Uppkomsten av fytoplankton i proterozoikum-kambrium och tidpunkten för enosymbiotiska algers ursprung
Tidsperiod: 2013-01-01 till 2015-12-31
Projektledare: Malgorzata Moczydlowska-Vidal
Budget: 2 400 000 SEK
The project objective is to reveal the biological affinities of organic-walled microfossils, which presumably represented phytoplankton from the Proterozoic and Cambrian times, through phenotypic studies and analyses of cell wall ultrastructure and biochemistry. Establishing the affinities and time of origins of early evolutionary lineages by fossil record would reconcile with the phylogenies based on genomics of modern biota. This will also elucidate the time of origin of photosynthesis in algae and endosymbiosis of plastids. The evolution of photosynthetic biota has triggered the global environmental change by oxygenation of hydro- and atmosphere. Consequently, research on their evolution and function in the ecosystem is key to understand their impact on the planet. Photosynthetic biota survived the Cryogenian glaciations and they provide a means of testing the severity of the climate change in the Snowball Earth hypothesis. The methods will include phenotypic and ultrastructural studies of microfossils´ cell wall by various microscopic techniques (SEM, TEM, AFM, Raman microscopy-spectroscopy), and new techniques to analyse the elemental and molecular composition of the organic wall. The multidisciplinary research is orientated towards palaeobiology and biogeochemistry, involves postgraduate education, and is expected to allow reconstructing the tree of life of photosynthetic microorganisms that are ancestors to modern chlorophyte algae and the stem-group Viridiplantae.