Virtual museum of Canada
Collections from Storage: A Visit to our Hidden Treasures

Delicate Sea Lace

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There are more than 4,000 species of red algae. In spite of their name, algae in this group are not always red, but may be green, purple, yellow, brown or black. This colour variation is due to the presence of subsidary pigments, including phycoerythrine, which makes algae turns red, and phycocyanine, which gives them their blue colour.
The specimen presented here belongs to the species Microcladia coulteri, a red alga with many branches, often found attached to another species of algae. The delicate plume and its miniscule crown give it a unique appearance.
This species is present on the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island, in Canada, to Baja California in Mexico. This specimen was gathered by Kathleen Hurd, a collector from New England.

This red algae divides into many branches, which gives it a silky look.

Credits : Musée de la nature et des sciences, Sherbrooke

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