Revealed For The First Time: The Surprising Biodiversity Of Algae ‘Reefs’

Most people are familiar with coral reefs, but very few have ever heard of their algal equivalent — rhodolith beds. Yet, these structures provide crucial habitat for many marine species. In the first study of its kind, published in mongabay.com’s Tropical Conservation Science, researchers unveil just how important these beds are for bottom-dwelling organisms, and the species that depend on them. Superficially similar to coral, rhodoliths are made up of various kinds of photosynthetic red algae (Corallinaceae and Rhodophyta species) that form hard structures as they grow. They drift along with the currents, gradually accumulating calcium carbonate in their cells, until they get too heavy for water to move them.
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