Journal Article

Phytolith Assemblages in Grasses Native to Central Argentina

LUCRECIA GALLEGO and ROBERTO A. DISTEL

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 94, issue 6, pages 865-874
Published in print December 2004 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mch214
Phytolith Assemblages in Grasses Native to Central Argentina

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims Phytolith reference collections are a prerequisite for accurate interpretation of soil phytolith assemblages aimed at reconstructing past vegetation. In this study a phytolith reference collection has been developed for several grasses native to central Argentina: Poa ligularis, Piptochaetium napostaense, Stipa clarazii, Stipa tenuis, Stipa tenuissima, Stipa eriostachya, Stipa ambigua, Stipa brachychaeta, Pappophorum subbulbosum, Digitaria californica, Bothriochloa edwardsiana and Aristida subulata.

Methods For each species, phytoliths present in the leaf blades were classified into 47 morphotypes, and their relative frequency determined by observing 300–400 phytoliths per sample (n = 5). Data were analyzed by complete linkage cluster analysis, using the Morisita Index as measure of association.

Key Results The results showed differentiation among phytolith assemblages at species level or at plant functional type level. Cluster analysis separated C3 from C4 species and palatable from non-palatable species.

Conclusions This study highlights the possibility of reconstructing past vegetation in central Argentina grasslands through the analysis of soil phytolith assemblages.

Keywords: Poaceae; native grasses; Argentina; phytolith assemblages; grass phytoliths

Journal Article.  4120 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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