Fungal Palynomorphs (4 screens)

meindert de jong <^_^> vlinders at rcl.wau.nl
Fri Dec 10 10:16:04 EST 1993


Fungal palynomorphs were noticed in the earliest of microsco-
pical studies. They were generally ignored until the turn of
this century. Unlike pollen and other spores, there was a long
hiatus until the 1950s, when the first useful taxonomic treat-
ment began.

Morphology
The size of a fungal palynomorph can range from larger than an
actinomycete to as large as fi=osiil seed coats (2 to 1000
mu). There is a very extreme range of general morphology, from
simple spheres to complex multicellular bodies. Fungal spores
are colorless to some shade of brown. The pigemnt is generally
melanin.

Ubiquitous Nature
Fungi have a fossil record in time and space more or less
equal to the algae. They are recorded from Precambian strata.
Fungal palynomorphs are found most commonly in Jurassic to
Recent sediments. The development of the Ascomycetes, an
advanced group of fungi, is believed to have been parallel to
the development of the Angiosperms. Fungal palynomorphs per-
sist after many other palynomorphs have been degradaded.

Occurrence
Petroleum/Coal exploration: Geological horizons can be traced
by looking for characteristic fungal palynomorphs.
Stumbling blocks: As with most palynomorphs, fungal remains
can be reworked into younger sediment.  This can result in
erronous interpretations of stratigraphy and paleoclimate.
Archaological implications; Fungi are among the most resistant
of the microfossil clues. Paleozoic fungal spores often remain
after the coking process. 

Elsik, W.C. (1974). Nothofagus in North America. Pollen et
Spores, 16: 285-299.
Pollen grains belonging to the genus Nothofagus from Eocene
and Oligocene sediments of the Gulf Coastal Plin and the
Pacific Northwest have been studied. A new species, Nothofagus
tschudgi is described on the basis of the Eocene sediments.
Occurrence of thin granules and bacula typical of the Nothofa-
gus pollen grains has been demonstrated with the help of the
scanning electron microscope.
{with some amazing phase contrast and SEM photographs of
Nothofagus spp. holotypes and types; paper published with
permission of EXXON Company, Houston, Texas}

Elsik, W.C. (1989). The Fungal Monotype Felixites N. Gen.
Pollen et Spores 31: 155-159.
Felexites n. gen. is described for late Paleozoic fungal
didymospores that are aporate and characterized by a very
thick median septum. The form genus is comprised of two spe-
cies, Felixites pollenisimilus and Felixites playfordii.

Some other papers of William C. Elsik:
Palynology of a late Pleistocene giant ground sloth locality,
southwest Harris county, Texas. Pollen & Spores 1986.
Late Neogene palynomorph diagrams, northern Gulf of Mexico.
Trans. Gulf Coast Assoc. of Geolog. Soc. 1969. {remarkable
pollen grains, "microforams", neogene plant tissues etc. of
spruce, Ambrosia, Helianthus, Alnus.}
Fungal palynomorphs recovered from recent river deposits,
Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Palynology 10: 35-60.

William Elsik 
[The MycoStrat Connection, 12410 Stafford Springs Dr., 1Hous-
ton, TX 77077]
is currently writing a book and may include a little figure of
mine about dispersal of a modern fungus.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Sincerely Yours, dr Meindert D. de Jong          | seeking a
E-mail: Vlinders at RCL.WAU.NL                      |  telejob
Voice: (+31) 8370 21937     FAX: (+31) 8370 23110
Photo:de Jong e.a.'90. Risk Analysis for Biological  Control.  
      About biocontrol of a forest weed Plant Disease 74: 189
de Jong'92 Letter to Editor'92. Risk Assessment for Biological
 Control of Forest Weed by Common Fungus. Risk Analysis 12,465



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