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Paleobotanical research has partially characterized the flora associated with the amber deposits. The forests that produced the resin that originated the amber were composed of cheirolepids, araucariaceans, and cypresses, while the undergrowth consisted of ferns, cycads, ginkgos, bennettites, caytoniales, gnetales, and a few angiosperms. However, our research shows a different forest composition between the Maestrat Basin and the western part of the Basque-Cantabrian Basin, cheirolepid-dominated, and the eastern part of the Basque-Cantabrian Basin, araucariacean-dominated. Furthermore, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) of Peñacerrada I amber suggests that it had an araucariacean origin, which is supported by the presence of an important amount of pollen grains with affinities to this group of conifers. In other amber localities, like El Soplao, additional geochemical studies suggest the cheirolepid Frenelopsis as a possible resin producer instead. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of abundant macro-remains and pollen in the sediment associated with the amber and a few flows of amber with imprints of this conifer. Moreover, in all amber outcrops, Frenelopsis’ cuticles are the most abundant plant macroremains, and pollen grains of the related genus Classopollis are also abundant. Study of Frenelopsis’ morphology and stomatic recount permitted to infer the paleoclimatological conditions for the studied outcrops, like wet/dry season alternation.

Palynological assemblages are composed of spikemosses, clubmosses, and fern spores, as well as pollen grains from araucariaceans, cupressaceans/taxodiaceans, cheirolepid, cycadaleans, ginkgoaleans, bennettitaleans, pteridosperms, gnetaleans, and angiosperms; also, dinoflagellate cysts and phycomas of prasinophycean algae have been found, which suggest a certain marine influence in the Basque-Cantabrian Basin outcrops. The study of the palinomorphs from the amber-sediments is great relevance as it allows to accurately date the sediments in which amber is found. In turn, the study of plant macro-remains allows us to reconstruct the resin-producing sources. Increase in size and vein density of angiosperm leaves during the Albian caused increases in easy-to-eat soft organic matter and sugars, leading to a diversification of insect herbivores. A complete study of the meso- and macro-remains from gymnosperms and angiosperms found in the amber deposits is being undertaken.

Some microorganisms have been found as amber inclusions, especially protists and mycelia with sporangia. Some of these protists have been identified as ciliates, flagellates, and amoebas, assigned to Euglenozoa, Chlorophyceae, and Chromalveolata; however, their relationship with the paleoecosystem has not been investigated yet.


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