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  • 1.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    A new species of small acritarch with porous wall structure from the early Cambrian of Estonia, and implications for the fossil record of eukaryotic picoplankton2015In: Palynology, ISSN 0191-6122, E-ISSN 1558-9188, Vol. 40, no 3, p. 343-356Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition records a general trend of decrease in phytoplankton cell size, in contrast tothe earlier and much larger Ediacaran acritarchs. Particularly minute, unornamented but sculptured organic-walledmicrofossils have been recovered from the lower Cambrian Lükati Formation in northern Estonia. The lack of anysignificant thermal alteration in the formation allowed for excellent preservation of fine microstructures on thesemicrofossils. Among the rich palynomorph assemblage in Lükati, a new species of tiny, spheroidal eukaryoticmicrofossil is recorded: Reticella corrugata gen. et sp. nov. It is characterised by a corrugated and flexible vesicle wallthat is densely perforated by nano-scale pores. Despite its unique morphology, the new species shares diagnosticcharacters with fossil and extant prasinophyte algae. R. corrugata is among the smallest microfossils with typicaleukaryotic morphology (conspicuous wall sculpture) and contributes to the diversity of the size class of smallacritarchs. Size, abundance, inferred prasinophyte affinity and eukaryotic wall sculpture make this new taxon alikely member of the early eukaryotic picoplankton.

  • 2.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Microfossils of eukaryotic cysts through time: A study of Precambrian-Ordovician organic-walled microbiota2014Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    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.

    List of papers
    1. Affnity, life cycle, and intracellular complexity of organic-walled microfossils from the Mesoproterozoic of Shanxi, China
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Affnity, life cycle, and intracellular complexity of organic-walled microfossils from the Mesoproterozoic of Shanxi, China
    2015 (English)In: Journal of Paleontology, ISSN 0022-3360, E-ISSN 1937-2337, Vol. 89, no 1, p. 28-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Light microscope and scanning electron microscope observations on new material of unicellularmicrofossils Dictyosphaera macroreticulata and Shuiyousphaeridium macroreticulatum, from the MesoproterozoicRuyang Group in China, provide insights into the microorganisms’ biological affinity, life cycle and cellularcomplexity. Gigantosphaeridium fibratum n. gen. et sp., is described and is one of the largest Mesoproterozoicmicrofossils recorded. Phenotypic characters of vesicle ornamentation and excystment structures, properties ofresistance and cell wall structure in Dictyosphaera and Shuiyousphaeridium are all diagnostic of microalgalcysts. The wide size ranges of the various morphotypes indicate growth phases compatible with the development ofreproductive cysts. Conspecific biologically, each morphotype represents an asexual (resting cyst) or sexual (zygotic cyst)stage in the life cycle, respectively. We reconstruct this hypothetical life cycle and infer that the organism demonstrates areproductive strategy of alternation of heteromorphic generations. Similarly in Gigantosphaeridium, a metabolicallyexpensive vesicle with processes suggests its protective role as a zygotic cyst. In combination with all these charactersand from the resemblance to extant green algae, we propose the placement of these ancient microorganisms in the stemgroup of Chloroplastida (Viridiplantae). A cell wall composed of primary and secondary layers in Dictyosphaera andShuiyouisphaeridium required a high cellular complexity for their synthesis and the presence of an endomembranesystem and the Golgi apparatus. The plastid was also present, accepting the organism was photosynthetic. The biotareveals a high degree of morphological and cell structural complexity, and provides an insight into ongoing eukaryoticevolution and the development of complex life cycles with sexual reproduction by 1200Ma.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Cambridge Journals, 2015
    Keywords
    organic-walled microfossils; early eukaryotes; Mesoproterozoic; Dictyosphaera; Shuiyousphaeridium; algae; evolution; intracellular complexity
    National Category
    Geology
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology; Biology with specialization in Systematics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247264 (URN)10.1017/jpa.2014.4 (DOI)000351478500003 ()
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2009-4445
    Available from: 2015-03-16 Created: 2015-03-16 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
    2. Diversity of organic-walled microfossils from the early Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group, North China Craton - a window into the early eukaryote evolution
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diversity of organic-walled microfossils from the early Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group, North China Craton - a window into the early eukaryote evolution
    2017 (English)In: Precambrian Research, ISSN 0301-9268, E-ISSN 1872-7433, p. 101-130Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Mesoproterozoic Era was an important time for the initial diversification of eukaryotic groups and the appearance of the first complex morphologies. While eukaryotes evolved around 2.4 Ga, the first microfossils with ornamentation and sculpture occur in the 1.8-1.6 Ga successions worldwide. Shales and siltstones of the Ruyang Group, Shanxi Province, North China Craton, record a high diversity of such organic-walled microfossils. Recently, the depositional ages of this succession has been constrained to 1.75-1.40 Ga via   zircon U-Pb dating. This dating extends back the time of the first appearance of complex eukaryotic characters (e.g. processes, complex wall structure) in the fossil record. We have conducted a biostratigraphic investigation on of the samples throughout the fossiliferous Ruyang Group to provide an estimate of the early eukaryotic diversity in the Mesoproterozoic. Light- and scanning electron microscope studies have documented 26 species, including several that are reported for the first time, and some that were previously known only from younger, Neoproterozoic strata. Fossil diversity is high in the upper Baicaoping Formation, declines in the middle and reaches its peak in the upper Beidajian Formation. Novel morphologies among the unicellular Ruyang biota include a variety of processes, from tube-like extensions to hirsute spines, vesicles with velutinous outer membranes, as well as numerous specimens with internal bodies of varying sizes. We have also recorded the globally distributed Mesoproterozoic taxa Dictyosphaera, Shuiyousphaeridium, and Tappania. Key characters displayed by the Ruyang biota are consistent with reproductive structures (especially cysts among modern protists. These microfossils provide an additional evidence for the emergence of the crown group Eukarya by 1.7-1.4 Ga.

