seaweed

The Mysteries of Marine Algae, Part Two

Last month’s article pointed out that algae are classified as red, brown or green based on the color of their photosynthetic pigments and their evolutionary lineage. They all have chlorophyll a but only green algae look green. Other pigments mask green chlorophyll a in brown and red algae. In this article you will learn that basing an ID on the color of an alga in an underwater photo won’t always result in the correct classification. I thought I had several photos of green algae but […]

The Mysteries of Marine Algae, Part One

Writing and taking photos for this column has been a journey of discovery and enlightenment. I’ve learned the common names of many marine creatures I encountered (most specifically in SoCal, where I have spent the most time) but didn’t delve into anything bordering on the scientific. I also photographed a lot of “stuff” I couldn’t identify. While looking for material for this column, I’ve made a lot of progress on that.  The Internet is a godsend, but, this article proved more difficult to research than […]

Giant Kelp: The Mainstay of Our Kelp Forests

Has any well-intentioned person ever told you that giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, is the world’s fastest growing plant? Unfortunately, if they have, you have been misinformed.  So, does this mean that there is another plant that grows faster than giant kelp? Or was giant kelp never the fastest growing plant? Maybe your informant meant to say that giant kelp is the world’s fastest growing marine plant. Still not true. Confused? Many are. Here’s the skinny: Not too many years ago your informant would have been […]

Bryozoans: Mother Nature’s Look-Alikes

Ever look at a horse and wonder if it was a pig or a cat? Me neither. I have however, looked at dozens of my photos and wondered if they were actually bryozoans and not the hydroids, corals or seaweeds they resembled.  Mother Nature turned trickster when she created bryozoans. She gave them many different forms and colors. On land, an animal that looks like a horse is very probably a horse. Underwater, an animal that looks like a hydroid, coral or seaweed may just […]

Now’s the Time to Explore A Kelp Forest

“The number of living creatures of all Orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp is wonderful. A great volume might be written, describing the inhabitants of one of these beds of seaweed. I can only compare these great aquatic forests with the terrestrial ones in the inter-tropical regions. Yet, if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of kelp.” This quote is attributed to the renowned […]

Kelpfest — April 16

Kelpfest will be held on Saturday April 16, 2011 on Main Beach in Laguna Beach from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. The Festival was started in 2010 with an aim to “Celebrate Giant Kelp and culture an appreciation for this important ecosystem in the community.” Students from all over Orange County who are involved in the Orange County Ocean Restoration Project put on the event. For the last nine years, students have been growing the kelp in their classrooms to restore it along the coast. This year, […]

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