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Acetabularia crenulata (Mermaid’s wineglass) is a species of single-celled, uninucleate, green alga. Acetabularia share a similar morphology: a rhizoid (root-like structure where the nucleus is located), a single stalk, and an umbrella-like cap that varies depending upon the species. The stalk of A. crenulata can vary from 25mm to 100mm, while the diameter of the cap can range from 7 mm to 15 mm; this species has been known to form multiple caps (Berger et al., 2003). Since the single nucleus of A. crenulata is located in the rhizoid, the cap and some of the stem can be removed and the cell will regenerate (Hackett et al., 1963).
This species goes through three phases during its lifecycle. The first is elongation, where the stalk grows from the zygote. Next is the formation of the cap at the end of the stalk. Both of these phases can be manipulated by changes in the environment, such as alterations to light-dark cycles. The final step is maturation, where the nucleus replicates to create gametes, which are released through the cap (Terborgh and Thimann, 1965).
A. crenulata can be found in tropical waters all over the world; from the Caribbean Sea to the coast of Brazil, along islands in the Indian Ocean and off the coast of Indonesia and the Philippines, to name a few (Guiry and Guiry, 2014). A. crenulata is utilized for research because it is readily availability and techniques for culturing it in the laboratory are well established (Santiago-Vazquez and Jacobs, 2005). Acetabularia are opportune organisms for studying cellular biology because they are relatively large and unicellular (Mandoli, 1998). Other areas of research that utilize this species include the study of circadian rhythm, fatty acid composition, and oxylipin biosynthesis (Hellebust et al., 1967; Santiago-Vazquez and Jacobs, 2005).