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Hagenococcus aggregatus nov. gen. et sp., a microscopic, colony-forming alga from the 410-million-yr-old Rhynie chert

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Photoautotrophic microorganisms were likely abundant in the Early Devonian Rhynie ecosystem; however, documented evidence of these life forms is rare. Hagenococcus aggregatus nov. gen. et sp. occurs in the Rhynie chert matrix as solitary cells, dyads, triads, linear, decussate, and isobilateral tetrads, sarcinoid packets, short filaments, irregular aggregations, and colonies. Individual cells are 15–40(–>55) μm in diameter. While it cannot be ruled out that H. aggregatus is a large cyanobacterium, affinities to the Chlorophyta or Streptophyta are far more likely. Some of the cells contain a prominent, spheroid inclusion which might represent the pyrenoid. Hagenococcus aggregatus expands our knowledge of the diversity of primary producers in Paleozoic non-marine ecosystems.
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Keywords: CHAROPHYTES; CYANOBACTERIA; FOSSIL MICROORGANISM; GREEN ALGA; PRESERVATION; SARCINOID GROWTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2017

This article was made available online on February 8, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Hagenococcus aggregatus nov. gen. et sp., a microscopic, colony-forming alga from the 410-million-yr-old Rhynie chert".

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  • Nova Hedwigia is an international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed papers on current issues of taxonomy, morphology, ultrastructure and ecology of all groups of cryptogamic plants, including cyanophytes/cyanobacteria and fungi. The half-tone plates in Nova Hedwigia are known for their high quality, which makes them especially suitable for the reproduction of photomicrographs and scanning and transmission electron micrographs.
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