Fossil Udoteaceae and Gymnocodiaceae


The Gymnocodiaceae and fossil Udoteaceae (erect) are similar to each other both in growth form and in vegetative structure. They differ in that the Gymnocodiaceae contain internal reproductive organs which are usually absent in the Udoteaceae. It is generally accepted that the Gymnocodiaceae belong to the red algae and the Udoteaceae to the green algae. Well-preserved silicified Gymnocodiaceae can reveal some details of cell filaments, reproductive organs and parasitism. However, the systematic position of this family still remains to be resolved. The published records of fossil Udoteaceae are more abundant, but their biological characters are less well known and much discrepancy exists in their nomenclature, definition and content. In view of the fact that fossil material can only provide limited data on the anatomy of the algae and no information is available at present about pigments, storage products, chemical characters of cell wall or reproduction which are critical to the classification of living algae, and that parallelism is frequently found in different groups of living algae, the Gymnocodiaceae and fossil Udoteaceae are considered heterogeneous and in practice it is often difficult to distinguish between them. In order to advance our understanding of these important groups, search for better preserved permineralized fossil material and close cooperation between students of fossil and living algae are badly needed.


Coral Reef Reproductive Organ Reproductive Structure Calcareous Alga Fossil Material 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyAcademia SinicaChi-Ming-Ssu, NanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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