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An expanded diversity of oomycetes in Carboniferous forests: Reinterpretation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894) from the Esnost chert, Massif Central, France

Abstract : 335-330 million-year-old cherts from the Massif Central, France, contain exceptionally wellpreserved remains of an early forest ecosystem, including plants, fungi and other microorganisms. Here we reinvestigate the original material prepared by Renault and Roche from collections of the Musé um National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, and present a re-evaluation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894), originally described as a zoosporic fungus. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was used to study the microfossils, enabling us in software to digitally reconstruct them in three-dimensional detail. We reinterpret O. lepidodendri as a pseudofungus and favour placement within the oomycetes, a diverse clade of saprotrophs and both animal and plant parasites. Phylogenetically, O. lepidodendri appears to belong to a group of oomycetes distinct from those previously described from Paleozoic rocks and most likely related to the Peronosporales s.l. This study adds to our knowledge of Paleozoic eukaryotic diversity and reinforces the view that oomycetes were early and diverse constituents of terrestrial biotas, playing similar ecological roles to those they perform in modern ecosystems.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 2:47:28 PM
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Christine Strullu-Derrien, Marc Gèze, Alan Spencer, Dario de Franceschi, Paul Kenrick, et al.. An expanded diversity of oomycetes in Carboniferous forests: Reinterpretation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894) from the Esnost chert, Massif Central, France. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2021, 16 (3), pp.e0247849. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0247849⟩. ⟨hal-03157861⟩

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