    Keywords
    Mesoproterozoic, Ruyang Group, organic-walled microfossils, eukaryotic evolution, North China, Dictyosphaera.
    National Category
    Natural Sciences Geology
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265216 (URN)10.1016/j.precamres.2017.04.042 (DOI)000404697200006 ()
    Projects
    Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2009-4445
    Available from: 2015-10-25 Created: 2015-10-25 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved
    3. Raman spectroscopy and microstructural comparison of carbonaceous compression and body fossils from the Neoproterozoic of Siberian and Eastern European platforms
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Raman spectroscopy and microstructural comparison of carbonaceous compression and body fossils from the Neoproterozoic of Siberian and Eastern European platforms
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Macroscopic, organic-walled fossils preserved as carbonaceous compressions and body fossils are commonly occurring in the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian successions worldwide. Most of these fossils, including studied here Chuaria, Tawuia, and Beltemelliformis, have been accepted as algae, and Sabellidites as an early metazoan. They possess limited characters for biological identification and differ in gross morphology of spherodial vs. tubular millimetre-sized specimens. Consequently, other methods than morphologic observations are needed to elucidate their affinities and, ultimately, phylogeny. Here we present a comparison of the Raman spectrographic signatures and new scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations on different carbonaceous compression and body fossils from the Khajpakh Formation (Siberian Platform), and Nekrasovo Formation (East European Platform), referred to the Tonian-Cryogenian transitional interval (c. 840-700 Ma) and the lowermost Cambrian stage, respectively. Data from the Raman spectroscopy of the walls of non-mineralised organisms reveal their chemical properties, and, in additions to microstructural characters, may be used to resolve the fossils’ phylogenetic affinities. To test the basic recognition of organic matter in studied photosynthetic organisms vs. animals, we have examined algal compression fossils and organically-preserved body-fossil. Differences in the Raman spectroscopic signature between various taxa have been observed. Vibrational absorption bands similar to those characteristic of α-chitin signature have been detected in the organic wall of Sabellidites, consistent with its metazoan identity. Distinct organic matter spectra of the macroalgae Chuaria, Tawuia and Beltanelliformis, and the possible early annelid Sabellidites indicate that Raman spectroscopy could be a useful method in identifying different branches of the early eukaryotes. Additionally, the recognition of the earliest metazoans among un-diagnostic tubular fossils by biochemical signatures and wall ultrastructure, could provide the minimum age of their origins.

    Keywords
    Neoproterozoic, Cambrian, tubular fossils, organic body fossils, Raman spectroscopy, SEM, East European Platform, Siberian Platform
    National Category
    Natural Sciences Geology
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265206 (URN)
    Projects
    Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-1669
    Available from: 2015-10-25 Created: 2015-10-25 Last updated: 2015-12-04
    4. Ecdysozoan-like sclerites among Ediacaran microfossils
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecdysozoan-like sclerites among Ediacaran microfossils
    2015 (English)In: Geological Magazine, ISSN 0016-7568, E-ISSN 1469-5081, Vol. 152, no 6, p. 1145-1148Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    We report the occurrence of organically preserved microfossils from the subsurface Ediacaran strata overlying the East European Platform in Poland, in the form of sclerites and cuticle fragments of larger organisms. They are morphologically similar to those known from Cambrian strata and associated with various metazoan fossils of recognized phyla. The Ediacaran age of the microfossils is evident from the stratigraphic position below the base of the Cambrian System and above the isotopically dated tuff layers at c. 551±4Ma. Within this strata interval, other characteristic Ediacaran microorganisms co-occur such as cyanobacteria, vendotaenids, microalgae, Ceratophyton,Valkyria and macroscopic annelidan Sabellidites. The recent contributions of organic sclerites in revealing the scope of the Cambrian explosion are therefore also potentially extendable back to the Ediacaran Period when animals first appear in the fossil record.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015
    Keywords
    Ediacaran metazoans; small carbonaceous fossils; Poland; organic preservation; refractory biopolymers
    National Category
    Geology
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264156 (URN)10.1017/S001675681500045X (DOI)000367730400013 ()
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-1669, 621-2011-4703
    Available from: 2015-10-06 Created: 2015-10-06 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
    5. A new species of small acritarch with porous wall structure from the early Cambrian of Estonia, and implications for the fossil record of eukaryotic picoplankton
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>A new species of small acritarch with porous wall structure from the early Cambrian of Estonia, and implications for the fossil record of eukaryotic picoplankton
    2015 (English)In: Palynology, ISSN 0191-6122, E-ISSN 1558-9188, Vol. 40, no 3, p. 343-356Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    The Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition records a general trend of decrease in phytoplankton cell size, in contrast tothe earlier and much larger Ediacaran acritarchs. Particularly minute, unornamented but sculptured organic-walledmicrofossils have been recovered from the lower Cambrian Lükati Formation in northern Estonia. The lack of anysignificant thermal alteration in the formation allowed for excellent preservation of fine microstructures on thesemicrofossils. Among the rich palynomorph assemblage in Lükati, a new species of tiny, spheroidal eukaryoticmicrofossil is recorded: Reticella corrugata gen. et sp. nov. It is characterised by a corrugated and flexible vesicle wallthat is densely perforated by nano-scale pores. Despite its unique morphology, the new species shares diagnosticcharacters with fossil and extant prasinophyte algae. R. corrugata is among the smallest microfossils with typicaleukaryotic morphology (conspicuous wall sculpture) and contributes to the diversity of the size class of smallacritarchs. Size, abundance, inferred prasinophyte affinity and eukaryotic wall sculpture make this new taxon alikely member of the early eukaryotic picoplankton.

