Ruth continues with the UBC Research Week series:
Patrick writes: “One central research theme in my lab is to understand how intertidal seaweeds resist the relentless barrage of waves breaking on shore. Past studies have shown that, by being flexible, seaweeds reconfigure and reorient in flow to reduce drag. This paradigm holds even for many erect calcified algae, which locally decalcify to form flexible joints between calcified segments. Recent studies in my lab have investigated the biomechanical properties and chemical composition of the joints in the articulated coralline Calliarthron, which often dominates wave-exposed coastlines in California. We discovered that the joints in this red alga contain lignin, a primary component of wood in terrestrial plants, and are stronger, stiffer, and tougher than other algal tissues.”
Daniel adds: Monterey Bay Aquarium has more details about this genus of algae and a few others.