Origin & Early Evolution of Land Plants

We are interested in understanding the first appearance of distinctive plant traits in charophycean algae and bryophytes. For example, plant cellulose allomorph Iß first appears in the charophyceans, with cellulose-rich walls occurring as early as the Chlorokybus divergence (cellulose localization fluorescence image, below left). We have also correlated the degradation products of bryophytes with certain enigmatic fossils linked to the ancestry of land plants and have found apparent remains of glomalean fungi (below, right) in 460 Mya rocks deposited at a time where early land plants are known to be present. Such fungi today occur in association with land plants.