    Keywords
    Cambrian, Estonia, organic-walled microfossils, picoplankton, prasinophytes, small acritarchs
    National Category
    Geology Ecology
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265208 (URN)10.1080/01916122.2015.1068879 (DOI)000386047200007 ()
    Projects
    Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-1669
    Available from: 2015-10-25 Created: 2015-10-25 Last updated: 2017-11-10Bibliographically approved
    6. Reproductive cyst and operculum formation in the Cambrian-Ordovician galeate-plexus microfossils
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reproductive cyst and operculum formation in the Cambrian-Ordovician galeate-plexus microfossils
    2016 (English)In: GFF, ISSN 1103-5897, E-ISSN 2000-0863, Vol. 138, no 2, p. 278-294Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Unicellular organic-walled microfossils from the Cambrian-Ordovician transition in Estonia (ca. 490-480 million years ago) exhibit rare characters reflecting their function as reproductive algal cysts. The studied assemblages record the evolutionary history of phytoplankton in the early Paleozoic Era: novel morphologies appearing through the Cambrian and subsequently diversifying in the Ordovician. Well preserved specimens were extracted following a standard palynological method and studied by light transmitted microscopy. The galeate plexus acritarchs Caldariola, Priscogalea and Stelliferidium have revealed exceptionally preserved morphological elements and a rare structure among both fossil and extant protists – an opening with operculum (lid) in reproductive cysts, in addition to lavish vesicle ornamentation and sculpture. Analogous morphology is observed in the living dasycladalean alga Acetabularia (Chlorophyta), which possesses an intrinsic lid-forming apparatus used during organism’s reproductive stage. Based on the observations on the fossil material and studies on the Acetabularia lid-formation, we propose a model of operculum formation in the galeate plexus microorganisms. Due to strong morphological and ecological similarities between galeate fossils and dasycladalean cysts, and the antiquity of this algal order, galeates may be positioned within green algae, more specifically Dasycladales. Unique morphology of the operculum-bearing microbiota would have required a high degree of intracellular complexity for its development, suggesting that advanced intracellular machinery was present already in the early Paleozoic phytoplankton. Additionally, minute prasinophyte microfossils Reticella corrugata  are reported for the first time in the Upper Cambrian strata. 

    Keywords
    acritarchs, Baltica, cyst-formation, Dasycladales, Estonia, galeate plexus, microfossils, operculum, Ordovician, palaeobiology
    National Category
    Geology Botany
    Research subject
    Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265207 (URN)10.1080/11035897.2015.1116603 (DOI)000379763500001 ()
    Projects
    Palaeobiology and diversification of Proterozoic-Cambrian photosynthetic eukaryotes
    Funder
    Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-1669Danish National Research Foundation, DNRF53
    Available from: 2015-10-25 Created: 2015-10-25 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
  • 4.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Is cyst formation in early eukaryotes a requirement for their preservation in the fossil record?2015In: Abstracts of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2015: Habitability, Habitable Worlds and Life: EARTH’S EARLY BIOSPHERE: LIFE ON AN “ALIEN” PLANET, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Most of the Archaean-Proterozoic fossil record consists of non-biomineralizing microorganisms or their signatures. Body fossils of bacteria and early eukaryotes are preserved in siliciclastics, shales and carbonates, and are usually studied by preparation of thin sections or extraction from the rock matrix via acid maceration.The first eukaryotic organic-walled microfossils (OWM) appear at least by 1.8 Ga and undergo morphological diversification and evolutionary radiation in the Mesoproterozoic. There are no preserved eukaryotic-grade microfossils except OWM until the onset of biomineralization much later in the Neoproterozoic, evident in the record of testate amoebae (VSM) and microfossils with scaly elements.OWM are a less conspicuous component of the fos-sil record than taxa with skeletal or shelly elements. Organic matter decays quickly upon death of the organism, due to autolytic enzymes or degradation via het-erotrophy. However, species producing vegetative cells, resting cysts, zygotes, or spores, show considerable resistance to autolysis. Case studies on extractable carbonaceous OWM indicate they are preserved due to complex refractory molecules in the structure of their sturdy vesicle walls. Living analogues across protistan clades utilise such sporopollenin-like compounds for the cyst wall construction during reproductive phase. Algaenan-containing trilaminar sheath structure (TLS) is secreted during aplanospore formation in extant chlorophyte alga Haematococcus. TLS has also been documented in Leiosphaeridia acritarchs from the Cambrian Lükati Formation in Estonia. Leiosphaeridia is a long ranging morphotype, dating as far back as 1.8 Ga. Presence of TLS in these fossils suggests their function as reproductive cyst. Dictyosphaera-Shuiyousphaeridium plexus from the Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group, China, also exhibits cyst-like morphology and unique elements of wall reinforcement: internally secreted organic platelets.In addition to these early OWM, many Meso-Neoproterozoic taxa such as Tappania, Trachyhystrychosphaera and Kildinella contain cyst-like characters: 1) reproductive openings, 2) ornamentation, 3) occa-sionally preserved internal bodies and 4) acetolysis-resistant vesicle walls – properties observed among extant encysting protists.Ornamented (process-bearing) microfossils in par-ticular bear strong similarities with zygotes of living unicellular algae. Property of acetolysis-resistant vesicle is a result of sporopollenin-like macromolecules in the wall, synthesized most commonly by the autotrophic eukaryotes. Presence of such recalcitrant organic walls requires significant metabolic investment by the microorganism, which suggests a protective and/or reproductive function. This also allows for easier, and more detailed preservation in the rock record.One of the concerns arising from the studies on the early eukaryotic fossils is the bias towards encysting organisms. The eventual search for the fossil record on other planetary bodies could face the same challenges as the Precambrian palaeobiology: fossilisation and eventual detection might be problematic for any unicellular eukaryotic-grade organisms if they have not evolved reproduction via encystment, or cyst formation as means of coping with adverse environmental conditions.

  • 5.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Raman spectra analysis and comparison of Neoproterozoic organic-walled mesofossils2012In: The 2012 Fermor Meeting of the Geological Society: The Neoproterozoic Era: Evolution, Glaciation, Oxygenation / [ed] Fairchild I., Condon D., Lenton T., Shields-Zhou G., Brasier M.D., London, 2012, Vol. 1, p. 86-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Skeletal material first appears in the rock record in the terminal Ediacaran, leaving most of the Earth’s history only to minute organic fossils. Aside from abundant acritarchs (unicellular organic-walled phytoplankton) present from at least ~2.5 Ga, other Proterozoic organic fossils of complex (eukaryotic) organisms include fungi and macroscopic algae of still debated taxonomy. Often preserved as flattened carbonaceous filaments in several morphologies: (1) rounded, (2) stick-like elongate and (3) branching, these Neoproterozoic fossils, including Chuaria, Morania, Beltanelloides, Vendotaenia, possess limited characters and differ little in gross morphology. As a result, other methods are needed to elucidate their biological affinities and, ultimately, phylogeny.

