[ News ]
"That's it." After working on the project for more than six years, Dr. Miller completed the essays on the origin of flowering plants, November 11, 2011.
A "Publication of the Year" will be selected and posted to Gigantopteroid Dot Org annually. I will continue posting newsworthy items, repairing broken links, and updating the "Reading List of Book Chapters and Books" based on my current research.
The massif pictured to the right is Cerro Providencia (Pichaco del Diablo) as viewed from the crest of the Sierra San Pedro Mártir. Snow is visible in the foreground under sparse stands of Abies concolor (white fir), Pinus jeffreyi (Jeffrey pine), and Pinus lambertiana (sugar pine).
The "Mountain of Providence" or "Devil's Pichaco" is the detached and uplifted 3,000 meter high grano-diorite and tonalite block of the Peninsular Mountains of westernmost North America.
Evolutionarily Advanced Magnoliales and Nymphaeales from a Gondwanan Crato Paleoflora (February 2013):
Clément Coiffard and co-workers report a definitive fossil find of crown group Nymphaeales from the early Cretaceous South American Crato Formation.
Coiffard, C., B. A. Mohr, and M. E. C. Bernardes-de-Oliveira. 2013. Jaguariba wiersemana gen. nov. et sp. nov., an early Cretaceous member of crown group Nymphaeales (Nymphaeaceae) from northern Gondwana. Taxon 62(1): 141-151.
This original research work should be read together with a paper published in the Review of Paleobotany and Palynology by Barbara Mohr et al. (2013) on the discovery of the novel magnolialean species, Schenkeriphyllum glanduliferum, in these same beds.
Does the discovery of water lilies, magnoliids, and other species of modern flowering plants from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation require new fossil calibrations and re-computation of molecular phylogenetic analyses of angiosperms?
Cytochrome P450 Theme Issue is Published by The Royal Society (February 2013):
Volume 368, Number 1612 of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences (2013), edited by David R. Nelson, is devoted to a discussion of the ancient protein family of cytochrome P450 enzymes.
Animals, fungi, microbes, and plants contain more than 18,000 molecular configurations of these fascinating enzymes, which are involved in the biosynthesis of anthocyanins, cutin, lignin, sporopollenin, steroids, suberin, and terpenoids, including compounds at the heart of the "chemical arms race."
These enzymes often act in concert with R2R3 MYB transcription factors (TFs) involved in the catalysis of flavonoid biosynthesis. Flavonoids are important signaling molecules in seed plants, which interact with the PIN proteins of auxin regulation. Anthocyanins and flavonols are localized in epidermal cone cells and nectar guides of flower petals acting as optical cues for insect and bird pollinators.
Based on extreme conservation of R2R3 MYB homeodomain proteins and some cytochrome P450s, were Paleozoic protoflowers colored and visualized by flying insects such as paleodictyopterans?
Macmillan Publishers News (October 2012):
A fossilized brain from a Cambrian stem group arthropod is evidence of the early existence of an extremely conserved and sophisticated olfactory and visual sensory system in these animals ... Did evo-devo of insect eyes, mushroom bodies, neuropils, and trichromatic vision predate late Paleozoic pollen phytophagy and flying predatory behaviors of paleodictyopterans and wasps?
Nature publishes a letter by a team of entomologists and paleobiologists having a bearing on the evo-devo of neuropils associated with the brain, and homologies with sensory organs of advanced crustaceans and insects. Ecologists should compare this paleobiological study with earlier work by Briscoe & Chittka (2001), The Evolution of Color Vision in Insects, Annual Review of Entomology, Volume 46, because implications toward an understanding of the deep time evolution of pollination mutualisms between species of the "Big Five" holometabolous insect orders and late Paleozoic seed plants are absolutely profound.
Ma, Xiaoya, X. Hou, G. D. Edgecombe, and N. J. Strausfeld. 2012. Complex brain and optic lobes in an early Cambrian arthropod. Nature 490(7419): 258-262.
Annals of Botany Publication Alert (August 2012):
Transferential stigmatic tool kit function to a foliar organ of an angiosperm flower ... can petals act as male-receptive female organs? Oxford Journals publishes a paper by a team of entomologists and plant biologists having a bearing on the evo-devo of the carpel and evolution of a pollination mutualism with the foliar organ of a monocot flower.
Johnson, S. D., A. Jürgens, and M. Kuhlmann. 2012. Pollination function transferred: modified tepals of Albuca (Hyacinthaceae) serve as secondary stigmas. Annals of Botany (London) 110(3): 565-572.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences Publishes Research on the Origin of Flowering Plants (May 2012):
Doyle, J. A. 2012. Molecular and fossil evidence on the origin of angiosperms. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 40: 301–326.
The most recent review to date on the origin of flowering plants is published by Annual Reviews. The review is the latest installment of Professor Doyle's more than 35 years of research on the origin of angiosperms.
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Publication Alert (December 2011):
Annual Reviews, a non-profit scientific organization, publishes a paper by Niklas Janz that critiques Paul Ehrlich and Peter Raven’s classic 1964 article on plant and lepidopteran mutualisms:
Janz, N. 2011. Ehrlich and Raven revisited: mechanisms underlying codiversification of plants and enemies. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 42: 71-89.
University of California Press News (November 2011):
The University of California Press announces publication of the revised Jepson Manual in January 2012.
Baldwin, B. G., D. H. Goldman, D. J. Keil, R. Patterson, T. J. Rosatti, and D. H. Wilken (eds.). 2012. The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, Second Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1568 pp.
Yale University Research News (March 2010):
Molecular phylogenetic studies by Yale University colleagues suggest a late Triassic age for the flowering plant crown group (March 2010).
