Hellenica World

Charales

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Charophyta
Ordo: Charales
Familia: Characeae

Name

Charales Dumortier

References

* Algaebase [1]

Vernacular names

Charales is an order of pondweeds, freshwater algae in the division Charophyta. They are green plants believed to be the closest relatives of the green land plants. Linnaeus established the genus Chara in 1753.


Description

The Charales have large, macroscopic thalli growing up to 120 cm long, they are branched, multicellular, and use chlorophyll to photosynthesize. They grow in fresh water. They may be called stoneworts,[1] because the plants can become encrusted in lime (calcium carbonate) after some time. The "stem" is actually a central stalk consisting of giant, multinucleated cells. They are unique in having a whorl of small branchlets at each node in the stipe, this gives them a superficial resemblance to the genus Equisetum. In these whorls it is possible to see the phenomenon of cytoplasmic streaming. In fact the streaming in Chara is the fastest recorded of any cell. Cytoplasmic streaming is caused by the microfilaments found inside the cell, as proven by the use of cytochalasin B to stop streaming.

There are about 400 species worldwide, with 33 in Britain and Ireland according to Groves and Bullock-Webster),[2][3] however (Stewart and Church (1992) reduce this to 21.[4]

Species


British Isles

Ref: Stewart & Church (1992).[4]

Chara baltica Bruz.
Chara canescens Desv. & Lois.
Chara connivens Salzm. ex A.Braun
Chara curta Nolta wx Kütz. (=C.aspera var. curta)
Chara denudata (A.Braun) R.D.Wood
Chara fragifera Durieu
Chara intermedia Braun (=C. papillosa Kütz. and C. contraria x hispida)
Chara mucosa J.Groves & Bullock-Webster
Chara rudis (A.Braun) Leonh.
Chara tomentosa L.
Lamprothamnium papulosum (Wallr.) J.Groves
Nitella capillaris (Krocker) J.Groves & Bullock-Webster
Nitella gracilis (Smith) Agardh
Nitella hyalina (DC.)Agardh
Nitella mucronata (A.Braun)Miquel
Nitella spanioclema J.Groves & Bullock-Webster (Nitella flexilis var. spanioclema (J.Groves & Bullock-Webster)
Nitella tenuissima (Desv.) Kütz.
Nitellopsis obtusa (Desv.) J.Groves
Tolypella[verification needed] intricata (Trent. ex Roth) Leonh.
Tolypella nidifica (O.F.Müll.) Leonh. (= Tolypella nidifica var. nidifica)
Tolypella prolifera (Ziz. ex A.Braun) Leonh.


Other regions

Family Chaetosphaeridiaceae[5]
Chaetosphaeridium globosum (Nordst.) Klebahn, 1893
Chaetosphaeridium ovalis G. M. Smith, 1916
Chaetosphaeridium pringsheimii Klebahn, 1892
Conochaete comosa Klebahn, 1893[6]
Diplochaete solitaria Collins, 1901


Distribution

Ireland

Co. Antrim[7]
C.aspera Deth. ex Willd. var. aspera
C. globularis Thuill. var. globularis
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
C. globularis var. virgata (Kützing) R.D.Wood
C. vulgaris L. var. vulgaris
C. vulgaris L. var. contraria (A.Braun ex Kützing) J.A. Moore
C. vulgaris var. longibracteata (Kützing) J. Groves & Bullock-Webster
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
Nitella flexilis (L.) var. flexilis
Nitella translucens (Pers.) C.A. Ag.
Tolypella nidifica (O. Mill.) Leonh. var. glomerata (Desv.) R.D.Wood
Co. Down[7]
C. aspera Deth. ex Willd. var. aspera
C. aspera var. curta (Nolte ex Kützing) Braun ex Leonh.
C. globularis Thuill. var. globularis
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
C. globularis var. virgata (Kützing) R.D.Wood
C. globularis var. annulata (Lilleblad) J.A.Moore
C. hispida L.
C. hispida var. hispida
C. hispida var. major (Hartm.) R.D. Wood
C. hispida var. rudis A. Braun
C. pedunculata Kützing
C. vulgaris L. var. vulgaris
C. vulgaris L. var. contraria (A.Braun ex Kützing) J.A. Moore
C. vulgaris var. longibracteata (Kützing) J. Groves & Bullock-Webster
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
Nitella flexilis (L.) var. flexilis
Nitella translucens (Pers) C.A. Ag.
Tolypella nidifica (O. Mill.) Leonh. var. glomerata (Desv.) R.D.Wood
Co. Londonderry[7]
C.aspera Deth. ex Willd. var. aspera
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
C. globularis Thuill. var. globularis
C. globularis var. virgata (Kützing) R.D.Wood
C. hispida L.
C. hispida var. hispida
C. vulgaris L. var. vulgaris
C. vulgaris L. var. contraria (A.Braun ex Kützing) J.A. Moore
C. vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun
Nitella flexilis (L.) var. flexilis
Nitella translucens (Pers) C.A. Ag.
Tolypella nidifica (O. Mill.) Leonh. var. glomerata (Desv.) R.D.Wood
Co. Mayo.Recent records have been published from Clare Island.[8]
C. virgata Kützing
N. flexilis (Linnaeus) C.Agardh
N. translucens (Persoon) C.Agardh