    Here we present the comparison of the Raman spectra analysis of different macroalgal genera from Yakutia, Siberia, as well as that of a putative polychaete Sabellidites from the East European Platform, dated to the early Cryogenian (840-700 Ma) and lowermost Cambrian respectively.

    Data from the vibrational modes of organic molecules from the wall of unmineralised organisms reveal their chemistry and partially wall ultrastructure, presumably an indication of their relationships. Polyaromatic chain hydrocarbons and n-aliphatic pyrolysates suggest algal affinity for some of the Neoproterozoic organic problematica, yet most of the Raman spectra results are still difficult to fully identify, partially owing to the thermal maturity of the host rocks. However, there are clear differences between various groups, differentiating between parts of a single plexus (cf previous studies of Chuaria-Tawuia suggesting them to be components of a multicellular plant) and elements from other taxa. Additionally, the distinct organic matter spectra of Chuaria and Sabellidites indicate that Raman spectroscopy could be a useful method in identifying different branches of the early eukaryotes.

    As they are usually shallow-water and dependant on sunlight, the record of sturdy photosynthetic macroorganisms in the  Neoproterozoic strengthens the evidence that limits the extent of the harsh environmental conditions during the Cryogenian period, at least during the Kaigas and Sturtian glaciations.

  • 6.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Raman spectroscopy and microstructural comparison of carbonaceous compression and body fossils from the Neoproterozoic of Siberian and Eastern European platformsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Macroscopic, organic-walled fossils preserved as carbonaceous compressions and body fossils are commonly occurring in the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian successions worldwide. Most of these fossils, including studied here Chuaria, Tawuia, and Beltemelliformis, have been accepted as algae, and Sabellidites as an early metazoan. They possess limited characters for biological identification and differ in gross morphology of spherodial vs. tubular millimetre-sized specimens. Consequently, other methods than morphologic observations are needed to elucidate their affinities and, ultimately, phylogeny. Here we present a comparison of the Raman spectrographic signatures and new scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations on different carbonaceous compression and body fossils from the Khajpakh Formation (Siberian Platform), and Nekrasovo Formation (East European Platform), referred to the Tonian-Cryogenian transitional interval (c. 840-700 Ma) and the lowermost Cambrian stage, respectively. Data from the Raman spectroscopy of the walls of non-mineralised organisms reveal their chemical properties, and, in additions to microstructural characters, may be used to resolve the fossils’ phylogenetic affinities. To test the basic recognition of organic matter in studied photosynthetic organisms vs. animals, we have examined algal compression fossils and organically-preserved body-fossil. Differences in the Raman spectroscopic signature between various taxa have been observed. Vibrational absorption bands similar to those characteristic of α-chitin signature have been detected in the organic wall of Sabellidites, consistent with its metazoan identity. Distinct organic matter spectra of the macroalgae Chuaria, Tawuia and Beltanelliformis, and the possible early annelid Sabellidites indicate that Raman spectroscopy could be a useful method in identifying different branches of the early eukaryotes. Additionally, the recognition of the earliest metazoans among un-diagnostic tubular fossils by biochemical signatures and wall ultrastructure, could provide the minimum age of their origins.

  • 7.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Canfield, Donald
    University of Southern Denmark.
    Cyst and operculum formation in Cambrian-Ordovician galeate acritarchs from Estonia: implications for the algal phylogeny and blooms in the early Paleozoic2014In: 4th International Palaeontological Congress Abstract Volume: The history of life: a view from the Southern Hemisphere, 2014, p. 913-Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Unicellular organic-walled microfossils have been recovered from the Cambrian Lükati Formation and the Tremadocian Varangu Formation exposed in northern Estonia. Due to a combination of main morphological and biochemical characters, mainly a) excystment opening, b) processes, c) acetolysis-  resistant vesicle wall, microfossils have been interpreted as reproductive cysts of green algae. Both microfossil assemblages reflect the evolutionary patterns though the early Palaeozoic: from the Cambrian radiation of morphologically innovative taxa to increase in diversity and more disparate Ordovician forms. Combined light transmitted and scanning electron microscopy on the Middle Cambrian to Tremadocian galeate plexus acritarchs CaldariolaPriscogalea and Stelliferidium, revealed exceptionally preserved morphological elements and rare structure among fossil and extant microbiota – an opening with operculum (lid) in reproductive cyst, in addition to lavish vesicle ornamentation and sculpture. Operculum formation model is reconstructed from fossils at different stages of operculum position and attachment. Comparative morphology shows strong similarity of galeates to the reproductive cysts of the extant algae of Dasycladales (Chlorophyta), where the lid covering the cyst opening is determined by an intrinsic lid-forming apparatus during the organism’s reproductive stage. Opercula in Cambro-Ordovician galeate acritarchs and Dasycladales may be considered a homologous character. Unique morphology of the operculum-bearing microbiota would have required a degree of intracellular sophistication for its development, suggesting advanced intracellular machinery present already in the early Palaeozoic phytoplankton. Additionally, a new species of minute, sphaeromorphic and aggregated eukaryotic microfossils is recorded. It possesses a vesicle wall with corrugated sculpture and perforated by nano-scale pores. These minute early Cambrian microfossils have diagnostic characters of prasinophyte algae.

