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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Strullu-Derrien, Christine [1], Kenrick, Paul [1], Trewin, Nigel [2], Goral, Tomasz [3], Le Hérissé, Alain [4].

Exploring ecological diversity of 407 million-year-old microorganisms from the Rhynie and Windyfield cherts (Scotland) using confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was developed for use in biology to image in three dimensions the structural components of tissues and cells. The method has not yet been widely employed in Palaeobotany, but it has many potential applications, especially in the imaging of petrified materials. Here we apply CLSM to fossilised microorganisms from the 407 million-year-old Rhynie Chert, which is a world-renowned fossil site from Scotland that preserves in exquisite detail the biota of early terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. We reinvestigated thin sections of Rhynie Chert from the collection of the Natural History Museum, London (UK), and thin sections from the more recently discovered neighbouring Windyfield Chert in the collections of the University of Aberdeen and the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow (Scotland). In most cases the sections had been mounted in Canada Balsam, and they were observed through coverslip glass. We used a Nikon A1-Si laser-scanning confocal microscope with 4 different laser lines to excite fluorescence signal from the specimens, which was collected with 4 PMT (photomultiplier) detectors. The specimens were visualised in three-dimensions by acquiring a number of z-stacks from different focal planes. The fluorescence signal from each z-stack was then projected onto a maximum intensity projection image and a 3D model was generated using Nikon NIS-Elements software. We observed fluorescence on selected materials at different wavelenghts. The information obtained was used to create detailed three-dimensional reconstructions of the microorganisms (e.g. algae, oomycetes, fungi). Results enabled us to clarify the affinities of the microorganisms and to interpret their paleoenvironment.

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1 - The Natural History Museum, Department of Earth Sciences, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK
2 - The University of Aberdeen, St Marys, King’s college, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX, UK
3 - The Natural History Museum, Imaging and Analysis Centre, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK
4 - Université de Brest, UMR 6538 Domaines Océaniques, CNRS, IUEM, 6 Avenue Le Gorgeu, CS 93837, 29238 Brest cedex 3, France

Confocal laser scanning microscopy

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 12
Location: Melrose/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM
Number: 12001
Abstract ID:589
Candidate for Awards:Isabel Cookson Award,Maynard F. Moseley Award

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