More Algae

Munch, munch. The queen parrotfish ( Scarus vetula ) scrapes algae from Caribbean coral reefs with its parrot-like beak. While feeding, hard stone and coral inevitably get mixed into its lunch, which...
The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is gathered around...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities. To the untrained eye, they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in...
Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic...
A diet of algae and seagrasses gives this turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) greenish colored fat—and its name. Weighing as much as 500 pounds, the threatened green sea turtle lives its life at sea, with only...
Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom. No, this is not bubblegum from some careless teenager’s shoe: it’s a stony kind of seaweed that, like other seaweeds,...
Regardless of what continent you live on, the waters that surround it are home to marine invaders. The ocean is teeming with plants and animals willing and able to move beyond their native habitats...
Convict surgeonfish ( Acanthurus triostegus ) are the roaming sheep of the reef but, instead of noshing on grass, they feed on algae. Their grazing helps to balance the growth of algae and coral on...
One of the ocean's tiniest organisms often does the most harm. Microscopic algae can grow rapidly to form harmful algal blooms (sometimes called "red tides"), which create unhealthy water conditions...
A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean,...
Since the dawn of seafaring, humankind has had to deal with the pesky creatures that settle on ships—seaweeds, barnacles, and others that take advantage of the empty real estate provided by a clean...
Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance with their ecosystems, limited by the amount of nutrients in the water. But sometimes, certain species of algae reproduce so rapidly that they...
Dugongs , along with manatees , make up a group of marine mammals called sirenians or seacows . In the modern world, only one species of seacow is found in any one place in the world. However, the...
Macroscopic algae ( Ventricaria ventricosa ), also known as "bubble algae" or "sea pearl," is widespread algal species that can withstand low light. Each of the bubbles is a single cell, making it...
Algae has overtaken this coral reef off heavily populated Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Few fish swim in the murky waters. The causes include pollution, overfishing, and increased water...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–...
“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of boats...
Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Often unnoticed, these pink algae crusts help to cement coral reefs together, providing extra support and...
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