RL 2000 Home Page

RL 2000: Introduction

RL 2000: Participants

RL 2000 C-Fern Page

A C-Fern World

C-Fern, a specially derived strain of the tropical homosporous fern, Ceratopteris richardii offers a dynamic approach to teaching many basic aspects of plant biology using hands-on activities and inquiry-based investigations and independent student-initiated research.
L a b  C o r e
Description of the Model System
Equipment Requirements
Sources for Spores & Culturing Supplies
Research in the Classroom
Research Questions
C-Fern Technical Assistance
L a b  L i n k
Background Web Links
Adopter Links
Research Links
On-Line Poster Presentations
Discussion Board


C-Fern spores, culture supplies and educational Kits, as well as a comprehensive C-Fern Manual (Hickok and Warne, 1998), are available through Carolina Biological Supply Company. C-Fern Kits, developed for in-class use, highlight major biological principles and provide opportunities for application of integrated skills. The C-Fern Manual provides up to date detailed culture instructions, background material and other supplemental information necessary to successfully implement C-Fern in the classroom.

Because C-Fern has rapid gametophyte and early sporophyte development, exercises typically can be completed within a 2 - 4 week period. Establishment of cultures, observations, analyses of data are carried out weekly and usually take no more than 1-2 hours at each session. All phases of gametophyte growth and differentiation, fertilization and early embryo development can be easily observed using low power microscopy. The rapid development and simple, inexpensive culture requirements also make C-Fern an exceptionally useful organism for independent research projects. A variety of approaches can be used to address many types of questions, limited only by imagination. Large numbers of individuals can be cultured in a very small space, allowing students to work with populations and to obtain large data sets (e.g., growth rate, germination rate, population sex ratio) during a two week culture period.The ability to work with large populations and to closely control experimental conditions enhances the ability to design and carry out meaningful projects. A wide variety of mutant strains are available ranging from striking visual types like polka dot to developmental mutants and types resistant to environmental stresses from agents such as herbicides and salt.

The C-Fern Web Site -- htpp://cfern.bio.utk.edu -- contains information that you or your students can use - from general culture and manipulation instructions to examples of research questions.

Follow the links on theResearch Link 2000 - C-Fern menu box above to learn more....