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The greening of Western Australian landscapes: the Phanerozoic plant record
The University of Western Australia.
The University of Queensland.
MGPalaeo, 1/5 Arvida St Malaga, Western Australia.
The University of Western Australia.
Show others and affiliations
2019 (English)In: Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, ISSN 0035922X, Vol. 102, p. 52-82Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Western Australian terrestrial floras first appeared in the Middle Ordovician (c. 460 Ma) and developed Gondwanan affinities in the Permian. During the Mesozoic, these floras transitioned to acquire a distinctly austral character in response to further changes in the continent’s palaeolatitude and its increasing isolation from other parts of Gondwana. This synthesis of landscape evolution is based on palaeobotanical and palynological evidence mostly assembled during the last 60 years. The composition of the plant communities and the structure of vegetation changed markedly through the Phanerozoic. The Middle Ordovician –Middle Devonian was characterised by diminutive vegetation in low-diversity communities. An increase in plant size is inferred from the Devonian record, particularly from that of the Late Devonian when a significant part of the flora was arborescent. Changes in plant growth-forms accompanied a major expansion of vegetation cover to episodically or permanently flooded lowland settings and, from the latest Mississippian onwards, to dry hinterland environments. Wetter conditions during the Permian yielded waterlogged environments with complex swamp communities dominated by Glossopteris. In response to the Permian–Triassic extinction event, a transitional vegetation characterised by herbaceous lycopsids became dominant but was largely replaced by the Middle Triassic with seed ferns and shrubs or trees attributed to Dicroidium. Another floristic turnover at the Triassic–Jurassic boundary introduced precursors of Australia’s modern vegetation and other southern hemisphere regions. Most importantly, flowering plants gained ascendancy during the Late Cretaceous. Characteristics of the state’s modern vegetation, such as sclerophylly and xeromorphy, arose during the Late Cretaceous and Paleogene. The vegetation progressively developed its present-day structure and composition in response to the increasing aridity during the Neogene–Quaternary.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Perth: Royal Society of Western Australia , 2019. Vol. 102, p. 52-82
Keywords [en]
palaeobotany, palynology, vegetation, palaeoclimate, Western Australia
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth; Ecosystems and species history; Diversity of life
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3438OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3438DiVA, id: diva2:1373279
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-5234Swedish Research Council, 2018-04527
Note

Also funded by US National Science Foundation (project #1636625); Spanish AEI/FEDER, UE Grant CGL2017-84419; RJC is funded by the ARC via Greg Jordan (University of Tasmania) and Bob Hill (University of Adelaide); LAM and CLM appreciate the support of Vimy Resources Ltd.

Available from: 2019-11-10 Created: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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