Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Eugene Hoffman, Kenneth Nicely, Gary Dillard

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


This investigation represents the first electron microscopic study of spore germination in the fern Woodwardia virginica (L.) Smith. Samples of fern spores were induced into synchronous division by a dark, red light and white light sequence and examined for the early events of germination. During early germination the nucleus, which was located in a central position, assumed a pointed trailing end and a broadened amoeboid proximal face while migrating to a proximal position in the spore. At this time the nucleus became spherical, and chromosomes began to condense even before the disruption of the nuclear envelope. Chloroplastid and mitochondrial structure give clues to the phylogenetic position of Woodwardia. It was determined that chloroplast structure in the protonema resembled that for other organisms intermediate between the bryophytes and angiosperms. The mitochondria contained both tubular and flattened cristae, again indicating an intermediate position for the ferns. Scanning electron microscopy was used to study the spore and spore germination through the second mitotic division of the basal cell.


Biology | Life Sciences

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