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. 2015 May 13;10(5):e0121307.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121307. eCollection 2015.

The Range of Bioinclusions and Pseudoinclusions Preserved in a New Turonian (~90 Ma) Amber Occurrence From Southern Australia

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Free PMC article

The Range of Bioinclusions and Pseudoinclusions Preserved in a New Turonian (~90 Ma) Amber Occurrence From Southern Australia

Annie Quinney et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

A new Turonian amber occurrence, representing the oldest in situ amber locality in Australia and the southern-most locality in Gondwana, has recently been discovered in the Otway Basin of Victoria. The amber was collected from petroleum cores and many pieces contain a range of inclusions that can provide information on the depositional history of the resin. To date, one species of fern spore (Cyathidites minor) and one species of lycophyte spore (Kraeuselisporites sp?) have been conclusively identified in the amber, along with filamentous microorganisms and degraded plant matter. Several samples are also rife with pseudoinclusions as reported recently in other ambers. The abundance of preserved particulate debris and wind dispersed spores suggest that the Otway amber formed subaerially. Furthermore, based on the range of bioinclusions and forms of pseudoinclusions preserved within a single piece of amber, the locus of hardening for individual samples is variably interpreted as occurring in the tree tops, on the tree trunk or on the ground surface. Notably, specific inclusion assemblages are associated with certain colours of amber. By extension, and in accordance with recent studies, amber colour may be indicative of depositional environment. Variation in the environment of solidification may, therefore, be sufficient to account for the broad range of morphological characteristics preserved in a single amber deposit.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. Turonian palaeogeographic reconstruction of the continents from a South Polar perspective.
Black box over Australia indicates study area. Modified from [35].
Fig 2
Fig 2. Study area map within the Otway Basin (grey box) off the coast of Victoria, Australia (inset).
White dots indicate amber-bearing well locations including well names. Dark grey shading represents modern land; light grey represents continental crust.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Colours of Australian amber.
A) burst piece of yellow amber, some still embedded in matrix, sample THA01 2529.43; B) Top: Partial nodule of orange amber embedded in matrix, sample THA01 2451.7; Bottom left: cross-section through orange amber nodule containing organic matter, sample Minerva 2a 1857.43; Bottom right: cross-section through orange amber droplet, (not collected) Minerva 2a 1923.5; C) fragments from burst piece of dark orange amber sample Minerva-1 1837.5; D) fragments from burst piece of red amber, sample Minerva 2a 1843.2; E) fragments from burst piece of dark brown amber sample Minerva 2a- 1945.2; F) fragments from burst piece of milky brown amber, sample Minerva 2a 1956.7. Scale bar: 4 mm.
Fig 4
Fig 4. Examples of bioinclusions from Otway amber.
(A) Probable specimen of Kraeuselisporites Raine, 2008, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-1. (B) Cyathidites minor Couper, 1953, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-1. (C) Randomly oriented network of filamentous microorganisms, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-2. (D) Mutually aligned filamentous microorganisms pictured with ovoid and fusiform inclusions, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-1. (E) Degraded organic matter exhibiting cracks along outer margin, Sample THA01 2466.89 009–1. (F) Degraded organic matter with attached filamentous microorganisms, Sample THA01 2531.07–007. Scale Bars: 100 μm (A–D); 50 μm (E); 200 μm (F).
Fig 5
Fig 5. Examples of other inclusions from Otway amber.
(A) Spherical inclusions (Type A pseudoinclusions) with internal vesiculation, Sample Minerva-1 1836.9. (B) Concentration of ovoid inclusions (Type B pseudoinclusions) on the left side (dark orange) and no inclusions of the right side (lighter orange), Sample THA01 2451.4. (C) Mutually aligned fusiform inclusions (Type B pseudoinclusions), Sample THA01 2451.7. (D) Ovoid inclusion (Type B pseudoinclusion) with single vesicle; Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-2. (E) Ovoid inclusions (black arrows; Type B pseudoinclusions); lower ovoid inclusion (Type B pseudoinclusions) is stacked on top of an irregular filamentous inclusion (grey arrow; Type D pseudoinclusion); pictured with filamentous microorganisms, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-2. (F) Vesicular ovoid inclusion (Type B pseudoinclusion) with projection, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-1. (G) Irregular filamentous inclusion (grey arrow; Type D pseudoinclusion) surrounded by mutually aligned filamentous microorganisms and ovoid inclusions (Type B pseudoinclusions), Sample THA01 2466.89 005. (H) Amorphous inclusion (Type E pseudoinclusion), Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-2. (I) Amorphous inclusions (Type E pseudoinclusion) surrounded by mutually aligned ovoid inclusions, Sample THA01 2466.89 2D2-2. Scale bars: 50 μm (A, F); 200 μm (B); 100 μm (C–E, G–I).

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Grant support

The following funding agencies provided financial support to this research project: 1. Australian Research Council Discovery Project; grant number: ARC-DP1412515-Assoc. Prof. Jeffrey D Stilwell; URL: arc.gov.au; received by J.S. 2. Origin Energy grant; no grant number; URL: http://www.originfoundation.com.au/about-us/grant-program; received by J.S. 3. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Graduate Scholarship; application number: PGSD3 426805-2012; URL: http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca; received by A.Q. 4. Australian Postgraduate Award; no grant number; URL: https://education.gov.au/australian-postgraduate-awards; received by A.Q. 5. International Postgraduate Research Scholarship; no grant number; URL: https://education.gov.au/international-postgraduate-research-scholarships; received by A.Q. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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