 3584CD Utrecht, Netherlands.

Recent systematic studies on the Ladinian Flora from the Dolomites, both on historical and inedited collections from Italian and international Museums permit to describe some taxa for the first time, and also to attempt a taxonomical revision of others (Kustatscher, 2003; Kustatscher et al., 2004). The Ladinian flora consists of the following taxa: Annalepis zeilleri (Lycophyta), Equisetites arenaceus (Sphenophyta), Cladophlebis leuthardtii, C. ruetimeyeri, Neuropteridium elegans, Scolopendrites sp., Filicales indet. (Pteridophyta), Ptilozamites heeri (Pteridospermae), Bjuvia dolomitica, Dioonitocarpidium moroderi, Pterophyllum jaegeri, Pterophyllum sp., Sphenozamites wengensis, Sphenozamites cf. bronnii, Taeniopteris sp. (Cycadophyta), Voltzia dolomitica, V. ladinica, V. pragsensis, V. zoldana, Voltzia sp., Pelourdea vogesiaca and Elatocladus sp. (Coniferophyta).

The flora, particularly the "Wachtler collection", stored at the Museo di Scienze Naturali dell'Alto Adige (BZ), evidences a general dominance of the conifers, pteridosperms are common, whereas cycads, ferns and horsetails are rare. This composition may be due to various factors, as climate (aridity), edafic (immature soils) and taphonomy (selection due to transport).

Additionally quantitative analyses of the microflora and palynofacies were applied to the plant localities of Ritberg, Seewald and Innerkohlbach, where fossil plants belongs to. The high amount of hygrophytic material refers the flora to a general humid and warm climate. The dominance of the conifers and the pteridosperms can therefore be related to their better preservation potential during the transport, and not to climate, as often assumed.

Considering the Upper Ladinian palaeogeographic reconstructions (i.e. Brusca et al., 1982; Gianolla, 1993; Bosellini, 1996) and the different macrofossils we can propose the following palaeoenvironmental reconstruction: The Dolomites represent during the Upper Ladinian an amount of small emersed carbonatic platforms and vulcanic islands on which different biotopes can be distinguished. The coastal environment is characterised by alophytic lycophytes (Annalepis) and pteridosperms (Ptilozamites). The humid lowland is colonised by the ferns of medium (Neuropteridium) to big dimensions (Pteridophyta indet.), shrub-like (Sphenozamites) and arboreous cycads (Pterophyllum), and horsetails (Equisetites). The vegetation of the more arid lowland, on the other hand, is composed by arboreous conifers (Voltzia), cycads (Bjuvia) and Bennetitales with high stem (Pterophyllum), whereas the understorey is composed only by few small ferns.

BOSELLINI, A., 1996. Geologia delle Dolomiti. - Athesia, 192 pp., Bozen/Bolzano. BRUSCA C., GAETANI M., JADOUL F. & VIEL, G. 1982. Paleogeografia ladino-carnica e metallogenesi del Sudalpino. - Mem. Soc. Geol. It. 22: 65-82.
GIANOLLA, P., 1993. Le successioni stratigrafiche ladinico-carniche nel Sudalpino orientale. - tesi di dottorato, Univ. Padova, 199 pp., Padova.
KUSTATSCHER, E., 2003. Macroflore terrestri del Triassico Medio delle Dolomiti e loro inquadramento biocronostratigrafico e paleoclimatico mediante palinmorfi. - tesi di dottorato in Scienze della Terra, XV ciclo, Consorzio Parma-Ferrara, 220 pp. Ferrara.
KUSTATSCHER, E., WACHTLER M. & VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT J.H.A., 2004. Some additional and revised taxa from the Ladinian Flora of the Dolomites, Northern Italy. - Geo.Alp 1 (in stampa).
WACHTLER, M. & VAN KONIJNENBURG VAN CITTERT, 2000. The fossil flora of the Wengen Formation (Ladinian) in the Dolomites (Italy). - Beiträge zur Paläontologie, 25: 105-141.

New species from the lower Permian of the Jambi province, Sumatra, Indonesia

Booi, M.1, van Waveren, I.M.1, van Konijnenburg-van Cittert, J.H.A.1, Hasibuan, F.2, Suyoko2, de Boer, P.L.3, de Leeuw, J.H.W.M.3, King, C.I.3, Chaney, D.4, Ueno, K.5:

1 National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Geological Research & Development Center (GRDC), Jalan Diponegoro No 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia
3 Department of Sedimentology, University of Utrecht, Budapestlaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
4 Smithsonian Institution, Dept. of Paleobiology, MRC-121, PO Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012, USA
5 Department of Earth System Science Faculty of Science, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan

Since the early part of the 20th century, research into the Permian paleoflora of the Mengkarang formation (Jambi province, Sumatra) in Indonesia has lain dormant (Jongmans & Gothan, 1935). Recently, a reinvestigation and revision of the material has taken place (van Waveren, et al., 2004, and in preparation); this in consequence has led to two expeditions to the region in the last year, both organised by the National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis, in close cooperation with the Geological Research and Development Center (GRDC) in Bandung, Indonesia. The last expedition in particular has rendered a large amount of information on the sedimentological composition of the formation. It can now be deduced, on the basis of primary investigation of the sedimentological data, that sedimentation has taken place in a deltaic floodplain-system. In the formation, which mainly consists of alternations between sandstone deposits and shales (their nature pointing to a meandering to braided river system), the plant fossils usually occur in the shales which are right below the sandstone deposits. A number of species has been found, which were hitherto unknown from the area. Much is still unclear concerning the affiliation of these species, but it could already be concluded from preliminary investigation that the species probably fit the Cathaysian profile of this flora. Next to these new finds, a lot of material was also collected of species, which up till now were only known from a few fragments, such as Macralethopteris and some Gigantopterids. Moreover, a number of large petrified tree trunks have been found, partly in situ. The largest of them 2.2 m in diameter.

Research work will focus first of all on the new species from this area; next to this the additional material of Macralethopteris and the Gigantopterids will be examined and compared with the existing collection and material from neighbouring regions.

We thank Dr. Djadjang Sukarna, director of GRDC for making this paleontological research and sampling project possible by giving us both scientific and technical support . We would like the Smithsonian Institution for providing Dan Chaney with the means to participate to the expedition through the Small Research Grant Program. We are grateful to the Fukuoka University for providing Dr. Ueno with the means to support our work with a good stratigraphic framework. We also thank the Treub Maatschappij and the Vrij Vrouwe van Renswoude Foundation for making the participation of Menno Booi possible. We are greatly indebted to the Molengraaff Foundation for providing two students, Arjan de Leeuw and Christine King with the means to participate in the expedition, we would also like to thank WOTRO who provided Isabel van Waveren with a traveling grant. We would like to thank the Alida van Buitendijk fonds for providing us with financial support for the traveling costs and the K. Martin foundation for providing us with financial support for the costs of the food.

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