DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of coralline red alga (branched type) from Hawaii. This image shows a fracture through a geniculate coralline alga thallus (species unknown; from marine environment) revealing the mineralized calcium carbonate surface cell wall layers. Also seen are numerous disc-shaped chloroplasts inside the cells that carry out photosynthesis. The thallus is hard because of calcareous (mineralized calcium carbonate) deposits contained within the cell walls. Geniculate coralline algae are branching, tree-like plants which are attached to the substratum by crustose or calcified, root-like holdfasts. The plants are flexible by having non-calcified regions (genicula) separate by longer calcified sections (intergenicula). Coralline algae are widespread in all of the world's oceans. Coralline algae play an important role in the ecology of coral reefs. Magnification: x360 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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