Porphyra corallicola H.Kucera & G.W.Saunders (A)

This species, known only from the type, forms a network of branched filaments of irregularly shaped cells penetrating a dead crustose coralline alga that was overgrown by Peyssonnelia rosenvingei Schmitz (Image A). In culture, the vegetative filaments form dense clumps with branches typically occurring at 90 degrees (Image B). Vegetative cells are rectangular to irregular in outline, varying from 4-12 µm wide by 19-55 µm long, and contain parietal plastids (Image C). Putative archeosporangia are formed singly (Image D) or in short chains (Image E) and range from 12-19 µm wide by 10-20 µm long, and commonly germinate in situ.

Our comprehension of this species is based on the type and only collection from Maces Bay, NB. The discovery was based on a failed attempt to culture Peyssonnelia rosenvingei Schmitz, but which nonetheless resulted in a culture of what was the filamentous Conchocelis stage (sporophyte) for what molecular data revealed to be a novel species of the genus Porphyra (Kucera & Saunders 2012). In attempting to publish this new species, reviewers argued that it should not be named because only the sporophyte stage was known. There is a degree of hypocrisy in this view in that every other bangialean species published is based on only the gametophyte stage. Further, it could be that this is an asexual species restricted to this phase (i.e. lacks a gametophyte), just as there are published asexual bangialean species restricted to the gametophyte stage.

Image A. Section (aniline blue stained) revealing the irregular and branched filaments of the holotype growing in a crustose coralline overtopped by Peyssonnelia rosenvingei Schmitz (GWS000759) (low intertidal, Maces Bay, Bay of Fundy, NB; GWSC014).

Image B. Typical portion of a clump of filaments in culture displaying the overall habit of this species (GWSC014).

Image C. Close up of the vegetative cells in culture revealing their irregular shape and parietal plastids (GWSC014).

Image D. Putative archeosporangia formed singly on vegetative cells in culture (GWSC014).

Image E. Putative archeosporangia formed in chains (GWSC014).