Stable carbon isotopes and the metabolism of the terrestrial Devonian organism Spongiophyton

  title={Stable carbon isotopes and the metabolism of the terrestrial Devonian organism Spongiophyton},
  author={Benjamin J. Fletcher and David J. Beerling and William Gilbert Chaloner},
Devonian fossils of Spongiophyton have been identified as a terrestrial evolutionary intermediate between algae and vascular land plants on the basis of their dichotomously branched, tubular morphology, thick cuticles, and the scattered distribution of surface pores. Our understanding of their physiology is, however, severely limited, but may be increased through the use of stable carbon isotope measurements. One such study led to the hypothesis that Spongiophyton carried a carbon isotope (δ13C… 

Carbon sources for the Palaeozoic giant fungus Prototaxites inferred from modern analogues

  • E. HobbieC. K. Boyce
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2010
A saprotrophic fungal identity is supported for Prototaxites, which may have relied on deposits of algal-derived organic matter in floodplain environments that were less dominated by vascular plants than a straight reading of the macrofossil record might suggest.

Devonian landscape heterogeneity recorded by a giant fungus

Prototaxites biogeochemistry suggests that a biologically heterogeneous mosaic of primary producers characterized land surfaces well into the vascular plant era, consistent with anatomy-based interpretation as a fungus.

To concentrate or ventilate? Carbon acquisition, isotope discrimination and physiological ecology of early land plant life forms

Evidence for the operation of a CCM in algae and hornworts is considered in terms of the probable role of the chloroplast pyrenoid, as the origins, structure and function of this enigmatic organelle are explored during the evolution of land plants.

Environmental influences on the stable carbon isotopic composition of Devonian and Early Carboniferous land plants


Testing the isotopic fractionation between cuticle and whole leaves in 175 phylogenetically diverse species found that more basal groups tend to have negative ϵ13Ccuticle-leaf values, which should be accounted for in studies that wish to estimate whole-leaf δ13C from cuticle δ 13C.

Origins of the terrestrial flora: A symbiosis with fungi?

Today, these fungi form arbuscular mycorrhizae, which help most Embryophyta to exploit soil, and molecular data combined with paleontological evidence support the idea that this type of association is ancestral.

Affinities and architecture of Devonian trunks of Prototaxites loganii

The histology of a complete fossil of Prototaxites loganii from the Middle Devonian Bellvale Sandstone on Schunnemunk Mountain, eastern New York is unlike algae, liverworts or vascular plants and most like lichen with coccoid chlorophyte phycobionts.



Stable Carbon Isotope Analysis of Mosses and Lichens Growing in Xeric and Moist Habitats

It appears that among vascular plant species there are at least two genetically determined alternative pathways for the photosynthetic conversion of atmospheric CO2 into carbohydrate in environments characterized by high temperatures and lack of available moisture.

Lichen metabolism identified in Early Devonian terrestrial organisms

The identification of large global populations of lichens during the Early Devonian may indicate that lichen-accelerated soil formation fostered the development of Paleozoic terrestrial ecosystems.

Variations in the carbon isotope composition of late-Holocene plant macrofossils: a comparison of whole-leaf and cellulose trends

Stable carbon isotope measurements (δ13C) made on Quaternary sequences of terrestrial plant subfos sils are frequently used to infer palaeoclimatic trends. However, differential decomposition of

Depletion of 13C in lignin and its implications for stable carbon isotope studies

Stable carbon isotope compositions of organic matter are now widely used to trace carbon flow in ecosystems, and have been instrumental in shaping current perceptions of the importance of terrestrial

Stable carbon isotope discrimination measurements in Sphagnum and other bryophytes: physiological and ecological implications

Nine Sphagnum species and associated vascular plants and peat from a wet heath in East Devon and a North Carolina lake show broadly similar δ13C values, while S. trinitense shows significant between-site and within-site variation in δ 13C in relation to height above water level.

A pyrenoid-based carbon-concentrating mechanism is present in terrestrial bryophytes of the class Anthocerotae

It is shown that such a mechanism is categorically associated with the occurrence of a pyrenoids in bryophytes belonging to the class of Anthocerotae, raising the intriguing question of why the pyrenoid-based CO2-concentrating mechanism did not persist in the terrestrial environment.

Spatial variation in carbon isotope discrimination across the thalli of several lichen species

The results demonstrate that the observed variation in Δ is caused by age-related changes in the physiological behaviour of different thallus sections, and that the past 150 years of increasing CO 2 concentration have not had significant effects on Δ in L. pulmonaria.

Carbon-isotope variation in Sphagnum from hummock-hollow complexes: implications for Holocene climate reconstruction

The interpretation of isotopic variation in Sphagnum from Holocene peat profiles rests upon several assumptions concerning physiological processes such as variation in CO2 uptake and differences in

Tansley Review No. 117: Carbon economy in lichens.

This review summarizes data on growth, carbon gain and carbon expenditures in lichens, with particular emphasis on factors determining the photosynthetic capacity of their photobionts.

Variation in carbon isotope discrimination within and among Sphagnum species in a temperate wetland

The results suggest that environmental, not genetic, variation at microsites affects Δ in non-vascular plants, however, environmental control of Δ is unlike that in vascular plants where water limitation lowers chloroplastic demand and increases resistance to carbon uptake.