Porphyra nereocystis is epiphytic (real close neighbor to) on the Bullwhip Kelp, genus name Nereocystis. Porphyra as most know it, is commonly called nori. If you eat sushi, then you have probably seen Porphyra. It’s the seaweed that
your uncooked fish is wrapped in at the sushi bars.
Porphyra, commonly know as nori, is the most widely consumed seaweed in the world! It’s commonly found in Asian food, especially Japanese food, which has lead to the huge nori industry in Japan. With a very interesting
heteromorphic life history, Porphyra has just everything you would want in an alga! And they’re great to eat!
Otherwise known as the Bullwhip Kelp, Nereocystis is one of the giant kelps that make the great kelp forests, where sea otters and other critters live. Washed up on the beach they may look like dismembered tentacles of mythic sea creatures, or horrendously huge pieces of spaghetti. They have been used to weave baskets and also make great musical instruments.
Pelvetia compressa (now Silvetia compressa) is a common rocky intertidal brown alga on the west coast of North America ranging from Coos Bay, Oregon to lower California (Ensenada.)
Resembling a dwarf Fucus, and even behaving like Fucus (if one were to believe that algae can behave in specific manners at all), Pelvetiopsis grows mostly atop of rocks in the upper intertidal zone. One way to distinguish these two from each other, is to look for a midrib. Fucus has a midrib and Pelvetiopsis lacks the midrib. Also, believe it or not, if you squeeze the receptacles (swollen tips) of Fucus, an ooze will come out.
This ooze undoubtedly contains Fucus eggs which if you have microscopic vision, you can see that the eggs are composed of 8, yes count them 8 functional eggs. Pelvetiopsis on the other foot, only has 1 functional egg.
Greek myths describe Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, as a messenger for the Olympian deities. The characteristics of the alga Iridaea flaccida strikingly reflect its namesake. The same properties of light which produce a rainbow provide Iridaea’s surface with its brilliant iridescence.
Vibrant colors wash across the thallus surface due to the multilayered construction of its cuticle. Flaccida subtly manages to communicate its phase of life history to the casual observer–yet it lives an isomorphic existence. Both its iridescent cuticle and the differences in blade strength between its life phases provide insights into the adaptations of wave-swept algae to mechanical stress.
Ulva is very common along California in bays as well as heavily exposed sites and easily recognized by the small holes in the thallus. Ulva is a genus of algae that includes species that look like bright green sheets and live primarily in marine environments. They can also be found in brackish water, particularly estuaries. They live attached to
rocks in the middle to low intertidal zone, and as deep as 10 meters in calm, protected harbors. Ulva are usually seen in dense groups.
Commonly known as the sea lettuce or the green laver, Ulva species can be eaten in soups and salads, and used as a substitute for nori (Porphyra), the popular seaweed in sushi. Ten species of Ulva exist worldwide, all of which have representation on the coast of California. The shapes of Ulva are quite varied- circular to oval to long and narrow, ranging in size from microscopic to 65 cm. They have fine, silky textures with waved or ruffled margins. The delicate blades of Ulva are usually only 40 microns thick.
This alga characteristically has a ribbon-like thallus, and we have found it growing abundantly in semi-sheltered habitats.
The common name of this seaweed is the “sea palm”. It grows on the tops of rocks in areas associated with intense wave action. When they reach maturity, spores are produced that slime off of the sharply attenuated blades during low tide, where they then settle and differentiate.
Fucus, pronounced like mucus, is a funny looking alga that grows in the upper intertidal zone. The inflated ends are called receptacles (these house reproductive parts, i.e. eggs and sperm), and they are fun to pop. But be careful, because Fucus sometimes feels like mucus.
Limpets are in the group of sea snails that are found all over the world. You will find them clinging to rocks. Their homes are usually a scraped out region of a rock as large and as thick as their shells. During the day, they look for food. They live on algae. Limpets use their tongues to scrape algae off the rocks.