ORDER CORALLINALES (includes the three main geniculate [articulated]
calcareous species and several non-geniculates or encrusting species)
1. Haliptilon cubense (formerly known as Corallina cubensis)
Comment: Currently the most common species in the mesocosm, which is an
interesting fact in itself because it is not known to grow so abundantly
in other mesocosms, according to Walter Adey. Or in the wild where it is
considered uncommon and inconspicuous, growing epiphytically on larger
algae or forming dense turfs on hard substrates. It is forming a dense
turf in the B2 ocean that apparently is most favored by conditions
there and is spreading. What are these conditions? Or to ask it another
way, what is it about this species that makes it able to thrive there?
2. Amphiroa fragilissima
Comment: Formerly the dominant species and is commonly the dominant
species in closed systems. Has risen and fallen in abundance
and is now relatively reduced in biomass. Like Haliptilon c. it bleaches
out in the summer though it is not known yet whether it still increases
its biomass when in this condition.
3. Amphiroa rigida
Uncommon compared to Amphiroa f. It does not seem to bleach out like the
first two species. Found to only a depth of 1 meter in the wild.
4. Mesophyllum mesomorphum
A common, heavily calcified encrusting alga in artificial systems. In B2
it appears more pink than its usual darker red color.
5. Hydrolithon boergesenii
Another common, heavily calcified encrusting alga that is lavender in
6. Porolithon pachydernum
A very common crustose alga often covering extensive areas on wild reefs.
Chalky pink in appearance.
VARIOUS OTHER RHODOPHYTA
7. Peyssonnelia sp. (possibly Ethelia sp.)
A crustose specimen from one of these difficult-to-identify genera, which
include species that are non-calcareous or only lightly calcified. Needs
to be sectioned and examined microscopically even to confirm genus.
8. Chondria dasyphylla
The common "red fleshy" in the ocean mesocosm that forms loose, reddish
mats. Incorrectly thought to be a Hypnea. Identified by the tuft of
trichoblasts at the apical tip of branchlets. Its morphology, like that
of several species from the mesocosm, is different from that seen in the
wild. In this case, the branches are thinner and more densely packed.
Though found near the surface it does not tend to bleach as readily as the
other branching reds.
9. Gelidiopsis intricata
The other "red fleshy" thought to be a Hypnea, which was ruled out by
the uniform cell size seen in transverse sections of its branches viewed
under a microscope at 40X. It forms tough, wiry mats that tend to be
found deeper in the mesocosm. Like Amphiroa and Haliptilon, it tends to
bleach in the summer. Uncommon in the wild. Forms mats on mangrove roots.
10. Acanthophora spicefera
Spindly, pale brown branches with short spiny branchlets. In the wild, a
common early colonizer on dead coral fragments.
11. Botryocladia sp.
Has characteristic bulbous red blades filled with clear mucalaginous gel.
Our specimen was only a branch and without the whole plant the species
could not be identified.
12. Rhodogorgon carriebowensis
One of the most unusual species in the mesocosm--or in the wild, for that
matter. Called a "mystery organism" only a few years ago, it now has its
own genus, family and order. Only one individual is growing in the
tank. It is a tough, leathery, slick, naked-looking pinkish white
branching thallus about 30 cm in height. It calcifies around specialized
13. Halimeda goreaui
A common calcareous green alga in the wild, it is represented by a few
scattered individuals in the mesocosm.
14. Halimeda tuna
Another common calcareous species. Noted for its prickly pear cactus-like
15. Caulerpa serrulata
One of the many branching Caulerpas, this one is actually uncommon in the
16. Rhipocephulus phoenix
One of the common, easily recognized green algae with a compact cap on a
stem. R. phoenix has an oval cap and grows to about 10 cm in height.
17. Valonia macrophysa
Valonia m. is also easily recognized by its tightly packed cluster of
thick, olive green, transparent branches resembling tiny balloons.
18. Valonia utricularis
An uncommon Valonia having longer, club-like branches.
19. Dictyosphaeria cavernosa
Forms hollow, globular masses made up of one layer of large (3 mm) cells.
20. Dictysphaeria ocellata
Another common Dictyosphaeria that forms dense mounds with longer
21. Dictyota pulchella
The sole brown alga collected.
NOTE: No doubt some species were missed, especially among the greens and
browns. It is probable that another 5 to 10 species could be collected
with a more intensive effort. Soon such an effort will be made. Also, a
photographic survey will be completed and a map of the microhabitat types
across the bottom of the mesocosm will be drawn up.