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Abstract Detail

Pteridological Section/AFS

Skelton, Chanda [1], Farrar, Donald [2].

Do cultured gametophytes accurately reflect the morphology and development of gametophytes in nature?

Most previous studies on fern gametophytes have been conducted under laboratory conditions, leading some to question whether data from these studies accurately reflect gametophytes in nature. Our study compares laboratory cultured and field grown fern gametophytes of the same species. Results indicate few significant differences in morphology between laboratory cultured gametophytes and their field grown counterparts. The most consistent difference observed was the formation of archegonia and rhizoids on the dorsal surface of agar cultured gametophytes. Through alteration of laboratory growth conditions involving light orientation and relative humidity, dorsal archegonia were observed to result from translucence of the agar medium and high humidity within agar culture dishes. Both conditions yield a lowered differential between dorsal and ventral gametophyte surfaces relative to gametophytes on natural substrates. Our studies confirm the utility of studying gametophyte morphology in the laboratory. Characteristics of development, mature form, hairs, gametangial structure, etc. are sufficiently conserved to use in systematic studies and in field identification. By modifying culture conditions, the anomalous occurrence of archegonia on the dorsal surface can be reversed to produce gametophyte morphology in the laboratory that very closely resembles the morphology of gametophytes of the same species grown in nature.

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1 - Iowa State University, Ecology, Evolution, Organismal Biology, 253 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA, 50011, USA
2 - Iowa State University, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology, 253 Bessey Hall, Ames, Iowa, 50011-1020, USA

fern gametophyte
fern gametophyte morphology
gametophyte sexuality.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: CP20
Location: Lake Michigan/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 1:30 PM
Number: CP20011
Abstract ID:1682

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