Calliarthron sp.

Ruth continues with the UBC Research Week series:

Patrick Martone is a UBC Assistant Professor. His laboratory studies the biomechanics, evolution and functional morphology of marine algae.

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.

Calliarthron sp.

20 responses to “Calliarthron sp.”

  1. Melinde

    Unexpectedly lovely.

  2. mountain laurel

    Cool! I wonder if there’s any analogues between how calcified algae & the corals they look like are able to move. Coral isn’t intertidal, though, I guess. Also, any particular reason these things are purple? Really neat to see things like this!

  3. andy


  4. Heidi

    This is an amazing photo. The color is unreal. If a plastic plant like this was sold for my aquarium I wouldn’t buy it if I wanted a ‘natural’ look.

  5. Annie Morgan

    It is rather an unexpected shade but, aside from that, I was most interested in the flexibility explanation. Look forward to tomorrow’s snippet!

  6. Quin

    So lovely, so Seuss, so Martian!!
    Thanks to everyone, from a newcomer to the B.P.O.T.D., for all of the great exotic genera and families

  7. carol

    That’s amazing! You’d think that lignin was a characteristic feature developed when plants colonized the land. Now I’m wondering if this could add new information to evolutionary relationships :)Thanks for the post.

  8. Katy S

    Stunning. Thanks for something different.

  9. Morris B.

    AMEN TO:
    Stunning. Thanks for something different.

  10. bev

    I love Research Week!

  11. Mohammed Tohaa

    Awesomely beautiful. good research work.

  12. Duane Anderson

    Do land plants use the same method to compensate for strong winds in their groth area?

  13. SoapySophia

    Wow. That does look like something out of Dr. Seuss. It’s amazing how much beauty is stored under the water where not just anyone can go.

  14. Old Ari

    But is it edible?

  15. Eric Simpson

    Ah! It’s good to see an old friend from my skin/scuba diving days.

  16. elizabeth a airhart

    i live in florida coral reefs all around me and many in trouble and down in the keys
    mote marine in sarasota is not far
    from where i live – do you have
    any work on the red tide not a
    reef but a misery when it arrives
    thank you i reall do

  17. Dee

    Great to be introduced to this plant and what an amzing discovery. All this time we though having lignin, that holds land plants erect, was a major evolutionary difference between algae and tracheophytes. This must be shaking up the scientific world. Good summary article of discovery at
    Thanks, Ruth.

  18. ingrid

    Love the colour! Fascinating about the lignin in the joints of this beautiful alga. I love learning about the different aspects of the plant kingdom through BPotD…ah, which kingdom are algae in?! Oh…all of the natural world is amazing 😀

  19. Karen Vaughan

    At first I thought it was autumnal sweet fern, and wondered if they had been messing with the species names again!

  20. bonniel

    Wow answer one small question and find two more. Thanks to the ones who find answers.

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