SWATZELL, LUCINDA J.*, SARAH L. NONDORF, and MARIA PALMIERI. Department of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. - Effects of light intensity, light quality, and temperature on Cheilanthes feei spore germination.
Cheilanthes feei is a xerophytic fern that grows exclusively on
dry, exposed calcareous rocks and bluffs. This is an unusual habitat
for a fern. Ferns typically inhabit moist environments. They lack the
evolutionary adaptations possessed by xerophytic species. C.
feei exhibits a few characteristics of xerophytic plants (i.e.
apogamy, protective trichomes). However, it is unclear how the fern
survives the restrictive conditions in its ecological niche. To
determine which factors play a role in the fern's survival, we tested
the effects of temperature, light intensity, and light quality on
spore germination. Results suggest that the optimum conditions for
C. feei spore germination are substantially different than the
environmental conditions that characterize the fern's habitat.
Key words: Cheilanthes feei, germination, spore