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Ultrastructure of the corallinaceae. I. The vegetative cells of Corallina officinalis and C. cuvierii

Borowitzka, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0001-6504-4563 and Vesk, M. (1978) Ultrastructure of the corallinaceae. I. The vegetative cells of Corallina officinalis and C. cuvierii. Marine Biology, 46 (4). pp. 295-304.

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A technique utilizing combined fixation and gentle decalcification has been employed to study the ultrastructure of the vegetative cells of the articulated calcareous coralline algae Corallina officinalis Linnaeus and C. cuvierii Lamouroux (Rhodophyta: Cryptonemiales). The epidermal cells are distinctive, with many cell wall inggrowths which pass between the chloroplasts. It is suggested that these cells function as “transfer cells”. The epidermal cells contain no starch, although the chloroplasts have well developed photosynthetic lamellae. Damage to these epidermal cells leads to formation of new cells by renewed division of sub-epidermal meristematic cells. The outer cortical cells have few small vacuoles and many plastids, with an extensive photosynthetic lamellar system. Deeper into the thallus, the vacuoles increase in size and free cytoplasmic starch grains occur. The medullary cells have a very large vacuole and in older tissue often appear dead. The long genicular cells have calcareous walls at either end while the wall in the middle of these cells is non-calcareous and has an inner fibrillar layer and a thin outer “cuticle”. In partially decalcified material, the orientation of the CaCO3 (calcite) crystals next to the cells can clearly be seen. Immediately next to the cell the crystals are fairly small and arranged at right angles to the plasmalemma. Further away from the cell the crystal size is larger and their orientation is more random. The crystals are surrounded by organic material, and the possible rôle of this material in calcification in coralline algae is discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 1978 Springer-Verlag
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