Growth Dynamics of Independent Gametophytes of Pleurosoriopsis makinoi (Polypodiaceae)


Despite their importance to the fern life cycle, little is known about the ecology of fern gametophytes due to their cryptic morphology and small size. This study documents growth dynamics over five years in a population of Pleurosoriopsis makinoi gametophytes growing independently of sporophytes in Okutama-machi, Tokyo, Japan. Cover was measured in four 10×10 cm quadrats, and the number and size of gemmae born on gametophytes measured ca. every two months from March 2009 to March 2014. The population survived for the duration of the study, and no seasonality was observed in the cover measurements. Gemmae gradually grow throughout the spring and summer, and mostly detach in winter. Based on our preliminary comparison between the microenvironment of the independent gametophyte site and a site supporting sporophytes of the same species, a possible cause of suppression of sporophyte formation is low light conditions in winter due to planting of evergreen conifers.

Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Series B (Botany), Tokyo 45: 77–86
Joel H. Nitta
Joel H. Nitta
Project Research Associate

My research interests fern systematics, community ecology, and reproducible analysis.