algal life cycles

Scott Shumway Scott_Shumway at
Mon Nov 4 10:07:59 EST 1996

My botany class has reached the point in the semester where we talk about
plant life cycles.  I begin with a generalized diagram of a plant life
cylcle with alternation of generations and tell them that the different
plant divisions tend to follow this pattern, but the relative prominence of
the gametophyte and sporophyte generations differ for the major groups.
Soon afterward we hit the brown algae and most textbooks describe the life
cycle of Fucus which has gametic meiosis and does NOT seem to follow the
general pattern of sporic meiosis.  Is this aberrant among the Phaeophyta?
If it is why do textbooks concentrate on Fucus rather than Laminaria or the
giant kelps that alternate between huge sporophytes and tiny gametophytes?

        I would appreciate advice on how to convey these topics to a class
without confusing students (or the professor).

Scott Shumway
Dept. of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
"Scott_Shumway at"

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