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Taphonomy of Ediacaran acritarchs from Australia: significance for taxonomy and biostratigraphy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology. (mikropaleontologi)
2009 (English)In: Palaios, ISSN 0883-1351, E-ISSN 1938-5323, Vol. 24, no 3-4, 239-256 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A diverse assemblage of Australian Ediacaran (late Neoproterozoic) acritarchs from the Centralian Superbasin and Adelaide Rift Complex demonstrates a range of taphonomic degradation. Recognition of taphonomic variants is critical for taxonomic studies and biostratigraphic interpretation. Taphonomic features observed include compression features, folding and tearing of vesicle walls, pitting, perforation, abrasion, exfoliation, shrinking, twisting, splitting, curling, shredding, pyritization, particle entrapment, and thermal maturation effects. The physical and chemical structure of the vesicle wall is instrumental in determining the degree of taphonomic damage. Consistent associations allow Identification of degradation series that incorporate previously described individual species and provide a framework for taxonomic revision. Taphonomic associations may also characterize taphofacies, providing an additional tool for basin analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 24, no 3-4, 239-256 p.
Keyword [en]
degradation series, correlation, biostratigraphy, late Neoproterozoic, microfossil
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Historical Geology and Paleontology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97152DOI: 10.2110/palo.2008.p08-020rISI: 000264421500010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97152DiVA: diva2:171962
Available from: 2008-04-15 Created: 2008-04-15 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Ediacaran Diversification of Organic-walled Microbiota: Ocean Life 600 Million Years Ago
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Ediacaran Diversification of Organic-walled Microbiota: Ocean Life 600 Million Years Ago
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The only direct evidence of past life is provided by fossils. Fossils tell us about the evolution of life on Earth and they give us clues concerning ancient environments. The Ediacaran Period (roughly 635-542 million years ago) is characterised by the appearance and diversification of various microbiota and also the diversification of metazoans. Well-preserved organic-walled microfossils referred to as acritarchs occur abundantly in Ediacaran sedimentary successions in the Officer Basin in South Australia. Acritarch assemblages from the Giles 1 and Murnaroo 1 drillcores show a wide morphological disparity and are taxonomically diverse. Assemblages change over short stratigraphic intervals which enables the recognition of different biozones. The presence of taxa common between Australia, Siberia, Baltica and China provides a means for global correlation of the Ediacaran System. Examination of the wall ultrastructure of several acritarch specimens by use of transmission electron microscopy reveals a complexity in the cell wall that is not seen in prokaryotes but is indicative in some cases of particular clades of microalgae. Wall ultrastructures range from single-layered to three- and four-layered and from homogeneous to porous. The wall ultrastructure can be used to assess biological affinities and the affinities of the studied taxa in relation to green algae, dinoflagellates and metazoans are discussed. However, before taxonomic interpretations can be made with confidence, an understanding of taphonomic degradation of microorganisms is required. With focus on illustrated specimens, one part of this thesis explains what happens to an acritarch as it undergoes various types of degradation and why an understanding of these processes is important for taxonomic identification. A meteorite impact in South Australia spread an ejecta layer over a 550 km radius area. This ejecta layer is recognised in subsurface drillcores and provides an independent stratigraphic marker horizon that supports an acritarch-based correlation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 33 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 428
Keyword
Earth sciences, acritarchs, Ediacaran, Australia, biostratigraphy, microfossils, Geovetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8684 (URN)978-91-554-7185-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-16, Axel Hambergsalen, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-04-15 Created: 2008-04-15 Last updated: 2011-07-08Bibliographically approved

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Willman, Sebastian

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