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Dr. Ludwig Luthardt

  • L

  • Tasks

    • Researcher in Paleobotany
    • Curator of the (paleo-) botanical collection


    In the field of paleobotany I am investigating fossil plants of the late Paleozoic era and their environment.

    At the end of this era (c. 320-250 million years ago), land ecosystems underwent distinct changes in response to major tectonic and paleoclimatic processes on Earth (e.g., Late Paleozoic Ice Age). Global change also affected vegetational composition at this time. Wet tropical forests were replaced by seasonally dry vegetation communities, composed of drought resistent plants. On the one hand, my scientific work is dedicated to fossil plants as climate archives to learn more about environmental conditions, at this time. For this, I use well-known methods, such as dendroecology, but also apply recent botanical methods to fossil plants and try to further develop them (e.g., water conductivity and gas exchange capacity). On the other hand, I am investigating fossil plants of the late Paleozoic with regard to evolution in response to global change. Recently, I am focussing on a group of seed ferns (Medullosales). These extinct plants possess enigmatic stem constructions which is rarely found in the plant kingdom. Research on these plants means to learn something about plant functionality (plant architecture and survival strategies), but also about the evolution of seed plants, in general.

    By forcing interdisciplinary work that combining the fields of paleontology and geology, I aim to reconstruct whole ecosystems of the late Paleozoic to understand interactions of atmosphere, geosphere and biosphere.

    Publications (selection)

    Luthardt, L., Merbitz, M., Rößler, R., 2018. Severe growth disturbances in an early Permian calamitalean – traces of a lightning strike? Palaeontographica B, 298 (1-3): 1–22.

    Luthardt, L., Hofmann, M., Linnemann, U., Gerdes, A., Marko, L., Rößler, R., 2018. A new U-Pb zircon age and a volcanogenic model for the early Permian Chemnitz Fossil Forest. International Journal of Earth Science 107 : 2465–2489. doi: 10.1007/s00531-018-1608-8

    Spindler, F., Werneburg, R., Schneider, J.W., Luthardt, L., Annacker, V., Rößler, R., 2018. First arboreal ‘pelycosaurs‘ (Synapsida: Varanopidae) from the early Permi-an Chemnitz Fossil Lagerstätte, SE-Germany. Pal Z. doi: 10.1007/s12542-018-0405-9

    Luthardt, L., Rößler, R., Schneider, J.W., 2017. Tree-ring analysis appraising the fourth dimension of an in situ fossil forest and elucidating the last 80 years of an early Permian ecosystem. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 487: 278–295. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.09.011

    Luthardt, L., Rößler, R., 2017. Fossil forest reveals sunspot activity in the early Permian. Geology 45(3): 279–282. doi: 10.1130/G38669.1

    Luthardt, L., Rößler, R., Schneider, J.W., 2016. Palaeoclimatic and site-specific condi-tions in the early Permian fossil forest of Chemnitz – Sedimentological, geochemical and palaeobotanical evidence. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 441: 627–652. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.10.015

    Rößler, R., Merbitz, M., Annacker, V., Luthardt, L., Noll, R., Neregato, R., Rohn, R., 2014. The root systems of Permian arborescent sphenopsids: evidence from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Palaeontographica B 290 (4-6): 65–107.