Algae growing on Algae!

If you have seen our blog before you may have stumbled across the mention of pink tumble weeds of the sea.  Rhodoliths are calcareous (like coral, or teeth) algae and form large beds of many pink, branchy, tumbleweed like individuals.  Our very own Paul Tompkins defended his thesis on rhodoliths in Catalina May 19th.  Check this out (thesis, seahorses, open house, Kristin or just type rhodolith in the search bar) for our previous blogs on rhodoliths.

In looking for algae in rhodolith beds in Baja, during the MLML’s Spring Ecology of the Gulf of California class, I found that the other algae in rhodolith beds actually grew on rhodoliths, who are algae themselves.  This means that algae is growing on algae!  Many different species were seen growing on rhodoliths such as the brown balloon like Colpomenia (pictured above) and the brown net like Hydroclathrus (pictured below).  As you can see it was an algae party at some sites in Baja.

i flipped these algae over and found they were attached to rhodoliths, who are algae themselves.