21 Jul 2015

Laminaria: never seen this before.

I've probably seen more Laminaria digitata than most people who don't look at kelp for a living. But I've never seen this:
L. digitata with its fronds covered in blisters. The kelp had been ripped up, cast ashore and had come to rest in one of the freshwater streams (Calais Beck) that run across Runswick beach. I thought that the blisters were something reproductive, but I popped one and there was nothing inside but air. It's probably the result of decomposition in freshwater on a sunny day, but if any phycologists out there can put me right, I'd be delighted.

It was a venerable kelp, mature and home to parasitic red algae and barnacles on its stipe (the stalk):

The holdfast (the roots, bit that anchored the kelp to the rock substrate) had its usual alien appearance; the white cones are barnacles over which the holdfast has grown over the <6 years of its life.

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