The Plants

Kelp This page will cover the Marine Plants. Unlike the usual plants you see every day Marine Algae have no root system, stems, leaves or flowers. Instead they have three main parts; the blade (leaf), the stipe (stem) and holdfast (roots). The plant phylums are classified acording to pigmentation, general structure, food-storage products, and reproductive patterns.

Blue-Green Algae

Blue Green Algea will be a common site an tidepools. It is the blackish color found on rocks at the high tide line. Lacking Chloroplasts and Nuclei these are very simple and primitive organisms, simalar in structure to bacteria. However it is very old. This algae was around two billon years ago. To prevent drying out at low tide, Blue Green Algae forms an outer wet layer, it is extremely slippery, so be very carefull.

Green Algea
Land plats are belived to have derived from this ancestral stock. Green Algea gets it's color from lacking accessory pigments. Sea Lettuce is really the only plant you're likely to see that belongs to the green algae. It's name may give it away, but Sea Lettuce is actually edible (please don't go by the same judgment for the sea cucumber)! Though if you're not much into eating something that tastes like plastic bags, this may not be for you, but feel free to give it a try. A rubbery sheet of this plant is two cells thick look for it attached to rocks using its inconspicuous perennial holdfast.

Brown Algea
Usually an Olive-Brown color many plants in this phylum have float bladders to keep them exposed to sunlight during high tide. The picture above is an example of Brown Algae. It is kelp, the fastest growning marine plant. Growning as much as 10 feet a day this plant can exceed a total of 300 ft! Kelp is another widely used product. It can be found in medicinal products, paints, as a source of vitamins, salt substitute and auto polish and adheseves.
You will also see two other types of very common Brown Algae. Knotted Wrack, and Bladder Wrack. These two very simmilar algeas, both have float bladders. The only major difference between the two is that Bladder Wrack is longer then Knotted Wrack.

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Red Algae Red Algae is the most advanced group of plants. They're so advanced they can be found both in tidepools and at debths of over 600ft due to their abilitty to absorb longer wavelengths of light. You might not know it, but you may use red algea every day. For instance the carrageenin of Irish Moss can be found in ice cream, toothpastes, lipstick, jells... This widely used plant can be found in lower and subtidal zones. This short, but terf-like algae dominates space in lower zones. Irish Moss has flat, branched blades and a small holdfast. Underwater its tips look iridescent blue. Now, how about seeing Map of Irish Moss ocurences in my area of Durham, New Hampshire.