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The cuticle micromorphology of extant and fossil plants as indicator of environmental conditions : A pioneer study on the influence of volcanic gases on the cuticle structure in extant plants

Abstract : Macroscopical and microscopical observations on extant and fossil plants have been made. Observations on extant plants led to study the effects of volcanic gases on the cuticle ultrastructure of Pinus halepensis and Erica arborea sampled in the volcanic area of Phlegrean Italy. TEM observations on P. halepensis cuticles fumigated or not by volcanic gases revealed: 1) insignificant thickness variations of the cell wall plus cuticle among current- and first-year-old needles of both fumigated and not fumigated trees; 2) a calcium oxalate accumulation in fumigated leaves; 3) moreover, in respect to the cell surface, fibrils are disposed parallel to the surface of the cuticle. In specimens of E. arborea fumigated or not by volcanic gases, 1) the total thickness of cuticles varies significantly; 2) in plants experiencing chronic fumigation the A2 layer increases its thickness. As for fossil plants, the cuticles of Cretaceous Fossil-Lagertätten of Cusano Mutri and Pietraroja have been studied. In the former: 1) numerous taxa belonging to conifers have been identified; 2) the new species Frenelopsis cusanensis has been described; 3) Montsechia vidalii has been found outside of Spain. Taxonomical studies allowed the description of typical Euro-Sinian fossil plants. Sedimentological and taxonomical studies suggest semi-arid or arid conditions in a subtropical or tropical climate. It is worth noting as for Cusano Mutri locality, evidence of wildfire (fusain) suggests a periodic combination of arid periods, high temperatures and lightning strikes.
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Antonello Bartiromo. The cuticle micromorphology of extant and fossil plants as indicator of environmental conditions : A pioneer study on the influence of volcanic gases on the cuticle structure in extant plants. Paleontology. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012LYO10017⟩. ⟨tel-00865651⟩

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