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Article: Sporopollenin chemistry and its durability in the geological record: an integration of extant and fossil chemical data across the seed plants

Palaeontology - Vol. 64 Part 2 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 64
Part: 2
Publication Date: March 2021
Page(s): 285 305
Author(s): Phillip E. Jardine, Carina Hoorn, Maxine A.M. Beer, Natasha Barbolini, Amber Woutersen, Giovanni Bogota‐Angel, William D. Gosling, Wesley T. Fraser, Barry H. Lomax, Huasheng Huang, Matteo Sciumbata, Huajie He, and Guillaume Dupont‐Nivet
Addition Information

How to Cite

JARDINE, P.E., HOORN, C., BEER, M.A., BARBOLINI, N., WOUTERSEN, A., BOGOTA‐ANGEL, G., GOSLING, W.D., FRASER, W.T., LOMAX, B.H., HUANG, H., SCIUMBATA, M., HE, H., DUPONT‐NIVET, G. 2021. . Palaeontology, 64, 2, 285-305. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12523

Author Information

  • Phillip E. Jardine - Institute of Geology & Palaeontology University of Münster 48149 Münster Germany
  • Carina Hoorn - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Maxine A.M. Beer - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Natasha Barbolini - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Natasha Barbolini - Department of Ecology, Environment & Plant Sciences, & Bolin Centre for Climate Research Stockholm University SE‐106 91 Stockholm Sweden
  • Amber Woutersen - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Giovanni Bogota‐Angel - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Giovanni Bogota‐Angel - Facultad del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas Bogotá Colombia
  • William D. Gosling - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Wesley T. Fraser - Geography, Department of Social Sciences Oxford Brookes University Oxford OX3 0BP UK
  • Barry H. Lomax - Agriculture & Environmental Science University of Nottingham Sutton Bonington Campus Leicestershire LE12 5RD UK
  • Huasheng Huang - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Matteo Sciumbata - Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) University of Amsterdam 1090 GE Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • Huajie He - Germplasm Bank of Wild Species Kunming Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Sciences Kunming Yunnan China
  • Guillaume Dupont‐Nivet - Institute of Geosciences University of Potsdam 14476 Potsdam Germany
  • Guillaume Dupont‐Nivet - Univ Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118 35000 Rennes France

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 04 March 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 04 December 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 16 July 2020

Funded By

Natural Environment Research Council. Grant Numbers: NE/K005294/1, NE/P013724/1, NE/R001324/1
H2020 European Research Council. Grant Number: 649081

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library (Open Access)
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Open Access]

Abstract

Sporopollenin is a highly resistant biopolymer that forms the outer wall of pollen and spores (sporomorphs). Recent research into sporopollenin chemistry has opened up a range of new avenues for palynological research, including chemotaxonomic classification of morphologically cryptic taxa. However, there have been limited attempts to directly integrate extant and fossil sporopollenin chemical data. Of particular importance is the impact of sample processing to isolate sporopollenin from fresh sporomorphs, and the extent of chemical changes that occur once sporomorphs enter the geological record. Here, we explore these issues using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy data from extant and fossil grass, Nitraria (a steppe plant), and conifer pollen. We show a 98% classification success rate at subfamily level with extant grass pollen, demonstrating a strong taxonomic signature in isolated sporopollenin. However, we also reveal substantial chemical differences between extant and fossil sporopollenin, which can be tied to both early diagenetic changes acting on the sporomorphs and chemical derivates of sample processing. Our results demonstrate that directly integrating extant and late Quaternary chemical data should be tractable as long as comparable sample processing routines are maintained. Consistent differences between extant and deeper time sporomorphs, however, suggests that classifying fossil specimens using extant training sets will be challenging. Further work is therefore required to understand and simulate the effects of diagenetic processes on sporopollenin chemistry.

Acknowledgements

We are deeply indebted to Antoine Cleef for collecting the grass sample material from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. We also thank Annemarie Philip and Malcolm Jones for sample processing, and Caixia Wei for pollen photography. Sally Thomas and four anonymous reviewers are thanked for detailed reviews that greatly increased the quality of this paper. This research was funded by ERC grant MAGIC 649081 (GDN), and NERC grant NE/K005294/1 (WDG, WTF, BHL). BHL and WTF's ongoing work on sporopollenin chemistry is currently supported by NERC grants NE/P013724/1 and NE/R001324/1. PEJ is currently funded by DFG grant 443701866.

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