Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
One of the most important events in the history of life is the evolution of the complex, eukaryotic cell. The eukaryotes are complex organisms with membrane-bound intracellular structures, and they include a variety of both single-celled and multicellular organisms: plants, animals, fungi and various protists. The evolutionary origin of this group may be studied by direct evidence of past life: fossils. The oldest traces of eukaryotes have appeared by 2.4 billion years ago (Ga), and have additionally diversified in the period around 1.8 Ga. The Mesoproterozoic Era (1.6-1 Ga) is characterised by the first evidence of the appearance complex unicellular microfossils, as well as innovative morphologies, and the evolution of sexual reproduction and multicellularity. For a better understanding of the early eukaryotic evolution and diversification patterns, a part of this thesis has focused on the microfossil records from various time periods and geographic locations. Examination of microfossil morphology, cell wall microstructure and biochemical properties, reflect their intracellular complexity and function, and allow reconstructions of their life cycle, as well as observing the evolutionary pattern of change from Mesoproterozoic, to Cambrian-Ordovician transition. Several case studies included assemblages deriving from Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic and early Paleozoic time intervals that show disparate morphotypes and innovative features indicative of algal clades. The Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group in northern China has yielded a diverse microfossil assemblage that provides important clues about the diversification of different eukaryotic groups. Furthermore these microfossils contributed an additional evidence for the emergence of the crown group Eukarya by 1.7-1.4 Ga. In another part of this thesis, examination of wall microstructure and chemical properties via Raman spectroscopy has been used to assess the biological affinities of various Neoproterozoic problematic carbonaceous compression fossils. Studies on the early Phanerozoic (c. 545-485 Ma) assemblages from Estonia reconstructed patterns of the early radiations of phytoplankton and its evolutionary innovations. A continuing theme in this thesis has been using a combination of evidence of microfossils’ fine-scale morphology, ecology and chemical properties to determine their function in life, in addition to their systematic position.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. , 47 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1308
microfossils, eukaryotes, Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, Cambrian, Ordovician, palaeobiology, biostratigraphy, phylogeny, China, Estonia, Siberian Platform, prasinophytes, microstructure, Raman spectroscopy
Research subject Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265229ISBN: 978-91-554-9389-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265229DiVA: diva2:864160
2015-12-11, Hambergsalen, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, 752 36, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Xiao, Shuhai, Professor
ProjectsPalaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
FunderSwedish Research Council, 621-2009-4445
List of papers