Ecology

The Characeae are aquatic though some can survive in brackish or maritime habitats. They are to be found usually in still, clear, non-flowing, water attached by rhizoids. They can be pioneer colonizers or ephemerals.[9] They are usually found in low to medium nutrient-rich water and tend to disappear due to eutrophication.

Life history

The antheridia and oogonia are protected by a layer of sterile cells when mature; the oogonium is oblong in shape and consists of a single egg, while the spherical antheridium is packed with threadlike cells that produce spermatia. As a result, the Charales have the most complex structure of all green algae, if indeed they should be so labelled.

The possible ancestors of the land plants are also known as brittleworts or skunkweed. These curious labels arise from the fragility of their lime-encrusted stems, and from the foul odor these produce when stepped on.

Many botanists propose that the stoneworts and their relatives be placed in a phylum, division, sub-kingdom, or even kingdom by themselves, often named Charophyta. Their classification by taxonomists is currently undergoing much cladistic scrutiny. Further DNA and RNA analysis may prove the charophytes to be a crucial evolutionary link in the phylogenetic tree of life, the critical developmental step from the algae toward the non-vascular and then vascular land plants.

References

^ Kapraun DF (April 2007). "Nuclear DNA content estimates in green algal lineages: chlorophyta and streptophyta". Ann. Bot. 99 (4): 677–701. doi:10.1093/aob/mcl294. PMC 2802934. PMID 17272304.
^ Groves, J. and Bullock-Webster, G.R. 1920. The British Charophyta. Vol.1, Nitelleae. London, The Ray Society
^ Groves, J. and Bullock-Webster, G.R. 1924. The British Charophyta. Vol.2, Characeae.. London, The Ray Society
^ a b Stewart, N.F. and Church, J.M. 1992. Red Data Books of Britain and Ireland. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. ISBN 1-873701-24-1
^ ITIS Standard Report Page: Chaetosphaeridiaceae
^ Algaebase :: Species Detail
^ a b c Morton, O. 1992 in Hackney, P. (Ed.) Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast ISBN 0-85389-446-9 (HB)
^ Guiry, M.D., John, D.M., Rindi, F. and McCarthy, T.K 2007. New Survey of Clare Island Volume:6: The Freshwater and Terrestial Algae. Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 978-1-904890-3-7
^ John, D.M., Whitton, B.A. and Brook, A.J. 2002. The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, London. ISBN 0-521-77051-3

Further reading

Bryant, J. The stoneworts (Chlorophyta, Charales). In Guiry, M.D., John, D.M., Rindi, F. and McCarthy, T.K. 2007. New Survey of Clare Island. Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 978-904890-31-7.
Lloyd, James. 2007. "Cytoskeletal Structures Responsible for Cytoplasmic Streaming in Chara." St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Accordance with Dr. Donald Ott of The University of Akron. (Science Inquiry)
Schaible, R. and Schubert, H. 2008. The ccurrence of sexual Chara canesces populations (Charophyceae) is not related to ecophysiological potentials with respect to salinity and irradiance. Eur. J. Phycol. 43: 309 - 316.
Desai, Udaysingh and Karande C.T. 2008. "Biodiversity of Charophytes from Kolhapur District, Maharashtra". Shivaji University, Kolhapur.

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