Viane Pteridology Lab

Morphology, anatomy and cytology of ferns

Cell wall diversity and evolution

About the lab

Pteridology research at Ghent University started with the investigation of stomata types by Van Cotthem. Subsequent micromorphological studies provided contributions on indument characters and perispore traits in various families, as well as publications on taxonomic and floristic aspects. We recently initiated a new research line on cell wall diversity and evolution.


C-Fern, a derived cultivar of the tropical homosporous fern Ceratopteris richardii, is a broadly useful model system that possesses a suite of characteristics and developmental features that make it ideal for research.


Knowledge of fern cytology and chromosome base numbers has rapidly increased since the publication of Irene Manton's book Problems of cytology and evolution in the Pteridophyta in 1950. We routinely correlate chromosome counts with flow cytometry analyses.

Plant Cell Walls

Plant cell walls are crucial cell components and determine modes of development, specifically cell division, cell enlargement, cell adhesion, and cell differentiation processes. They serve to maintain the shape of plant cells thereby greatly contributing to the structural integrity and morphology of the entire plant. They are dynamic and hence constantly remodeled and reconstructed during evolution and development and in response to environmental stress or pathogen attacks. Our aim is to understand how cell wall diversity (in composition and structure) is implicated in plant terrestrialisation and vascularization and with the evolution of specific tissues and cell types. We are currently investigating collenchyma cell walls of Apium graveolens (in collaboration with Dr. ZoĆ« Popper, NUI Galway, Ireland).