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Keywords:

  • adhesion vesicles;
  • brown algae;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • flagella;
  • kelp;
  • Laminariales;
  • microtubules;
  • Phaeophyceae;
  • ultrastructure;
  • zoospores

ABSTRACT

Zoospores of 17 species in 14 genera of Laminariales, collected in the northeast Pacific Ocean, were studied by electron microscopy. These zoospores are unique in the brown algae in lacking both an eyespot in the single chloroplast and any associated swelling at the base of the shorter, posterior flagellum. Spores of all species examined possess a distal whiplash portion on the longer, mastigoneme-bearing anterior flagellum. This appendage may sometimes be as long as the mastigoneme-bearing portion of the flagellum, but it is only seldom preserved in the preparations for electron microscopy. A microtubular cytoskeleton is probably responsible for maintaining the shape of the spore. It consists of a short band of about 10 microtubules between the two basal bodies, scattered tubules converging at the anterior of the spore, a band of 7–9 tubules directed anteriorly from the anterior basal body, and a band directed posteriorly from the posterior basal body. These anterior and posterior bands may form one continuous band looping around the periphery of the spore. Variation with possible taxonomic significance was found in the ultrastructure of vesicles which apparently contain adhesive material, and which are extruded through the plasmalemma when the zoospores settle.