Bright green/red seaweeds at Studland

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Seaweed picture: Vivid golden green Rhodophyte seaweed washed up on the sand of Studland Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (P1120319aBlog1). 

A whole bunch of luminously bright green seaweed was washed up on the sand at Studland in early July. It was curious in seeming to be in various shades of green transitioning to red. Some of the seaweeds were both red and green on the same frond. I think they are all the same type but come up against my limitations as an amateur botanist when it comes to their identification. I am pretty sure they are all in fact Rhodophyceae, the red seaweed group. It is well known that red algae will turn green if they live in shallow water through which they receive a lot of sunlight.

My best guess right now is that they mostly belong to the Gracilaria genus. Each seaweed consists of a tuft of glistening, almost gelatinous, cylindrical filaments or fronds without a midrib. The fronds divide in an irregular way that I have been unable to match up with any descriptions in textbooks or online. I really should have spread out the fronds to display them properly for a final photograph to help me with discerning their exact character. Perhaps someone could help me out with naming the algae in the photographs? Whatever, they were decorative, colourful, and curious so I have compiled a small slide show to illustrate their variations.

Revision of a post first published 19 July 2009


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