Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

The Virtual Conference is located at

Abstract Detail


Harper, Carla [1], Walker, Christopher [2], Krings, Michael [3].

Assessing the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the Early Devonian Rhynie chert.

The early evolution and diversification of plants on land were profoundly influenced by mutually beneficial symbioses between the plants and certain fungi, some of them strikingly similar morphologically to present-day arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) of the phylum Glomeromycota. The scientifically most relevant pieces of fossil evidence of this intricate relationship are the arbuscular mycorrhizas formed by a glomeromycotan fungus with the early land plant sporophyte Agalophyton majus and its gametophyte Lyonophyton rhyniensis from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert. Moreover, different types of propagules (chlamydospores, acaulospores, and scutellosporoid spores) also present in the Rhynie chert indicate that the Glomeromycota had evolved into a diverse lineage by Early Devonian times, and suggest that these fungi constituted an important complexity, characteristic of early terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we review the diversity of Glomeromycota in the Rhynie paleoecosystem and demonstrate that many glomeromycotan propagules preserved in the chert are morphologically indistinguishable from, or similar to, propagules produced by extant Glomeromycota such as members of Glomus, Rhizophagus, Sclerocystis, Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Ambispora, and Archaeospora. The Rhynie chert fossils provide excellent insights into the morphology of early AMF that sometimes even allow the examination of structural features in greater detail than would be possible with modern materials prepared in the traditional way.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

Related Links:
Fossil Ambisporaceae
Fossil Archaeosporaceae

1 - Trinity College Dublin, Botany Department, Dublin, Ireland
2 - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 21A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, UK
3 - Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Munich, Germany

fossil fungi
arbuscular mycorrhiza
Rhynie chert

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: PL4, Paleobotany: Honoring Fran Hueber - Session II
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 12:45 PM(EDT)
Number: PL4002
Abstract ID:123
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2021, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved