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Abstract Detail


Struwe, Lena [1], Poinar, George O. [2].

Hidden in collections: Strychnos electri, the first asterid fossil found in neotropical amber.

Amber is famous for yielding large amounts of well-preserved arthropod fossils, but exquisitely preserved plant fossils are less common. We recently published the new species Strychnos electri (Loganiaceae), the first known asteroid from neotropical amber, from fossilized flowers found in the Dominican Republic. This species is only known from two separate specimens including corolla, stamens, and style. Other plants in this geologic amber strata have made it possible to reconstruct this 15-20 million year old composition of this tropical forest. The description of the species was dependent on comparison with extant herbarium material and taxonomic revisions published in the last 75 years, highlighting the value and absolute dependence of scientific collections and long-term taxonomic research for full understanding of world’s extinct and extant biodiversity. We will discuss the methodology of our research (from collecting to photography to comparative morphology) and the scientific relevance of this fossil for the understanding of asterid evolution. This paper would not have been possible without the use of the internet, e-mail, and digital cameras – all tools that make long-distance, interdisciplinary collaboration possible in new ways to ask old questions. The publication resulted in worldwide media coverage, and we will also give some advice and pointers on how to get your research results to be of higher interest to journalists in this day and age of digital and social media.

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1 - Rutgers University, Dept of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources & Dept of Plant Biology and Pathology, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA
2 - Oregon State University, Department of Integrative Biology, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA

digital tools.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 17, Asterids I part B
Location: 204/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 17001
Abstract ID:381
Candidate for Awards:None

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