  • 8.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Canfield, Donald
    University of Southern Denmark .
    Reproductive cyst and operculum formation in the Cambrian-Ordovician galeate-plexus microfossils2016In: GFF, ISSN 1103-5897, E-ISSN 2000-0863, Vol. 138, no 2, p. 278-294Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Unicellular organic-walled microfossils from the Cambrian-Ordovician transition in Estonia (ca. 490-480 million years ago) exhibit rare characters reflecting their function as reproductive algal cysts. The studied assemblages record the evolutionary history of phytoplankton in the early Paleozoic Era: novel morphologies appearing through the Cambrian and subsequently diversifying in the Ordovician. Well preserved specimens were extracted following a standard palynological method and studied by light transmitted microscopy. The galeate plexus acritarchs Caldariola, Priscogalea and Stelliferidium have revealed exceptionally preserved morphological elements and a rare structure among both fossil and extant protists – an opening with operculum (lid) in reproductive cysts, in addition to lavish vesicle ornamentation and sculpture. Analogous morphology is observed in the living dasycladalean alga Acetabularia (Chlorophyta), which possesses an intrinsic lid-forming apparatus used during organism’s reproductive stage. Based on the observations on the fossil material and studies on the Acetabularia lid-formation, we propose a model of operculum formation in the galeate plexus microorganisms. Due to strong morphological and ecological similarities between galeate fossils and dasycladalean cysts, and the antiquity of this algal order, galeates may be positioned within green algae, more specifically Dasycladales. Unique morphology of the operculum-bearing microbiota would have required a high degree of intracellular complexity for its development, suggesting that advanced intracellular machinery was present already in the early Paleozoic phytoplankton. Additionally, minute prasinophyte microfossils Reticella corrugata  are reported for the first time in the Upper Cambrian strata. 

  • 9.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Yin, Leiming
    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    Affnity, life cycle, and intracellular complexity of organic-walled microfossils from the Mesoproterozoic of Shanxi, China2015In: Journal of Paleontology, ISSN 0022-3360, E-ISSN 1937-2337, Vol. 89, no 1, p. 28-50Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Light microscope and scanning electron microscope observations on new material of unicellularmicrofossils Dictyosphaera macroreticulata and Shuiyousphaeridium macroreticulatum, from the MesoproterozoicRuyang Group in China, provide insights into the microorganisms’ biological affinity, life cycle and cellularcomplexity. Gigantosphaeridium fibratum n. gen. et sp., is described and is one of the largest Mesoproterozoicmicrofossils recorded. Phenotypic characters of vesicle ornamentation and excystment structures, properties ofresistance and cell wall structure in Dictyosphaera and Shuiyousphaeridium are all diagnostic of microalgalcysts. The wide size ranges of the various morphotypes indicate growth phases compatible with the development ofreproductive cysts. Conspecific biologically, each morphotype represents an asexual (resting cyst) or sexual (zygotic cyst)stage in the life cycle, respectively. We reconstruct this hypothetical life cycle and infer that the organism demonstrates areproductive strategy of alternation of heteromorphic generations. Similarly in Gigantosphaeridium, a metabolicallyexpensive vesicle with processes suggests its protective role as a zygotic cyst. In combination with all these charactersand from the resemblance to extant green algae, we propose the placement of these ancient microorganisms in the stemgroup of Chloroplastida (Viridiplantae). A cell wall composed of primary and secondary layers in Dictyosphaera andShuiyouisphaeridium required a high cellular complexity for their synthesis and the presence of an endomembranesystem and the Golgi apparatus. The plastid was also present, accepting the organism was photosynthetic. The biotareveals a high degree of morphological and cell structural complexity, and provides an insight into ongoing eukaryoticevolution and the development of complex life cycles with sexual reproduction by 1200Ma.

  • 10.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Yin, Leiming
    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    Diversity of organic-walled microfossils from the early Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group, North China Craton - a window into the early eukaryote evolution2017In: Precambrian Research, ISSN 0301-9268, E-ISSN 1872-7433, p. 101-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mesoproterozoic Era was an important time for the initial diversification of eukaryotic groups and the appearance of the first complex morphologies. While eukaryotes evolved around 2.4 Ga, the first microfossils with ornamentation and sculpture occur in the 1.8-1.6 Ga successions worldwide. Shales and siltstones of the Ruyang Group, Shanxi Province, North China Craton, record a high diversity of such organic-walled microfossils. Recently, the depositional ages of this succession has been constrained to 1.75-1.40 Ga via   zircon U-Pb dating. This dating extends back the time of the first appearance of complex eukaryotic characters (e.g. processes, complex wall structure) in the fossil record. We have conducted a biostratigraphic investigation on of the samples throughout the fossiliferous Ruyang Group to provide an estimate of the early eukaryotic diversity in the Mesoproterozoic. Light- and scanning electron microscope studies have documented 26 species, including several that are reported for the first time, and some that were previously known only from younger, Neoproterozoic strata. Fossil diversity is high in the upper Baicaoping Formation, declines in the middle and reaches its peak in the upper Beidajian Formation. Novel morphologies among the unicellular Ruyang biota include a variety of processes, from tube-like extensions to hirsute spines, vesicles with velutinous outer membranes, as well as numerous specimens with internal bodies of varying sizes. We have also recorded the globally distributed Mesoproterozoic taxa Dictyosphaera, Shuiyousphaeridium, and Tappania. Key characters displayed by the Ruyang biota are consistent with reproductive structures (especially cysts among modern protists. These microfossils provide an additional evidence for the emergence of the crown group Eukarya by 1.7-1.4 Ga.

  • 11.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Yin, Leiming
    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    Morphology of the Proterozoic eukaryotic microfossils as a reflection of their intracellular complexity2014In: 4th International Palaeontological Congress Abstract Volume: The history of life: a view fom the southern hemisphere / [ed] Esperanza CERDEÑO, 2014, p. 256-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mesoproterozoic is a time of increasing diversity of microscopic life and appearance of intricate new cell morphologies. First eukaryotes may have evolved around 2.4 Ga, but the first microbiota with intricate sculpture and ornamentation are found in the younger, 1.8.-1.6 Ga successions worldwide. Such microfossils were uncovered from the Ruyang Formation in Shanxi, China and Roper Group, Northern Territories, Australia, dating back to 1.6-1.0 Ga ago. Some of these unicellular organic-walled fossils share characters with Ediacaran and Phanerozoic fossils, as well as extant green microalgae. Key characters among some Precambrian acritarchs are acetolysis-resistant vesicle with multi-layered walls; vesicle ornamentation by diverse processes that are produced during cyst formation; and excystment openings for the release of gametes or daughter-cells. Combination of these morphological elements, also present in extant phytoplankton, reflects the fossils’ protective function as reproductive cysts, indicating that complex life cycles and reproduction were well under way in Mesoproterozoic. Several case studies of microfossil morphology likely induced by intrinsic eukaryotic mechanisms are presented.

