Comprising ~130 species in seven genera, Winteraceae is family of flowering plants with greatest diversity in the southern hemisphere. A pollen fossil found recently in a western Greenland Paleocene sediment sample tells a new story about the biogeography of Winteraceae.
Presenting the find, researchers in this study used light and electron microscopy to compare the fossilized grain with other fossils and extant pollen, describing the new species Pseudowinterapollis agatdalensis (after the valley where the fossil was found).
Using GBIF-mediated Winteraceae occurrences, the researchers derive climate and vegetation profiles for extant genera of the family. The paleoflora of western Greenland suggests a fully humid temperate climate with biomes analogous to those now occupied by extant Winteraceae genera in Australasia.
The evidence presented in the study implies that Winteraceae is not just a charismatic family of the Southern hemisphere, but likely provides important clues to understanding global biogeographic evolution of flowering plants.