A staff post by Dr Neil Clark, Curator of Palaeontology at The Hunterian.
Dr Christine Strullu-Derrien of Angers, France and the Natural History Museum, London visited the collections of The Hunterian last week.
Her main interest is in looking at the earliest terrestrial fungal/plant associations from the Devonian age (about 410 million years old) Rhynie Chert in Aberdeenshire.
The Hunterian has the foremost collection of thin sections of this chert made in the 19th and early 20th centuries by the Scottish palaeobotanist Dr Robert Kidston (1852-1924).
Christine has been able to illustrate microscopic detail of the fungi using a variety of microscopic techniques that she hopes to be able to apply to The Hunterian’s slides.
Confocal microscopy and synchroton analyses of other samples will allow Christine to have a 3D view of the fungi and their relationships with each other and the host plants.
These techniques provide very high resolution images of the surface texture as well as the internal organs and structures of the fungi.
This study is an important advance to our understanding of the early evolution of fungi – an important element in all present-day biomes.
Below is a slideshow of images from the microscope.
Visit another Blog with some really good images from the Rhynie Chert relating to Christine’s work.