Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Algae Section

Out with the old and in with the algae! Just yesterday we finished our section on fish with Dr. Scott Heppell. Though tough, this section has given me a new appreciation for fish. Before, if I were asked by Dr. Heppell if I would like to be in the middle of a Nassau Grouper spawning event, with sperm reducing visibility by 50%, I would have said "Eh, maybe". Now, if someone were to ask me the same question, I'd scream with excitement and then book my tickets to the Cayman Islands (prime spawning habitat for Nassau Groupers). However, the fish section is now over, and we look forward to an exciting new section on algae. When I asked our professor, Dr. Olson, how to tell the difference between a red, green, and brown algae, she basically said "you can't... unless you look at them on the cellular level". Well, here are some of the differences. Green algae contain chlorophyll a, b, carotenoids and canthophylls and store food in the form of starch. Red algae contain chlorophyll a,d, carotenoids, canthophylls and store food as sloridean starch. Brown algae contains chlorophyll a, c and fucoxanthin pigment. Their main food source is laminarin (

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