Journal Article

Phytolith Assemblages and Systematic Associations in Grassland Species of the South-Eastern Pampean Plains, Argentina

MARIANA FERNÁNDEZ HONAINE, ALEJANDRO F. ZUCOL and MARGARITA L. OSTERRIETH

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 98, issue 6, pages 1155-1165
ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcl207
Phytolith Assemblages and Systematic Associations in Grassland Species of the South-Eastern Pampean Plains, Argentina

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

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Background and Aims Phytolith descriptions of South American plant species are scarce. This knowledge is crucial for the interpretation of the fossil phytolith record of a region. In this study phytolith assemblages and systematic relationships of the main grasses and Asteraceae species of Paspalum quadrifarium grassland are described.

Methods Phytoliths from leaves of Poaceae and Asteraceae species were extracted by using a calcination technique. For each species, 350–400 phytoliths were counted and the relative frequency of each morphotype was calculated. Phytolith assemblages were subject to principal components analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (Morisita index).

Key Results PCA and cluster analysis showed family (Poaceae vs. Asteraceae) and subfamily (within Poaceae) differentiation. Exceptions to general trends described for other species were detected. Floristic variants of Paspalum quadrifarium grassland can be separated by their phytolith assemblages.

Conclusions The study provides a reference collection of phytolith assemblages of the main Poaceae and Asteraceae species of Paspalum quadrifarium grassland and describes some phytolith morphotypes/systematic relationships useful for the analysis of fossil phytolith assemblages of the Pampean region.

Keywords: Paspalum quadrifarium; Asteraceae; Poaceae; phytolith assemblages; Argentina; Southern Pampa

Journal Article.  4709 words.  Illustrated.

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

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