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7. Evolution and Development in Palaeobotanical contexts

(SS10) Exine development and pattern formation, unifying ultrastructural and genetic approaches

Organizers: Stephen Blackmore, Nina Gabarayeva & Michael Hesse

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Purpose: The science of palynology is founded entirely upon the extraordinary organisational diversity and resistance to decay of the exine. Not surprisingly therefore, there has always been great interest in understanding how the complex, elaborate and often taxon-specific patterns of exine organisation are developed and have evolved. Traditionally these questions have been addressed by microscopy: first optical microscopy and later electron microscopy. There has also been a strong interest in the theoretical basis of pollen and spore symmetry control, number and placement of germination sites, and surface pattern formation. However, in spores the control of perispore (or perine) sculpturing remains poorly understood with more information urgently needed. More recently, there have been dramatic advances in the molecular genetics of pollen development based on insights from the model plant, Arabidopsis. Much of this new research has been undertaken in Japan.

The symposium aims to bring together experts from the ultrastructural, theoretical and genetic research areas in order to develop a unified understanding of exine organisation. In doing so it hopes to overcome the tendency in modern science for disciplines to specialise and diverge, each developing its own audience and terminology. Whilst the symposium will be primarily of interest to those with an interest on the development of pollen grains and spores, the insights it generates will also assist in interpreting forms encountered in palaeopalynological or systematic investigations.

(SS11) Paleozoic Plant Physiology

Organizers: Walton Green & Cindy Looy

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Purpose: Since their disciplinary origins, paleontology and paleobiology have been concerned with basic questions of uniformitarian onus: whether the past should be assumed to be the same as the present (unless proven otherwise) or whether, if some changes have been observed, comparable changes in variables that cannot be directly observed should be assumed. Physiology is a particularly difficult area in this regard because it is seldom directly observable without experimental manipulation. In this session we hope to foster a debate about what characteristics of physiology should be considered constant throughout the Phanerozoic and when an 'upward outlook' and receptivity to non-analog arguments is needed. Our focus will be on Paleozoic plant ecosystems, but we welcome contributions from different eras, organisms, or ecosystems that are thematically related to the question of what is uniform about physiology.

(SS13) Bridging the Gap between Palynology and Phylogeography: From Ice Core Genetics to Lakebed Sediments

Organizer: Lynn Anderson-Carpenter

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Purpose: The merging of disparate scientific fields can provide the most exciting and challenging aspects of research. The combination can often give new results and solve long-standing questions that neither field could address alone. For example, the combination of ancient DNA and palynology can provide taxonomic identification for morphologically similar species. Differentiating these species can often give a finer-scale resolution of shifting geographic ranges. Additional investigation can elucidate genetic change over time and give insight to implications for organismal response to shifting climates. This research is not without its challenges, and the technical implications must be addressed in parallel with this new data. For example contamination is a constant problem, particularly as DNA concentration tends to decrease with increasing sample age. 

The purpose of this session is to bring together ancient DNA with the fields of palynology, paleoecology and phylogenetics. We will address a wide variety of topics including the combination of contemporary genetic patterns with paleoecological data, a DNA analysis of pollen and sediments, ice core genetics, and the combination of paleobotanical models with contemporary genetic data. Such mergers are well suited to tackle a variety of questions that are certain to provide an entertaining and informative discussion.

(SS32) Evolutionary novelties in Land Plants and developmental mechanisms behind

Organizers: Toshihiro Yamada & Harufumi Nishida

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Purpose: Land Plants innovated their body plan since the invasion of the land. Such innovations include acquisition of elaborated sporophyte, multicellular apical meristem, leaf, integument, carpel, perianth, and so on.

In this symposium, we will discuss how developmental mechanisms responsible for these innovations were evolved in light of palaeobotany. We also welcome perspectives from developmental biology which "predict" future palaeobotanical findings.

(SS40) Tracing the history of extant angiosperm clades with paleobotanical data

Organizers: Steven Manchester & Kathleen Pigg

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Purpose: Fossils showing the diagnostic characters of various living angiosperm families and orders provide important insights into such aspects of evolutionary history as character evolution, minimal ages of divergence and former biogeographic patterns. Although some families are well known from the fossil record, new evidence has only recently emerged for other groups that are rarely preserved or seldom recognized. Our purpose is to bring to light the results of recent and ongoing studies that trace the fossil history of angiosperm clades that have received only limited paleobotanical study in the past. Contributions to this symposium will emphasize such areas as new systematic data, new understanding of clade divergence time, paleobiogeography, and /or the particular obstacles inherent in the study of a given taxonomic group.