The "Bewildering Brush"

  FHL Marine Botany  ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::   Taxonomy | Habitat | Morphology | Life History | Ecology | In + Around


Life History

Oh so complex!
Red algal life cycles can be difficult to understand.



Odonthalia tetraspores. Branchlets ~1 mm length


Close-up of tetraspores. Branchlet width ~85 um.





Like most of the Rhodomelaceae, Odonthalia spp. are dioecious (1) with isomorphic sporophytes and gametophytes. Male and female gametophytes produce spermatangia and procarps, respectively. Tetrasporophytes develop from carpospores that are released from cystocarps on the female gametophyte. These produce tetrasporangia, and the tetraspores eventually grow into dioecious gametophytes (2).





Adapted from





1) Lee, Robert Edward. Phycology. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

2) Masuda, M., Uwai, S., and Kogame, K. 1998. Developmental morphology of Odonthalia floccosa (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) in laboratory culture. Phycological Research 46: 239-251.

    Website created by Audrey Djunaedi in May 2009 as the final project for Biol 445 Marine Botany, Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington. All images created by the author unless noted otherwise. Photo permission/questions may be directed to auddju "-at-" u.