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A high-latitude Gondwanan lagerstätte: The Permian permineralised peat biota of the Prince Charles Mountains, Antarctica
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6723-239X
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.
2015 (English)In: Gondwana Research, ISSN 1342-937X, E-ISSN 1878-0571, Vol. 27, 1446-1473 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Toploje Member chert is a Roadian to Wordian autochthonous–parautochthonous silicified peat preserved within the Lambert Graben, East Antarctica. It preserves a remarkable sample of terrestrial life from highlatitude central Gondwana prior to the Capitanian mass extinction event from both mega- and microfossil evidence that includes cryptic components rarely seen in other fossil assemblages. The peat layer is dominated by glossopterid and cordaitalean gymnosperms and containsmoderately common herbaceous lycophytes, together with a broad array of dispersed organs of ferns and other gymnosperms. Rare arthropod–plant and fungal–plant interactions are preserved in detail, together with a plethora of fungal morphotypes, Peronosporomycetes, arthropod remains and a diverse coprolite assemblage. Comparisons to other Palaeozoic ecosystems show that the macro flora is of low diversity. The fungal and invertebrate–plant associations demonstrate that a multitude of ecological interactions were well developed by the Middle Permian in high-latitude forest mires that contributed to the dominant coal deposits of the Southern Hemisphere. Quantitative analysis of the constituents of the silicified peat and of macerals within adjacent coal seams reveals that whilst silicified peats provide an unparalleled sample of the organisms forming Permian coals, they do not necessarily reflect the volumetric proportions of constituents within the derived coal. The Toploje Member chert Lagerstätte provides a snapshot of a rapidly entombed mire climax ecosystem in the closing stages of the Palaeozoic, but prior to the onset of the protracted crisis that engulfed and overthrew these ecosystems at the close of the Permian.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 27, 1446-1473 p.
Keyword [en]
Insect–plant interaction, Palaeoecology, Glossopteris, Coal, Fungal–plant interaction
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Ecosystems and species history
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1343DOI: 10.1016/ diva2:862060
Reconstructing the lost forests of Antarctica: the palaeoecology, anatomy and phylogeny of the iconic Glossopteris floraExceptional permineralized biotas - windows into the evolution and functional diversity of terrestrial ecosystems through time
Swedish Research Council, VR 2010-3931Swedish Research Council, VR 2014-5234
Available from: 2015-10-20 Created: 2015-10-20 Last updated: 2015-12-02

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