Dr. Curt M. Pueschel
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
BA, University of Missouri at Columbia
MA, PhD, Cornell University
Office: Science III - G88
Cell structure and biology of the algae
I have a special interest in the unique intercellular connections, called pit plugs, found in red algae. My explorations of structural variation of pit plugs has involved study of over 180 species from around the world, and this work has contributed significantly to reorganization of the ordinal classification of red algae. However, many questions concerning the development, structure, and function of these intriguing connections remain. Other projects have addressed chloroplast structure, differentiation and germination of spores, cell wall calcification, protein storage, fungal and viral infections, and calcium oxalate mineralization.
Increasingly, my interest has been drawn to the ecology of one of the most important groups of red algae, the heavily calcified Corallinales (http://www.botany.uwc.ac.za/clines/tem2.htm). Members of this order occupy more hard substrate in the marine environment than any other group of macroscopic organisms. We are studying cell fine structure to elucidate the mechanisms by which coralline algae respond to important environmental factors, such as grazing, surface fouling, and infra- and interspecific competition for substratum.