Coralline Algae

Coralline algae are red algae in the order Corallinales. They are characterized by a thallus that is hard because of calcareous deposits contained within the cell walls. The colors of these algae are most typically pink, or some other shade of red, but other species can be purple, yellow, blue, white or gray-green. Coralline algae play an important role in the ecology of coral reefs. Sea urchins, parrot fish, limpets (mollusks), and chitons (mollusks), feed on coralline algae. Many are typically encrusting and rock-like, found in marine waters all over the world. Unattached specimens (maerl, rhodoliths) may form relatively smooth compact balls to warty or fruticose thalli.

A close look at almost any intertidal rocky shore or coral reef will reveal an abundance of pink to pinkish-grey patches, splashed as though by a mad painter over rock surfaces. These patches of pink "paint" are actually living algae: crustose coralline red algae. The red algae belong to the division Rhodophyta, within which the coralline algae form a distinct, exclusively marine order, the Corallinales. There are over 1600 described species of nongeniculate coralline algae.

The corallines are presently grouped into two families on the basis of their reproductive structures.

Read more about Coralline Algae:  Distribution, Morphological Forms, Morphology, Habitat, Growth, Avoidance of Fouling, Evolutionary History, Taxonomy, Ecology, Mineralogy, History, Corallines in Community Ecology, Economic Importance

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