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Abstract Detail

Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

Ecker, Alice [1].

Modeling resistant carbon production of early land plants with the modern liverwort Blasia pusilla.

Previous work has modeled the contribution of mosses to the draw-down of atmospheric carbon dioxide before the rise of vascular plants by quantifying the resistant carbon production of modern mosses. This study expands upon the earlier work by providing an estimate of resistant carbon production by ancient liverworts, which likely predated the earliest mosses by perhaps tens or even hundreds of millions of years. Ancient liverworts were modeled by Blasia pusilla, an early divergent liverwort. Resistant carbon production was evaluated with quantitative acetolysis. While well-hydrated B. pusilla contains very little resistant carbon, on average 12% of the dry biomass of slowly desiccated plants was found to be resistant. Because desiccation tolerance would have been important to early land plants, modern water-stressed liverworts provide a reasonable model for the physiological state of ancient liverworts. It has been suggested that the biomass remaining after acetolysis might not represent resistant carbon present in the living organism, but is instead an artifact of the treatment resulting from polymerization of carotenoids. To test this hypothesis, we performed a pigment extraction and followed by acetolysis on replicate samples of desiccated B. pusilla. The results were similar to those of the unextracted samples, demonstrating the validity of acetolysis for determining resistant carbon mass. These results suggest that early liverwort-like land plants likely contributed to carbon dioxide drawdown.

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1 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Botany, 430 Lincoln Dr., Madison, WI, 53706, USA

Blasia pusilla
resistant carbon
early land plants.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: P47001
Abstract ID:1160

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