    Distinctive vesicle wall composed of the primary layer reinforced by polygonal platelets in Mesoproterozoic taxa Dictyosphaera and Shuiyouisphaeridium, as well as the sophisticated vesicle-wall patterning on the fossil sphaeromorphs Valeria and younger Cerebrosphaera would have required a certain degree of complexity for their formation, as observed in the present day analogues among eukaryotic protists. This suggests the activity of the key eukaryotic organelles and cellular mechanisms and signalling for the cyst formation. Considering that Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmatic reticulum are the organelles regulating eukaryotic secretory pathway and synthesis of biopolymers used in cell-wall construction, they would have been required for the complex morphology observed in these Precambrian taxa. Therefore, the presence of GA and ER in the eukaryotic cell is inferred at the minimum age of 1.6-1.4 Ga. Similarly, morphology of acritarchs of the Cambrian galeate plexus, namely openings with opercula, is likely induced by the activity of the LFA organelle (lid-forming apparatus) as in the extant dasycladalean alga Acetabularia.

    Additionally, several new morphotypes from the Ruyang Formation are presented. These unicellular fossils bear a velutinous outer membrane surrounding an internal sphere, which suggests a protective function of a reproductive or a resting cyst.

    Cyst-like morphology varies in disparity, but its key features are consistent through Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic and early Palaeozoic.

  • 12.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Ward, L.
    Juarez Rivera, M.
    Kerrigan, Z.
    Petryshyn, V.A.
    Corsetti, F.A.
    Tripati, A.
    Lateral growth of Late Pleistocene stromatolites from Walker Lake (Nevada) and proxy constraints on environmental change2014In: 2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, 2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Walker Lake, a terminal sodium bicarbonate lake in Western Nevada (Great Basin, USA) contains numerous carbonate structures, including stromatolites. The lake is a remnant of the larger Pleistocene Lake Lahontan system that has been isolated for the last ~12 ka. Stromatolites of unique macroscale morphology were collected at the ancient Lahontan shoreline during the 2014 International Geobiology Course.

    Initial observations of a stromatolite bed revealed a bowl-shaped carbonate framework composed of stacked, weakly laminated, vertical and horizontal petal-like structures with copious pore space. One laterally-oriented petal was taken off of the main structure and studied. Petrographical observations exhibit two types of alternating microfabrics and three transitions in microfabric. Both sparry crystal fans of calcite, and convex layers of fine micrite with occasional trapped crystals and fossils, were observed.

    Calibrated 14C ages (IntCal13) for the proximal and the distal end of the stromatolite are 35,540 YBP and 33,580 YBP, respectively. Clumped isotope (D47)-based estimates of temperature steadily increase throughout most of this interval, from the beginning of accretion, to the middle of the structure. By the distal end, values are at their peak, and at the tip temperatures decrease again. D47-temperatures correspond to microfabric, with textural changes associated with evidence for climatic fluctuations.

    We suggest the stromatolite formation may have been initiated during warmer intervals, induced by the chemical precipitation of calcite fans which served as a substrate for a biofilm growth. Microbial activity trapped the fine sediment and formed micrite. Colder conditions propagated fan precipitation. Microfabric alternation throughout the stromatolite records environmental change in the span of ca. 2000 years of Lake Lahontan history, likely in response to lake level fluctuations.

  • 13.
    Agić, Heda
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Ward, Lewis
    California Institute of Technology.
    Juarez Rivera, Marisol
    University of California-Davis.
    Kerrigan, Zak
    University of Rhode Island.
    Petryshyn, Victoria A.
    University of California, Los Angeles.
    Corsetti, Frank A.
    University of Southern California.
    Tripati, Aradhna
    University of California, Los Angeles.
    Lateral growth of Late Pleistocene stromatolites from Walker Lake (Nevada) and proxy constrains on environmental change2014In: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America , 2014, p. 300-4-Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Walker Lake, a terminal sodium bicarbonate lake in Western Nevada (Great Basin, USA) contains numerous carbonate structures, including stromatolites. The lake is a remnant of the larger Pleistocene Lake Lahontan system that has been isolated for the last ~12 ka. Stromatolites of unique macroscale morphology were collected at the ancient Lahontan shoreline during the 2014 International Geobiology Course.

    Initial observations of a stromatolite bed revealed a bowl-shaped carbonate framework composed of stacked, weakly laminated, vertical and horizontal petal-like structures with copious pore space. One laterally-oriented petal was taken off of the main structure and studied. Petrographical observations exhibit two types of alternating microfabrics and three transitions in microfabric. Both sparry crystal fans of calcite, and convex layers of fine micrite with occasional trapped crystals and fossils, were observed.

    Calibrated 14C ages (IntCal13) for the proximal and the distal end of the stromatolite are 35,540 YBP and 33,580 YBP, respectively. Clumped isotope (D47)-based estimates of temperature steadily increase throughout most of this interval, from the beginning of accretion, to the middle of the structure. By the distal end, values are at their peak, and at the tip temperatures decrease again. D47-temperatures correspond to microfabric, with textural changes associated with evidence for climatic fluctuations.

    We suggest the stromatolite formation may have been initiated during warmer intervals, induced by the chemical precipitation of calcite fans which served as a substrate for a biofilm growth. Microbial activity trapped the fine sediment and formed micrite. Colder conditions propagated fan precipitation. Microfabric alternation throughout the stromatolite records environmental change in the span of ca. 2000 years of Lake Lahontan history, likely in response to lake level fluctuations.

