J Syst Evol ›› 2019, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (2): 190-199.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12462

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

New pollen classification of Chenopodiaceae for exploring and tracing desert vegetation evolution in eastern arid central Asia

Kai-Qing Lu1,2†, Min Li1†, Guo-Hong Wang3†, Lian-Sheng Xu1,2, David K. Ferguson4, Anjali Trivedi5, Jing Xuan1, Ying Feng6, Jin-Feng Li1, Gan Xie1,2, Yi-Feng Yao1*, and Yu-Fei Wang1,2*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    4University of Vienna, Institute of Palaeontology, Vienna A-1090, Austria
    5Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow 226007, India
    6Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
  • Received:2018-07-12 Accepted:2018-09-09 Online:2018-09-18 Published:2019-03-01

Abstract: Members of the Chenopodiaceae are the most dominant elements in the central Asian desert. The different genera and species within this family are common in desert vegetation types. Should it prove possible to link pollen types in this family to specific desert vegetation, it would be feasible to trace vegetation successions in the geological past. Nevertheless, the morphological similarity of pollen grains in the Chenopodiaceae rarely permits identification at the generic level. Although some pollen classifications of Chenopodiaceae have been proposed, none of them tried to link pollen types to specific desert vegetation types in order to explore their ecological significance. Based on the pollen morphological characters of 13 genera and 24 species within the Chenopodiaceae of eastern central Asia, we provide a new pollen classification of this family with six pollen types and link them to those plant communities dominated by Chenopodiaceae, for example, temperate dwarf semi‐arboreal desert (Haloxylon type), temperate succulent halophytic dwarf semi‐shrubby desert (Suaeda, Kalidium, and Atriplex types), temperate annual graminoid desert (Kalidium type), temperate semi‐shrubby and dwarf semi‐shrubby desert (Kalidium, Iljini, and Haloxylon types), and alpine cushion dwarf semi‐shrubby desert (Krascheninnikovia type). These findings represent a new approach for detecting specific desert vegetation types and deciphering ecosystem evolution in eastern central Asia.

Key words: Arid central Asia, Chenopodiaceae, Desert, Pollen types, Vegetation