Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A slew of fern gametophytes

Our spore growing efforts are really paying off! The species we're growing are from a variety of sources, including the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the greenhouses at Colgate University, and the Duke University herbarium. The latter have proven a little challenging – it's difficult to collect viable spores from herbarium sheets! But we're having success with a number of species in many different families, and it's very interesting to see their various morphologies and growth rates. Quite a few have produced eggs and sperm, found mates (not hard on the crowded petri plates) and made new sporophytes. For the actual experiments, we're moving them to separate plates long before they develop reproductive capacity, so that we can determine whether they're able to self or must have another gametophyte to mate with.

Have a look at some of what we've got growing:
Ceratopteris richardii
Davallia pentaphylla
Davallia pentaphylla
Notholaena californica, already producing farina in the gametophytes and young sporophytes
Notholaena californica 
Pellaea sp., hard to see the gametophytes because of the little sporophytes!
Pityrogramma calomelanos 
Thelypteris sp., with healthy young sporophytes

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