  • 14.
    Butler, Aodhan
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Holmer, Lars
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Bauert, Heikki
    NGO Geoguide Baltoscandia, Estonia.
    Streng, Michael
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Recent palaeobiological and stratigraphical advances from the Cambrian of Estonia2011In: The 2nd Wiman Meeting: Carl Wiman's Legacy: 100 years of Swedish Palaeontology, Uppsala, 2011, p. 5-5Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The unique Cambrian sediments of Estonia represent an important and understudied component of the Baltic system. Here we present an overview of recent field studies conducted by Uppsala University in association with colleagues from the Baltic Geotourism project, that have revealed a number of exciting discoveries in terms of Cambrian palaeontology and stratigraphy of Estonia. These include new purported stem lophotrochozoans with bizarre shell structure. Current efforts to describe and systematically appraise this material are outlined. The presence of unusual shell structure and whether this is the result of taphonomic alteration or indeed represents a novel shell structure type is examined. We propose herein affinities to the inarticulate stem-brachiopod Mickwitzia based upon the presence of an umbo and the overall gross morphology.  Possible new records of Estoniadiscus discinoides (Schmidt 1888), an extremely rare enigmatic organism with postulated affinities to eldonioids or other stem-group lophophorates are also described from the type section at Kakumägi, within the Kakumägi member Member of the lower Cambrian Tiskre formationFormation. The discovery of Dictyonema Rhabdinopora sp. graptolites, which have until now demarcated the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary, in-situ approximately 3 m below the previous reported occurrence from the Pakri cape section of the Kallavere formation Formation is also significant. Our findings highlight the need for both a stratigraphical and palaeobiological reapprasal of these important sequences, and their correlative implications for the Swedish and broader Baltoscandian regions.

  • 15.
    Högström, Anette
    et al.
    Tromsø Universitetsmuseum.
    Ebbestad, Jan Ove R.
    Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Museum of Evolution.
    Jensen, Sören
    Área de Paleontología, Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida de Elvas s/n, Badajoz, Spain.
    Palacios, Teodor
    Área de Paleontología, Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida de Elvas s/n, Badajoz, Spain.
    Meinhold, Guido
    Geowissenschaftliches Zentrum der Univerität Göttingen, Germany.
    Taylor, Wendy L.
    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa.
    Novis, Linn K.
    Tromsø Universitetsmuseum.
    Agic, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Moczydlowska, Malgorzata
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    New occurrences and extension of the stratigraphical range of discoidal Ediacara‑type fossils on the Digermul Peninsula, northern Norway2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In Scandinavia the evolutionary events across the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition can only be studied in continuous section on the Digermul Peninsula, northern Norway, in the siliciclastic Stáhpogiedde Formation. This roughly 500 m-thick unit comprises, in ascending order, the Lillevannet, Innerelva and Manndraperelva members. Trace fossils, including Treptichnus pedum, and organic-walled microfossils, including Granomarginata prima, position the base of the Cambrian in the upper part of the Manndraperelva Member. Some 20 years ago discoidal Ediacara-type fossils were found in the middle part of Innerelva Member. Recent field seasons have provided abundant new material of Aspidella-type fossils and extended their stratigraphical range to within about 15 m above the Lillevannet Member. The exclusive presence of discoidal forms may reflect a taphonomic bias and/or be evidence of a greater age than that of the more diverse Ediacaran assemblages. That the latter may be the case is indicated by the stratigraphic proximity of the lowest occurrences of Aspidella to the Mortensnes diamictite, recently tentatively considered a Gaskiers glaciation equivalent (c.580 Ma). This raises the question of hitherto unrecognised breaks in sedimentation in the Stáhpogiedde Formation. In order to explore this question we have sampled the succession for organic-walled microfossils, detrital mineral geochronology and sediment geochemistry.

  • 16.
    Jensen, Soren
    et al.
    Univ Extremadura, Fac Ciencias, Area Paleontol, Ave Fis, Badajoz 06006, Spain.
    Hogstrom, Anette E. S.
    UiT Arctic Univ Norway, Tromso Univ Museum, Nat Sci, N-9037 Tromso, Norway.
    Almond, John
    Nat Viva Cc, POB 12410,Mill St, ZA-8010 Cape Town, South Africa.
    Taylor, Wendy L.
    Univ Cape Town, Dept Geol Sci, Private Bag X3, ZA-7700 Rondebosch, South Africa.
    Meinhold, Guido
    Univ Goettingen, Geosci Ctr Goettingen, Dept Sedimentol & Environm Geol, Goldschmidtstr 3, D-37077 Gottingen, Germany;Keele Univ, Sch Geog Geol & Environm, Keele ST5 5BG, Staffs, England.
    Hoyberget, Magne
    Rennesveien 14, N-4513 Mandal, Norway.
    Ebbestad, Jan Ove R.
    Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Museum of Evolution.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology. Univ Calif Santa Barbara, Dept Earth Sci, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 USA.
    Palacios, Teodoro
    Univ Extremadura, Fac Ciencias, Area Paleontol, Ave Fis, Badajoz 06006, Spain.
    Scratch circles from the Ediacaran and Cambrian of Arctic Norway and southern Africa, with a review of scratch circle occurrences2018In: Bulletin of Geosciences, ISSN 1214-1119, E-ISSN 1802-8225, Vol. 93, no 3, p. 287-304Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scratch circles - bedding plane parallel sedimentary structures formed by the passive rotation of a tethered organism into the surrounding sediment - are relatively rare in the geological record. Here new occurrences of scratch circles are described from the Ediacaran-Cambrian Stahpogieddi Formation, Digermulen Peninsula, Arctic Norway, and from the Ediacaran Nudaus and Urusis formations, Nama Group, of southern Africa. A literature survey confirms a previously noted concentration of scratch circles reported from shallow marine upper Ediacaran-lower Cambrian and paralic Carboniferous rocks. Scratch circle identification and nomenclature are discussed. The stratigraphical range of the trace fossils Treptichnus pedum and Gyrolithes isp. in the Stahpogieddi Formation are extended downward. Combined with earlier reports of Harlaniella podolica this adds new precision to the placement of the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary on the Digermulen Peninsula.

