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Talyzina & Moczydłowska, 2000

Morphological and ultrastructural studies of some acritarchs from the Lower Cambrian Lükati Formation, Estonia

Talyzina, N. M., Moczydłowska, M.
AjakiriReview of Palaeobotany and Palynology
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Six acritarch species from the Lükati Formation were studied using a combination of techniques, including transmitted light, scanning electron (SEM) and transmission electron (TEM) microscopy. New details of wall ultrastructure, surface microsculpture and internal morphology of the vesicle and processes significantly add to the previously known morphological features and increase the understanding of the form-genera Archaeodiscina, Globosphaeridium, Comasphaeridium, Skiagia, Tasmanites and Leiosphaeridia. Examination of microfossils using TEM revealed a substantial variation in wall ultrastructure among acritarchs. The diversity includes four structural types of vesicle wall in addition to their single- and multi-layered structure and the variable thickness of the wall. These are: electron-tenuous and fibrous; electron-dense and homogeneous; electron-dense and homogeneous but perforated by radial canals; and composite laminated structure. Morphologically recognised groupings of acritarchs (acanthomorphic, disphaeromorphic, sphaeromorphic) and tasmanitid taxa appear to be characterised by particular features of the wall structure, although the wall structure in itself may not be directly indicative of systematic relationships. Structurally diverse vesicle walls are observed in Tasmanites and Leiosphaeridia, taxa that both have been interpreted, based on other lines of evidence, to be of prasinophycean (green algal) affinities. The distinct wall ultrastructure of the Leiosphaeridia studied is similar to that of extant green algal genera, which provides evidence that some Cambrian leiosphaerids were chlorophycean algae, probably related to the Order Chlorococcales. Previous research and interpretations of the wall ultrastructure are also briefly discussed.

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