This colourful and interesting pattern of seaweeds was growing as an extensive mat on the flat rock outcrop called Perry Ledge at Ringstead Bay, Dorset. It mostly shows the brown seaweed known as Egg or Knotted Wrack, Latin name Ascophyllum nodosum (Linnaeus) Jolie.
Egg Wrack typically is a robust, leathery, olive green alga with no midrib to the blade. Large egg-shaped air bladders that act as floats are spaced at intervals along the blades. The bright yellow objects (resembling sultanas on stalks) are the reproductive bodies that release the spores into the water.
I particularly like the way the weed is apparently artfully arranged (actually that is just how I found it – I did not rearrange this for effect); also the contrasting colours of dark green, bright yellow and deep red; and the combination of textures from leathery, to granular, and moss-like.
The photographs show the Egg Wrack living in association with the red seaweed Polysiphonia lanosa (Linnaeus) Tandy. This short red tufted alga is usually attached – sometimes in great numbers as in the pictures – around the stalk of the reproductive bodies of the Egg Wrack.
COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011