Evolution of leaf-form in land plants linked to atmospheric CO2 decline in the Late Palaeozoic era

  title={Evolution of leaf-form in land plants linked to atmospheric CO2 decline in the Late Palaeozoic era},
  author={David J. Beerling and Colin P. Osborne and William Gilbert Chaloner},
The widespread appearance of megaphyll leaves, with their branched veins and planate form, did not occur until the close of the Devonian period at about 360 Myr ago. [] Key Result Here we show, in a series of quantitative analyses using fossil leaf characters and biophysical principles, that the delay was causally linked with a 90% drop in atmospheric pCO2 during the Late Palaeozoic era.

Structure of the Earliest Leaves: Adaptations to High Concentrations of Atmospheric CO2

These earliest leaves are characterized by leaf divisions that possess branching venation and a mesophyll of longitudinally elongate cells lacking differentiation into palisade and spongy layers that support the hypothesis that the megaphyll was derived from an axial branching system.

Evolution of developmental potential and the multiple independent origins of leaves in Paleozoic vascular plants

Detailed comparison of venation in Paleozoic leaves with that of modern leaves for which developmental mechanisms are known suggests developmental interpretations for the origination and early evolution of leaves.

The origin of herbivory on land: Initial patterns of plant tissue consumption by arthropods

The early fossil record of terrestrial arthropod herbivory consists of two pulses, which provide a context for three emerging questions, and provides primary ecological data that remain unaddressed by the body‐fossil record alone.

Selection pressures on stomatal evolution.

  • J. Raven
  • Environmental Science
    The New phytologist
  • 2002
Functional considerations suggest that stomata evolved from pores in the epidermis of plant organs which were at least three cell layers thick and had intercellular gas spaces and a cuticle; an endohydric conducting system would not have been necessary for low-growing rhizophytes, especially in early Palaeozoic CO2 -rich atmospheres.

Leaf evolution: gases, genes and geochemistry.

The recognition that plant evolution responds to and influences CO(2) over millions of years reveals the existence of an intricate web of vegetation feedbacks regulating the long-term carbon cycle.

BOTANICAL BRIEFING Leaf Evolution: Gases, Genes and Geochemistry

The recognition that plant evolution responds to and influences CO2 over millions of years reveals the existence of an intricate web of vegetation feedbacks regulating the long-term carbon cycle.

Beerling — Leaf Evolution : Gases , Genes and Geochemistry 347

Aims This Botanical Briefing reviews how the integration of palaeontology, geochemistry and developmental biology is providing a new mechanistic framework for interpreting the 40to 50-million-year

Biophysical constraints on the origin of leaves inferred from the fossil record.

A 25-fold enlargement of leaf blades in two phylogenetically independent clades as atmospheric CO2 levels fell during the late Paleozoic is shown, supporting the relaxation of biophysical constraints on leaf area predicted by theory and point to a significant role for CO2 in plant evolution.



Changes in land plant function over the Phanerozoic: reconstructions based on the fossil record

Palaeobotanical evidence is presented from the stomatal density record of fossil leaves spanning the past 400 Myr supporting the predicted changes in atsmopheric CO2 and restoring plant function to that more typically experienced by plants over the majority of their evolutionary history.

A new Lower Devonian plant and the early evolution of leaves

A novel plant is described, discovered in the upper Lower Devonian of Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, whose anatomy is more complex and indicates a level of stem–leaf differentiation significantly more advanced than any known for trimerophytes or other taxa of this age.

Climate signals in Palaeozoic land plants

Changes in the composition of Carboniferous–Permian low–latitude wetland vegetation are discussed in relation to tectonic activity and glaciation, with most confidence placed on the conclusion that major extinctions at the Westphalian–Stephanian boundary in Euramerica resulted from increased seasonality created by changes in circulation patterns at low latitudes.

Character diversification and patterns of evolution in early vascular plants

Available data on the stratigraphic ranges of latest Silurian and Devonian vascular plant macro-fossils (sporophytes) and spores provide insights into the tempo and mode of early tracheophyte evolution, and can be used to document mosaic evolution in early vascular plant history.

Stomata in early land plants: an anatomical and ecophysiological approach

direct comparisons of functions and functioning with extant forms and the conclusion that they are among Descriptions of Silurian and Lower Devonian stomata the most conservative of embryophyte

Stomatal Density and Index of Fossil Plants Track Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide in the Palaeozoic

Stomatal density of fossil leaves has potential value for assessing changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration through geological time, as supported by observed changes in the stomatal data.

Terrestrial-marine teleconnections in the Devonian: links between the evolution of land plants, weathering processes, and marine anoxic events

This model provides a framework for understanding links between early land plant evolution and coeval marine anoxic and biotic events, but further testing of Devonian terrestrial-marine teleconnections is needed.

Stomatal numbers are sensitive to increases in CO2 from pre-industrial levels

Experiments have shown that the combination of this previously unreported response ofStomatal density to the level of CO2, with the known responses of stomatal aperture2, cause water use efficiency to be much lower than expected at low levels ofCO2 and over a wide range of humidities.

The origin and early evolution of plants on land

A recent surge of interest in palaeobotanical discoveries and advances in the systematics of living plants provides a revised perspective on the evolution of early land plants and suggests new directions for future research.

The influence of Carboniferous palaeoatmospheres on plant function: an experimental and modelling assessment

A global–scale analysis of the impact of the late Carboniferous climate and atmospheric composition on vegetation function was determined by driving a process–based vegetation–biogeochemistry model with a carboniferous global palaeoclimate simulated by the Universities Global Atmospheric Modelling Programme General Circulation Model.