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Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 310–319 | Cite as

Evolution of stomatal and trichome density of the Quercus delavayi complex since the late Miocene

  • Qian Hu
  • Yaowu XingEmail author
  • Jinjin Hu
  • Yongjiang Huang
  • Hongjie Ma
  • Zhekun ZhouEmail author
Article Evolution

Abstract

A fossil oak species, Quercus tenuipilosa Q. Hu et Z.K. Zhou, is reported from the upper Pliocene Ciying Formation in Kunming, Yunnan Province, southwestern China. The establishment of this species is based on detailed morphologic and cuticular investigations. The fossil leaves are elliptic, with serrate margins on the apical half. The primary venation is pinnate, and the major secondary venation is craspedodromous. The tertiary veins are opposite or alternate-opposite percurrent with two branches. The stomata are anomocytic, occurring only on the abaxial epidermis. The trichome bases are unicellular or multicellular. The new fossil species shows the closest affinity with the extant Q. delavayi and the late Miocene Q. praedelavayi Y.W. Xing et Z.K. Zhou from the Xiaolongtan Formation of the Yunnan Province. All three species share similar leaf morphology, but differ with respect to trichome base and stomatal densities. Q. tenuipilosa, Q. praedelavayi, and Q. delavayi can be considered to constitute the Q. delavayi complex. Since the late Miocene, a gradual reduction in trichome base density has occurred in this complex. This trend is the opposite of that of precipitation, indicating that increased trichome density is not an adaptation to dry environments. The stomatal density (SD) of the Q. delavayi complex was the highest during the late Miocene, declined in the late Pliocene, and then increased during the present epoch. These values show an inverse relationship with atmospheric CO2 concentrations, suggesting that the SD of the Q. delavayi complex may be a useful proxy for reconstruction of paleo-CO2 concentrations.

Keywords

Quercus delavayi complex Quercus tenuipilosa Morphology evolution Neogene CO2 concentration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Frédéric M.B. Jacques for naming the new species, Mr. Guy Atchison for English phrasing, and Dr. Tao Su and Mr. Haobo Wang for their constructive suggestions and help during the field work. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB821901), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41030212) to Zhekun Zhou.

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Biodiversity, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglaChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Land Resource EngineeringKunming University of Science and TechnologyKunmingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Systematic BotanyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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