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Branching Red Algae

Red Algae
Arlene Wechezak / Nikon Small World

Under the microscope, you can peer inside the cells of this filamentous red algae. The thin, hair-like filaments are only one cell wide, seen here at 250x zoom. Red algae are red because of the pigment phycoerythrin, which along with green chlorophyll allows the algae to undergo photosynthesis and turn sunlight into energy. This image was named an Image of Distinction in the 2010 Nikon Small World photomicrography competition.