Saturday, September 1, 2012

seaweeds ~ 09/01/12 ~ Asilomar Beach

delicate sea lace
Microcladia coulteri

posted 09/10/12 - As I was looking for barnacles the other day in a beachcomber's guide (Thanks, Jennifer!), I found a picture of a red algae that looked very much like this one. Finally, here's an easy ID... or so I thought. I took the name winged fronds, aka winged rib (Delesseria decipiens), from the book to obtain links for my blog post, but what I found online didn't look anything like what was pictured in the book. Bad photo or incorrect ID in the book, I can't say for sure. However, I discovered there are an almost identical form of Microcladia californica and a similar looking species Plocamium pacificum to what I have pictured here. It's difficult to know with certainty, because IDing a small piece of algae washed up on the beach is like trying to ID a plant solely on one dried leaf blown in from who knows where. Both Delesseria decipiens and Plocamium pacificum are saxicolous, meaning they grow on rocks, whereas Microcladia coulteri and M. californica are epiphytic on other algae.

Macrocystis pyrifera or M. integrifolia and Chondracanthus corymbiferus or C. exasperatus

Geez, I only wanted to show the amazing different textures of these brown and red algal blades. I didn't realize there were different spp. found locally. Without seeing the entire seaweed, it's difficult to know for sure. Note the epiphytic Microcladia on the Turkish towel. As an aside, many brown marine algae are known as kelp. Seaweed is an informal term for marine green, brown, and red algae.

Egregia menziesii (now includes E. laevigata)

Finally, a seaweed that I absolutely know the ID. This post took me several mornings to research (click all the blue highlighted links), and I ended up feeling like I was banging my head against an intertidal rock. There's an incredible world of underwater life that very few people appreciate unless it happens to wash ashore in its dying and broken form. I'd love to take up scuba diving or go out on marine watching boats, but alas the hole in my eardrum keeps me from going underwater at any depth and I get terribly seasick. I probably should resign myself into simply saying, "Oooh, pretty seaweed."


Imperfect and tense said...

Well, they ARE pretty seaweed!

With groovy names too :o)

biobabbler said...

ooh, that turkish towel is a new one on me--nice! Not everyone is built for seafaring. And if you are on the beach and well-informed, you can probably help a LOT more people figure out what they're looking at than if you were SCUBA diving... =)

I love the visual I get every time someone says feather boa kelp. Of course, someone holding it behind their arms/shoulders, shimmying with it, salt water flinging, barnacles dropping, sand everywhere. =) And that unmistakable, evocative scent. Ah, I miss the ocean!!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, the names are fun, aren't they!?!

Oh, bb, it's such a shame I live within a block of the ocean and get so seasick. Once I took my nephew out on a whale watching trip. Within the 3 minutes it took to get past the Coast Guard breakwater, I was already sick, even with a couple doses of Dramamine and a whole bag of sugared ginger. The following 4 hours were sheer h*ll! Ya, you sure do live in a different environment now on the border of Yosemite. What's up with the hantavirus going on there?

Jennifer said...

I had no idea that kelp and seaweed are actually algae.
Pretty interesting stuff! Steve and I hope to go sea kayaking at some point - I want to get up close and personal with all that kelp - and sea otters too!