Corallina officinalis is a calcareous red seaweed which grows in the lower and mid-littoral zones on rocky shores.
It is primarily found growing around the rims of tide pools, but can be found in shallow crevices anywhere on the rocky shore that are regularly refreshed with sea water. It predominantly grows on the lower shore, especially where fucoid algae is absent, but is also found further up shore on exposed coasts.
Calcareous algae play very important roles in reef building around the world now as they have throughout evolutionary history. This particular alga usually appears pink but may also be whitish or red.
Whitish-pink to lilac, calcified, articulated fronds, 60-70 (-120) mm high, axis cylindrical to compressed, repeatedly pinnate from and expanded discoid base, branchng often irregular. Growth form very variable, often stunted. In unfavourable habitats erect system vestigial, but extensive base may be present.
It forms calcium carbonate deposits within its cells which serve to strengthen the thallus. These white deposits cause the seaweed to appear pink in colour, with white patches where the calcium carbonate is particularly concentrated, such as at the growing tips. The calcium carbonate makes it unpalatable to most rocky shore grazers.
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