A TOUR TO MODERN CORALLINE ALGAE

PART 1: WHAT ARE CORALLINE ALGAE?

by Michael Rasser

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Five pages will give you an introduction to the anatomy and taxonomy of present-day encrusting coralline algae.

More details are available from the Mainpage


CORALLINE RED ALGAE - WHAT IS THIS?

Encrusting coralline algae (Families Sporolithaceae and Corallinaceae, belonging to the Rhodophyta) are characterized by calcified cell walls forming a rigid skeleton. Living coralline algae have a red thallus surface ("thallus" = plant body), which is caused by the red pigments (therefore, they belong to the Red Algae).

Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte) Coralline algae are one of the most abundant carbonate producers. Encrusting corallines are expected to be important binders and encrusters in present-day and fossil reefs.

Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte) In addition to their binding function in coral reefs, encrusting coralline algae may also form "algal reefs".

Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte) However, not all of the taxa need a stable substrate. Coralline algae may also form unattached nodules (= rhodoliths) and their branches may form thick sediment accumulations (= maerl).

 

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF CORALLINE ALGAE

Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte) Erect forms, composed of flexible branches (geniculate coralline algae)

Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte) Encrusting forms (non-geniculate, encrusting coralline algae)

 

Only the latter are regarded in this homepage!

nongeniculate-bush.gif (36513 Byte)

wpe1.jpg (742 Byte) geniculate coralline algae

nongeniculate (encrusting) Roter_Pfeil.gif (101 Byte)

non-geniculate.gif (21405 Byte)
image from D. Keats

 

The next page will show you, how nongeniculate algae are composed.


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