Contrary to assertions reported in the Science Daily, Stephen A. Smith et al. (2010) are not the first scientists to propose a Triassic origin of angiosperms. Bruce Cornet, Ph.D. should receive credit for his quite correct and detailed arguments in support of a Triassic origin of flowering plants, which appear in two papers published in 1986 and 1989.
Discussion Meeting Issue "Darwin and the Evolution of Flowers" (February 2010):
Volume 365, Number 1539 of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences (2010), edited by Peter R. Crane, Else Marie Friis, and William G. Chaloner is devoted to a discussion of Charles Darwin and the origin of flowers.
Fifteen articles are devoted to the topic including papers by:
Endress, P. A. 2010. The evolution of floral biology in basal angiosperms. Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 365(1539): 411-421.
Friis, E. M., K. R. Pedersen, and P. R. Crane. 2010. Diversity in obscurity: fossil flowers and the early history of angiosperms. Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 365(1539): 369-382.
Jasinski, S., A. C. M. Vialette-Guiraud, and C. P. Scutt. 2010. The evolutionary-developmental analysis of plant microRNAs. Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 365(1539): 469-476.
Mathews, S., M. D. Clements, and M. A. Beilstein. 2010. A duplicate gene rooting of seed plants and the phylogenetic position of flowering plants. Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 365(1539): 383-395.
Rudall, P. J. and R. M. Bateman. 2010. Defining the limits of flowers: the challenge of distinguishing between the evolutionary products of simple versus compound strobili. Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 365(1539): 397-409.
Charles Darwin Bicentennial Issue of the American Journal of Botany (January 2009):
The January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Botany explores the origin, evolution, and radiation of flowering plants. More than twenty articles are devoted to the topic.
Contributions to The Revised Jepson Manual (July 2008):
John and the original authors of The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California (Hickman, 1993) have revised and submitted treatments of Anacardiaceae (Malosma, Pistacia, Rhus, Schinus, and Searsia), Cucurbitaceae (Brandegea, Citrullus, Cucumis, Cucurbita, and Marah), Lamiaceae (Acanthomintha, Glechoma, Hedeoma, Lycopus, Marrubium, Melissa, Moluccella, Nepeta, Poliomintha, Prunella, Salazaria, Satureja, and Teucrium), and Montiaceae (Calandrinia, Calyptridium [with C. Matt Guilliams], Cistanthe [with C. Matt Guilliams], Claytonia, Lewisia, and Montia), for The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, Second Edition.
Back Issues of Selected Botanical Journals Are Available (March 2007):
These volumes are available free-of-charge (recipient must make financial arrangements with a carrier, and pre-pay shipping charges from California, USA, to destination). I will box them and hand-carry to the shipping vendor for weighing. The gigantopteroid.org web site will not be involved in any financial transactions.
Allertonia Volumes 1 and 2
Systematic Botany (Volumes 1 through 31)
Kindly note that the Systematic Botany volumes are heavy, weighing more than 100 hundred kilograms. If interested, please contact me.
Paleobotanical Books, Graphics, and Reprints are Sought (March 2007):
I welcome complementary copies of recent editions of books, reprints of paleobotanical monographs, and reprints of journal articles on paleontology on an exchange basis. Could someone donate a copy of the out-of-print book titled "Fossil Floras of China Through the Ages"?
Articles in pdf format are sought, but electronic versions must be in compliance with the copyright laws of the originating country. I am also interested in receiving images and graphics for use on the gigantopteroid web site (with permissions, please). Scientific and software publishers and free-lance artists are encouraged to help me improve and enhance the educational value of this web site. If interested, please contact me.
Systematics of Claytonia [Portulacaceae] (July 2006):
John M. Miller, Ph.D. and Kenton L. Chambers, Ph.D. have published a taxonomic monograph titled, Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae), culminating more than 40 years of research on a biogeographically significant group of flowering plants, which are indigenous to the mountain chains of Asia and North America.
The image to the right consists of several tetraploid plants of Claytonia parviflora subsp. parviflora from the Greenhorn Mountains of western North America.
Interested persons may order a copy of the hardbound Volume 78 of this serial through the American Society of Plant Taxonomists Business Manager. Booksellers, botanists, and buyers should also consult the home page of Systematic Botany Monographs.
Death Valley Desert Blooms (April 2005):
The 2005 bloom season was extraordinary on the floor and alluvial debris fans of Death Valley, a graben located east of the Panamint Mountains, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, USA. The author and his associates visited the region in April 2005 and captured these images, among others.
To the left is an image of a Holocene debris fan of the Amargosa Mountains (the Panamint Mountains are to the right): the yellow color is a population of Geraea canescens (Asteraceae, Asterales, Asteranae). To the right is a close-up of Eremalche rotundiflora (Malvaceae, Malvales, Rosanae) photographed by Homer Hobi (who accompanied John together with Ed Dipesa, now deceased).
Fairy Lantern Field Biology (April 2004):
Together with Tim Armstrong, the author discovered a previously undocumented population of Calochortus pulchellus (Liliaceae, Liliales, Lilianae) from a volcanic plateau in southern Solano County, California, which is not far from the Willis Linn Jepson Ranch. The Mount Diablo fairy lantern was previously known from Contra Costa County on Mount Diablo, a prominent mountain peak of the Diablo Range rising above the foothills south of the Carquinez Straits and Suisun Bay of western North America.
Students may wish to read about Calochortus pulchellus in recent biosystematic studies of some Calochortus species published by Bryan Ness in 1989 (Systematic Botany 14:495-505).
REVISED AND POSTED APRIL 3, 2013