Mimicking Algae – Kimberley 2013

Video | Updated 4 weeks ago

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During a survey, Dr Zoe Richards discovers a seaweed which looks remarkably like a hard coral. This video examines this amazing discovery.

Transcript

So we've just back from a dive on the northern exposed side of Ashmore Reef I was doing my normal coral survey looking for corals such as this hard coral Acropora, I'd thought I'd found one when I came upon this it has the typical form of the Acropora with the branches and the polyps and the small axial tips, but in fact this is not a hard coral at all, it's an algae and we'll let our algae expert John tell us some about it. What this actually is a red seaweed, it's a thing called Eucheuma arnoldii and it first described from the Philippines and it's very rare in Australia, only known from one or two collections from One-Armed Point. So as I said, a Red Seaweed, you can only tell the difference that it's not an Acropora because it's sort of nice and flexible, it's cartilaginous. Why it grows just like the Acropora is probably as anti-herbivory which means that the algae eating fish will swim over the top of it thinking that it's this and inedible. So wonderful thing to find, I would probably swim over the top of it myself, thinking it was a coral rather than a seaweed so it was a great find for Zoe and probably she would be the only one that would find it looking for a hard corals. A coral mimicking algae, very nice. Actually the other way around (Laughs).