The time course of turgor regulation of the euryhaline giant-celled alga, Chara buckellii, is presented. Isolated intermodal cells were challenged by increasing or decreasing the external osmotic pressure by 150 milliosmoles per kilogram with all ions in the media or by dilution, respectively. Regulation following hypotonic stress was complete within 48 hours whereas regulation following hypertonic stress required between 96 and 144 hours. The change in internal osmotic pressure could be entirely accounted for by changes in vacuolar KCl in response to hypotonic stress, but this ion pair only accounted for 45% of the change in response to hypertonic stress. The membrane potential of C. buckellii is normally hyperpolarized with respect to the equilibrium potential for K+ (EK). The membrane depolarized to a level close to EK in response to hypotonic treatment and this was accompanied by a transient increase in membrane conductance. In response to hypertonic stress, the membrane hyperpolarized transiently, then repolarized to a level close to the control. This was accompanied by a temporary decrease in membrane conductance. The data are discussed with respect to the ecological significance of the time course and ion transport mechanisms during turgor regulation.