UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gelidiales (rhodophyta, red algae) in British Columbia and Northern Washington : taxonomy, morphology, development Renfrew, Dawn Elizabeth


A study of the red algal order Gelidiales in British Columbia and northern Washington was conducted. Gelidiales are represented in the study area by four species, Gelidium coulteri, G. purpurascens, G. vagum and Pterocladia caloglossoides, and a key to identify the taxa is provided. Earlier reports of G. crinale, G. pusillum, G. robustum and G. sinicola from British Columbia and northern Washington have been shown to be misidentifications of the other taxa and are excluded from the flora. The occurrence of G. vagum in the British Columbian flora is significant because it appears to have been introduced from the northwest Pacific and now has a disjunct distribution, occurring in Japan and China and on two islands in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Gelidium vagum and the Gulf of California species, G. johnstonii, are considered to be sister species. They share the unique character of monoecy (i.e. unique in the genus) and a morphological resemblance, but differ in several other characters, including arrangement of cortical cells, shape and flattening of tetrasporangial stichidia, shape of stichidial apices and position of the apical initial with respect to the adjacent cortex, presence/absence of an apical furrow and sterile margin in tetrasporangial stichidia and presence/absence of intact third order filaments in mature cystocarps. The life history of Gelidium vagum was completed in culture, only the second Gelidium species for which this has been accomplished. Gelidium vagum has a triphasic Polysiphonia-type life history with isomorphic (monoecious) gametophytes and tetrasporophytes, and carposporophytes growing on gametophytes. The rare occurrence (G. purpurascens, G. coulteri) or absence (Pterocladia caloglossoid.gametophytes in the field and the lack of successful completion of a life history in culture suggests that, whereas these species may occasionally complete a Polysiphonia-type life history in situ, vegetative or apomictic mechanisms are more important in maintaining field populations. Chromosome counts of n = 14 - 15 were made on undivided tetrasporangia of G. vagum. The pattern of spore germination in Gelidium coulteri, G. purpurascens and G. vagum is similar for carpospores and tetraspores. A single germ tube grows from the spore, the entire cytoplasmic contents of the spore evacuate into the germ tube and a wall cuts the germ tube off from the empty spore. The germ tube divides unequally to form a concave and a fusiform cell. The primary attachment rhizoid forms from a derivative of the concave cell and the sporeling apical cell forms from a fusion cell derivative. As apical organization is established, the subapical cell produces two lateral periaxial cells. Carpogonium and carposporophj'te development was followed in Gelidium purpurascens and G. vagum. The functional carpogonium is intercalary. Non-functional carpogonia divide transversely with a concave wall and become sessile and degenerate. The fertilized carpogonium consistenty forms a fusion cell by fusing with adjacent cortical cells. Fusion cell lobes cut off gonimoblast filaments that send out processes that fuse with haploid gametophyte cells of nutritive chains. Carposporangia are produced terminally and laterally by gonimoblast cells and protrude into two locules that have formed as the cortex is pushed away from the plate of second order filaments. Carpospores are released through a single ostiole in each locule. Spermatogenesis, tetrasporogenesis and rhizine morphology were studied ultrastructurally for the first time in Gelidiales. In spermatangial development, apical chloroplasts in the spermatangial mother cell are cut off by a furrow, a mechanism previously not reported in red algae for exclusion of chloroplasts from spermatangia. As the spermatangium matures, spermatangial vacuoles form from the coalescence of vesiculated endoplasmic reticulum and dictyosome-derived vesicles. Spermatangial vacuoles are discharged from the spermatangium just prior to the release of the spermatium. Stages of tetrasporangium development are marked by wall development. Prior to karyokinesis, the young tetrasporangium is dominated by a large nucleus. Following karyokinesis, chloroplasts, starch grains and dictyosomes increase in abundance, a wall layer is deposited, and dictyosomes undergo a series of morphological changes from small and flat, to large and flat producing fibrillar vesicles, to hemispherical and producing cored vesicles. At cytokinesis an electron dense wall layer is deposited around the tetrasporangium and in the cleavage furrow, and cored vesicles secrete a mucilage-like material inside this wall layer.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.