A population of Gelidium latifolium (Greville) Bornet et Thuret (Rhodophyta) from Portstewart, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was dominated by tetrasporophytes. When grown in culture, excised tips from 10 non-reproductive individuals all formed tetrasporangial branches. Chromosome counts in mitotic nuclei of vegetative cells from cultured tetrasporophytic apices were 58 +/- 4 chromosomes. In nuclei of dividing tetrasporocytes there were 29 +/- 2 larger bodies that were interpreted as paired meiotic chromosomes. Field-collected tetrasporophytes from Islandmagee. County Antrim. also showed approximately 29 pairs of chromosomes during meiosis in tetrasporocytes, This is the first report of meiosis in G. latifolium and the first direct demonstration of meiosis in this commercially important genus. In germinating tetraspores, the haploid nucleus initially divided prior to or during formation of the germination tube. The two daughter nuclei then underwent synchronous mitoses to form four haploid nuclei (n = 29 +/- 2), only one of which entered the germination tube. The sporeling survival rate was low, and few plants grew to maturity. The largest of these was diploid, with 55-58 chromosomes, and formed spermatangia after 14 months in culture. Other plants, which were abnormally bushy and densely branched, failed to reproduce. Since the most vigorous individual (and possibly also the other survivors) had apparently diploidized spontaneously during development, it is possible that the lack of gametophytes in the local G. latifolium population results from poor viability of haploid sporelings.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|