Fern gametophytes, as the sexual phase of the fern lifecycle, are critically important to fern biology. However, due to their small size and simple morphology, the field ecology of fern gametophytes has for the most part been literally overlooked. I am developing methods that use short diagnostic DNA sequences, or “barcodes,” to identify fern gametophytes so that they can be more easily studied in the field.
Joel H. Nitta, Jean-Yves Meyer, Ravahere Taputuarai, Charles C Davis. Life cycle matters: DNA barcoding reveals contrasting community structure between fern sporophytes and gametophytes. Ecological Monographs 87: 278–296, 2017.
Atsushi Ebihara, A Yamaoka, N Mizukami, A Sakoda, Joel H. Nitta, Ryoko Imaichi. A survey of the fern gametophyte flora of Japan: Frequent independent occurrences of noncordiform gametophytes. American Journal of Botany 100: 735–743, 2013.
Atsushi Ebihara, Joel H. Nitta, M Ito. Molecular species identification with rich floristic sampling: DNA barcoding the pteridophyte flora of Japan. PLoS ONE 5: e15136, 2010.
Joel H. Nitta. Exploring the utility of three plastid loci for biocoding the filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae) of Moorea. Taxon 57: 725–2E, 2008.