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Title: Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest

Abstract

Pennsylvanian coals represent remains of the earliest peat-forming rain forests, but there is no current consensus on forest ecology. Localized studies of fossil forests suggest intermixture of taxa (heterogeneity), while, in contrast, coal ball and palynological analyses imply the existence of pronounced ecological gradients. Here, we report the discovery of a spectacular fossil forest preserved over 1000 ha on top of the Pennsylvanian (Desmoinesian) Herrin (No. 6) Coal of Illinois, United States. The forest was abruptly drowned when fault movement dropped a segment of coastal mire below sea level. In the largest study of its kind to date, forest composition is statistically analyzed within a well-constrained paleogeographic context. Findings resolve apparent conflicts in models of Pennsylvanian mire ecology by confirming the existence of forest heterogeneity at the local scale, while additionally demonstrating the emergence of ecological gradients at landscape scale.

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20970025
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geology; Journal Volume: 35; Journal Issue: 3
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; ILLINOIS; USA; COAL; FORESTS; FOSSILS; ECOLOGY

Citation Formats

DiMichele, W.A., Falcon-Lang, H.J., Nelson, W.J., Brick, S.D., and Ames, P.R. Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1130/G23472A.1.
DiMichele, W.A., Falcon-Lang, H.J., Nelson, W.J., Brick, S.D., & Ames, P.R. Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest. United States. doi:10.1130/G23472A.1.
DiMichele, W.A., Falcon-Lang, H.J., Nelson, W.J., Brick, S.D., and Ames, P.R. Tue . "Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest". United States. doi:10.1130/G23472A.1.
@article{osti_20970025,
title = {Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest},
author = {DiMichele, W.A. and Falcon-Lang, H.J. and Nelson, W.J. and Brick, S.D. and Ames, P.R.},
abstractNote = {Pennsylvanian coals represent remains of the earliest peat-forming rain forests, but there is no current consensus on forest ecology. Localized studies of fossil forests suggest intermixture of taxa (heterogeneity), while, in contrast, coal ball and palynological analyses imply the existence of pronounced ecological gradients. Here, we report the discovery of a spectacular fossil forest preserved over 1000 ha on top of the Pennsylvanian (Desmoinesian) Herrin (No. 6) Coal of Illinois, United States. The forest was abruptly drowned when fault movement dropped a segment of coastal mire below sea level. In the largest study of its kind to date, forest composition is statistically analyzed within a well-constrained paleogeographic context. Findings resolve apparent conflicts in models of Pennsylvanian mire ecology by confirming the existence of forest heterogeneity at the local scale, while additionally demonstrating the emergence of ecological gradients at landscape scale.},
doi = {10.1130/G23472A.1},
journal = {Geology},
number = 3,
volume = 35,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}