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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The fossil Dasycladaceae from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of Israel were examined microscopically in peels and thin sections from 21 cores and outcrops. The descriptions of all species are based on comparisons of all available random sections. Since the Mesozoic, most Dasycladaceae have a central stem with numerous whorls of lateral branches. The stem as well as the lateral branches are enveloped by a calcareous sheath. The Mesozoic species differ mainly in the structure of their branches. In most genera these are of one kind. Only three genera have two kinds of branches: Chinianella, Cylindroporella and Heteroporella. Lateral branches may have different shapes: ovoid, globose, cylindrical, club-shaped or curved. These may be branched or unbranched. Their tips are pointed, widened or of uniform width. In a population of randomly oriented sections, different sections may be recognized by the orientation of the stem. In order to obtain a complete, three-dimensional reconstruction of any species three sections are required: (1) cross-section (c.s.), (2) median longtitudinal section (l.s.) and (3) tangential longitudinal section (t.s.) (see Text Figs. 1–12). Each species is illustrated by a plate which includes these three oriented sections, as well as selected illustrations, so as to give an idea of its variability. Random sections from the main population of each species are supplemented by illustrations from other populations. The study of Actinoporella israelensis was based on random sections as well as on repeated peeling and polishing of selected longitudinal sections (Pls. 3,4). In all, 16 Mesozoic species pertaining to 13 genera are described. Of these, Actinoporella podolica has previously been described as Verticilloporella dalmatica (Raviv and Lorch, 1970) on the basis of a Cretaceous species. A new Jurassic species of the same genus, A. israelensis, is first described in the present paper. Two species of Cylindroporella have been transferred to Chinianella as new combinations because in them alternate whorls have branches of different types. Acroporella radoicici has been transferred to Oligoporella because it was found to have trichophorous branches.The Dasycladaceae reached the peak of their diversity in the Jurassic (about 25 genera) and the Cretaceous (about 25 other genera). The 50 Mesozoic genera all are radially symmetrical, like the 10 recent ones. The localization of the reproductive organs can be reliably recognized only by the presence of spores or cysts. Unfortunately, most fossil Dasycladaceae fail to show cysts, and therefore most discussions of reproductive organs in fossil Dasycladaceae are highly speculative. Of the 16 species described, only Triploporella marsicana shows distinct cysts in a few sections (Pl. 16, Fig. k). Nine Jurassic species were found in 16 cores and one outcrop. Their distribution largely fits the division of the Jurassic into Lias, Dogger, and Malm. Six Lower Cretaceous species were found in five outcrops (see Table XXIV). Only one species, Acicularia elongate Carozzi, ranged from the Upper Jurassic (Malm) to the Lower Cretaceous.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Beit Berl College ; 2: The Hebrew University


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