Check out the intertidal zone and its biodiversity!
phylum includes the brown algae, and is almost exclusively
marine. All phaeophyte species in this group are multi-cellular.
The giant kelps also belong to this group. These amazing
can grow a metre in length in a couple of weeks, and dozens
of metres in a single year! This group contains the pigments
chlorophyll a and c and fucoxanthins. Most brown algae are
found in the intertidal or shallow subtidal, and they are
more abundant in the Northern Hemisphere. Kelp are becoming
very important commercially: for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals
and in the sciences.
A kelp can easily be identified by four
basic structural components (three shown on left): blade/frond
(photosynthetic portion), bulb (used as a float to keep blades
near light at the surface; only present in some species),
stipe (analogous to a stem in vascular plants), and holdfast
(root-like or disk-shaped; attaches the kelp firmly to the
substrate) (for more on brown algae, click here).
branches and floats off either side of thick stipe.
Columbia to California.
rocky shores. Low intertidal to upper subtidal.
Cool Fact: Used as
fertilizer by coastal farmers!
to brown. Dichotomous branching. Swollen receptacles at end. Midrib present.
to rocks. Mid to low intertidal. Often the most common intertidal algae
on B.C. shores. It is difficult to miss!
Cool Fact: The
receptacles contain the gametes, which are released after a period of desiccation.
A hardy algae - capable of tolerating extreme physical conditions!
to black. Smooth blade with a split down the centre.
exposed rocky shores. Low intertidal to upper subtidal.
Cool Fact: This
algae can survive the high velocity and heavy turbulence found in surge channels!
Hollow, convoluted and spongy.
Sea to Mexico.
shores. Sometimes epiphytic. All intertidal zones.
Cool Fact: Originally
thought to be a jelly fungus!
branch along length of stipe. Small float at the base of each blade.
shores. Low intertidal to 10m deep.
Cool Fact: This
kelp grows incredibly fast - 20cm in only a few days! Also important because
herring lay their row on this kelp.
stipe with bulb and long fronds at one end.
shores. Upper subtidal and lower.
Cool Fact: One
of the largest kelps! An annual alga that can grow 25m or more in a single
year! The float is filled with carbon monoxide to keep the blades at the
see more about Phaeophyta!
Field Guide directory