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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Membranoptera weeksiae

A couple of close-up views of a beautiful red alga, Membranoptera weeksiae.  Peter Connors had the sharp eyes and experience to notice this unusual find washed ashore near the South Jetty on 7 July 2012.  

We've been working on a marine algae list for Bodega Head, and although this is a species documented previously by others, it's the first time we have seen it (I can't take any credit for this congratulations to Peter for finding it and recognizing it as something different!).

These specimens were epiphytes (growing on other seaweeds) one was growing on another species called Nienburgia andersoniana.

Note that these images were taken under a microscope.  The total width of each blade is only ~1-1.5 mm across.

The dark spots lining the midribs are reproductive structures (called tetrasporangia) that produce spores.

P.S.  The species name, weeksiae, is named after Mrs. J.M. Weeks, an avid collector of seaweeds in the Pacific Grove area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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