Cheilanthes lanosa is a xerophytic fern that inhabits rock cliffs and crevices. Morphological features such as cuticle and trichomes assist sporophyte survival. However, the gametophyte stage appears to lack any water-saving features. Previous studies suggest that the gametophyte may balance its water through carbohydrate production and a strong internal osmotic gradient. To investigate the basis for gametophyte survival, lipids and carbohydrates were quantified using the vanillin and anthrone assays. Results suggest that lipids and carbohydrates increase in percent of total biomass (w/w) throughout development. In addition, lipid and carbohydrate content can change with varying culture conditions. Young gametophytes, with high carbohydrate and low lipid content, are relegated to substrates with a potential for a small but continuous water source.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2