  • 17.
    Moczydlowska, Malgorzata
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Pease, Victoria
    Willman, Sebastian
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Wickström, Linda
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    A Tonian age for the Visingsö Group in Sweden constrained by detrital zircon dating and biochronology: implications for evolutionary events2018In: Geological Magazine, ISSN 0016-7568, E-ISSN 1469-5081, Vol. 155, no 5, p. 1175-1189Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 18.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Timing of the origin of plastid and evolutionary history of chlorophyta by microfossil record2014In: Abstract Volume: 4th International Palaeontological Congress : The history of life: a view from the southern hemisphere / [ed] Esperanza Cerdeño, 2014, p. 258-258Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The origin of plastid in eukaryotes and the minimum age of this event based on microfossil recordare indirectly inferred by recognizing green algae among organically preserved, unicellularmicrofossils other than cyanobacteria. Single primary symbiosis of cyanobacterium establishedalgae and led to divergence of Archaeplastida, including Chlorophyta. The reproductive cystsof extant microalgae share characters derived from their early green algal ancestors. The geneticinheritance and eventually its phenotypic expression are universally shared. Similarly, the enzymesbinding specific compounds in photosynthesis evolved from cyanobacteria and are present in allphotosynthesising organisms since the Archean. Molecular clock analyses suggest that primaryplastid was established by c. 1.5 Ga, whereas by fossil record c. 1.8 Ga (Leiosphaeridia) or 2.1 Ga(Grypania). The fossil record of stem group eukaryotes without assignment to living groups isat 2.1 Ga by carbonaceous compressions (Grypania), however, the recognition as an alga is notexcluded, and it would provide the minimum age of the origin of plastid. Spheroidal microfossils(Leiosphaeridia) with multilayered cell-wall and trilaminar sheath structure that is the algal character ofChlorophyceae are documented throughout the Proterozoic into Cambrian. Because of the presenceof this character and interpreted as algal cysts, some leiosphaerids show record of chlorophyceanspersistently since 1.8 Ga. Microfossils with phycoma-like morphology suggesting prasinophyceanaffinity are known at minimum age of 1.4–1.2 Ga (Pterospermopsimorpha, Pterospermella, Simia,Tasmanites). Microfossils of the Proterozoic to Cambrian ages assessed by body plan, ornamentation,excystment structure, cell wall resistance and ultrastructure, and internal bodies defined by theirown walls, are recognized as algal zygotic cysts and phycomata by comparison with extant greenalgae. Internal bodies are a part of reproductive cysts, resembling those known in Chlorophyta.They are inferred to be endocysts containing zygote, if single, or offspring cells, if multiple, insexual and asexual generations of ancient taxa of the classes Chlorophyceae and Prasinophyceae.Based on the earliest occurrence of microfossils with morphologic characteristic of a zygoticcyst, multilayered cell-wall structure indicative of the primary and secondary wall, and with aninternal body in the Dictyosphaera-Shuiyousphaeridium plexus, the sexual reproduction is evident atc. 1.4-1.2 Ga. It became common in the Neoproterozoic (Cymatiosphaeroides, Trachyhystrichosphaera,Vandalosphaeridium, Tanarium, Asterocapsoides, Ancorosphaeridium, Densisphaera), and the Cambrian(Skiagia, Polygonium). The divergence of Chlorophyta from the lineage of Chloroplastida occurredat the minimum age of 1.8 Ga, and the origin of primary plastid prior to this time.

  • 19.
    Moczydłowska, Małgorzata
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Budd, Graham
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Ecdysozoan-like sclerites among Ediacaran microfossils2015In: Geological Magazine, ISSN 0016-7568, E-ISSN 1469-5081, Vol. 152, no 6, p. 1145-1148Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We report the occurrence of organically preserved microfossils from the subsurface Ediacaran strata overlying the East European Platform in Poland, in the form of sclerites and cuticle fragments of larger organisms. They are morphologically similar to those known from Cambrian strata and associated with various metazoan fossils of recognized phyla. The Ediacaran age of the microfossils is evident from the stratigraphic position below the base of the Cambrian System and above the isotopically dated tuff layers at c. 551±4Ma. Within this strata interval, other characteristic Ediacaran microorganisms co-occur such as cyanobacteria, vendotaenids, microalgae, Ceratophyton,Valkyria and macroscopic annelidan Sabellidites. The recent contributions of organic sclerites in revealing the scope of the Cambrian explosion are therefore also potentially extendable back to the Ediacaran Period when animals first appear in the fossil record.

  • 20.
    Petryshyn, Victoria
    et al.
    Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
    Juarez Rivera, Marisol
    School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.
    Agić, Heda
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
    Frantz, Carie
    Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
    Corsetti, Frank
    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
    Tripati, Aradhna
    Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
    Stromatolites in Walker Lake (Nevada, Great Basin, USA) record climate and lake level changes ~ 35,000 years ago2016In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, ISSN 0031-0182, E-ISSN 1872-616X, Vol. 451, p. 140-151Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Walker Lake is a closed-basin remnant of the large Pleistocene glacial Lake Lahontan system that has experienced multiple high amplitude (100–200 m) changes in water level over the past ~ 40,000 years in response to changes in climate. A laminated carbonate stromatolite composed of varying proportions of calcite fans and micrite was collected from a paleoshoreline located at approximately 58 m above present lake level. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the stromatolite spans approximately 2000 years of growth, from 35,227 to 33,727 calibrated years before present (YBP), a time period during which paleolake-level is not well-constrained. Distinct laminae were drilled along the growth axis, and the resulting powders were collected for clumped isotope analyses to generate formation temperatures (lake water temperatures) during stromatolite formation from which δ18Owater was calculated.

    Results indicate that the stromatolite experienced an initial increase in temperature and water δ18O values followed by a decrease in both during the course of accretion. The resulting temperature and isotopic data were input into a Rayleigh distillation model for lakewater evaporation in order to estimate the magnitude of lake level and volume fluctuations over the course of accretion. Modeling results reveal a lake level decrease of between 8.1 and 15.6 m, followed by an increase of between 4.3 and 8.8 m during the course of stromatolite growth.

    The results of this study indicate that Walker Lake experienced significant lake volume change over the course of 2000 years, perhaps as a response to precipitation changes driven by fluctuations in the polar jet stream and accompanying changes in regional climate, and/or evaporation-induced changes in lake level. These results add to a growing body of research indicating that stromatolites and other lacustrine tufas represent a detailed and extensive terrestrial archive that can potentially be used to reconstruct the timing and magnitude of climate change.

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