Sunday, October 2, 2011

red seaweed ~ 10/02/11 ~ Shoreline Park

red seaweed / red algae

Last year, during the period of time from the autumnal equinox through October, I captured brown algae (kelp) at Asilomar State Beach and green algae (sea lettuce) at the Monterey Municipal Beach. Without prior intention, I am completing my algae collection with red, even though not all red algae is actually the color red. Just like last year, I again heard the waves starting to crash just before the equinox, which likely break up whatever is growing near the shore. I'm impressed the ocean has seasons just like on land. Like leaves littered on the forests floors, the beaches are littered with seaweed during autumn.

As much as I wanted to place an ID, if only to genus, on this red seaweed, any guess I make would be pure speculation. I even had questions as to how the red seaweed I see on the beach is related to the harmless "red tide" algae. There are macroalgae and microalgae. Lost in the Landscape has an interesting blog post about red tide causing bioluminescent waves. It's all a bit confusing to me, and I've got a lot to learn.

The larger much more impressive giant kelp seems to get all the algae attention around these parts, and information on red algae is difficult to find. The best local sites I've found that picture red algae are:
Stanford's SeaNet Rocky Shore Red Seaweeds
Stanford's SeaNet Subtidal Red Seaweeds
MBARI's Monterey Bay Flora Rhodophyta
CSU Sonoma's Marine Algae of Northern California


Imperfect and tense said...

I'm afraid that the only seaweed experts I know are all North Ronaldsay sheep. And I suspect they categorise seaweed by taste rather than any Linnaean system. Each to their own, eh?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Ha! I did read that some red seaweeds are quite tasty.