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A morphological and cytological study of Audouinella porphyrae and A. vaga (Rhodophyta) Tam, Carol Elizabeth


A comparative study was made between two similar red algal endophytes, Audouinella porphyrae (Drew) Garbary and Audouinella vaga (Drew) Garbary, Hansen et Scagel, (Acrochaetiaceae, Acrochaetiales) and their red algal hosts Porphyra spp. and Pterosiphonia bipinnata, respectively. Both endophytes have axial, stellate chloroplasts with a central pyrenoid and reside in their host's cell walls, producing erect portions outside the host that may bear monosporangia. The endophytes were cultured "free" from their hosts and morphological and cytological features of the free-living forms were compared with field material. Although the two endophytes differ significantly in cell dimensions and branching patterns, the free-living forms do not retain these differences. Cell dimensions, branching patterns and developmental patterns are identical in the two free-living forms. Asexual reproduction with regeneration by monospores was observed. Sexual reproduction was not observed in either endophytic or free-living forms of the endophytes. Free-living forms were used for re-infection and cross-infection experiments. Under all experimental conditions, the endophytes showed only epiphytic growth. The hosts seem to have some effect on both of the endophytes. Epiphytes, Audouinella porphyrae and A. vaga were not selective and grew on both hosts, Porphyra torta and Pterosiphonia bipinnata. Both epiphtyes growing on blades of Porphyra tended to branch and have more extensive prostrate portions (3-5 cells) whereas both epiphytes on Pterosiphoni a bipinnata tend not to branch and have only 1-2 cells in the prostrate portions. Ultrastructural studies of both endophytes showed typical florideophycean features. Ultrastructural features of field material of the two endophytes were similar and free-living, cultured endophytes were similar to field material. A large vacuole was observed in sections of the field material of both prostrate and erect portions whereas this was not observed in cultured material. Based on the results of this study it is proposed that the two endophytes are conspecific. Audouinella vaga is referred to synonymy in Audouinella porphyrae (Drew) Garbary, Hansen et Scagel.

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