Article: New anatomical characters in fossil coralline algae and their taxonomic implications
Juan C. Braga, Dan W. J. Bosence and Robert S. Steneck
Interfilamental cell-connections are considered important characters in the suprageneric and generic taxonomy of present-day nongeniculate coralline algae but to date they have not been used in the taxonomy of fossil corallines. SEM observations of polished and etched specimens allow recognition of interfilamental cell connections in fossils and therefore these characters can also be applied to the taxonomy of ancient coralline algae. The shape and number of epithallial cells, which are important diagnostic features in delimiting genera in the subfamily Melobesioideae, can also be recognized. The implications of this work are that many fossil corallines have to be reassigned to different genera and can also be assigned to the subfamily classification used for present-day corallines. An identification key is given, which permits identification of the known fossil Cenozoic coralline algae using similar criteria to those used for modern corallines.