Fossil Leaf

Working on fossil leaves is the aim of my researches. I mostly have a look on fossil leaf collection stocked in numerous museum in Europe and Eastern Asia. I photograph each leaf in order to make some measurements for morphometry.
I deeply have a look on the plant-insect interaction (insect feeding traces. I take into account plant species identification and climate interpretation based on different method such as CLAMP, LMA, ELPA CoA.

1- Artist painting of the supposed landscape of Willershausen, realized by August Ahlborn (1877-1951).
2- Parrotia persica from Willershaeusen (3Ma)

Modern Leaf

As I'm working on "recent" fossil locations (from Late Cenozoic), comparison with modern forests is possible and quite robust. In addition, topic of plant-insect interaction is pretty unknown in paleoecology then it must to be study and improve with the complement of present analysis on modern forest.
Hyrcanian forest (Iran) is my main modern forest studies as it is considered as the closest analogue of Eurasian paleoforest from mid-late Cenozoic.

1- Hyrcanian forest (c)Mehdi Abedi
2- Parrotia persica from Hyrcanian forest (Northern Iran)


My skills and uses about pollen are, for now, mostly focusing on the species Parrotia persica. This is belong to the large project 'PARROTIA' carrying about endemic genus of Parrotia, its biogeographic history in Eurasian during the last Ma.

1- Pollen of Parrotia persica observed with optical microscope
2- Pollen of Parrotia persica observed with SEM (Halbritter H. 2016. Parrotia persica. In: PalDat - A palynological database.
Plant-insect interactions
Based on the guide from Labandeira et al., 2007 (updated version).
Plant-insect interactions gather 7 main categories of damages: Holes feeding, Margin feeding, Skeletonization, Surface feeding, Piercing & Sucking, Galling, Mining.
Labandeira, C.C., Wilf, P., Johnson, K.R., Marsh, F., 2007. Guide to insect (and other) damage types on compressed plant fossils. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology, Washington, DC.
Leaf morphometry
Measurements of the leaves are made with photography on ImageJ software and Wacom tablet for deep accuracy.
Several parameters are take into account such as: length, width, the ration between length from the leaf base and the part where the leaf is the largest, petiol width, leaf mass per area, surface area.
Morphology of the leaf could be correlated with some abiotic parameters (such as climate) and I'm working to highlight some relationship with the plant-insect interactions.
Plant species identification
As I'm mostly working with fossil leaf from museum collection, often species identification has been already made OR local database is enough robust to facilitate the identification of plant species.
Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program.
It is a method of obtaining ancient climate information from the architecture of fossil leaves of woody dicot flowering plants.
More information:
Leaf Margin Analysis
A technique for estimating mean annual temperatures in the past from the proportion of dicotyle-donous plant species present that had untoothed leaf margins, based on the observation of a strong positive relationship between warmth and plants with smooth-edged leaves. In addition to this univariate approach there is also a multivariate technique.
Data are based on: Wolfe, J.A., 1979. Temperature parameters of humid zo mesic forests of eastern Asia and relation to forests of other regions of the northern hemisphere and Australia. U. S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 1106, 1–37.
European Leaf Physiognomic Approach
In the same vein of CLAMP analysis but only based on European location.
Main reference used is: Traiser, C., Klotz, S., Uhl, D., Mosbrugger, V., 2005. Environmental signals from leaves — A physiognomic analysis of European vegetation. New Phytol. 166, 465–484.
Co-existence Approach
Based on based on comparisons with the nearest living relatives fossil.
Developed in: Mosbrugger, V., Utescher, T., 1997. The coexistence approach—a method for quantitative reconstructions of Tertiary terrestrial palaeoclimate data using plant fossils. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 134, 61–86.
Optical microscopy and photography
Epifluorescence microscopy (used to highlight stomata density on fossil leaf blade, when cuticle is preserved)
SEM: Scanning Electron Microscopy (made in collaboration with Dr Fridgeir Grimsson, University of Vienna)