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Why are seaweeds different colours?

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Seren Kiremitcioglu

on 4 July 2014

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Transcript of Why are seaweeds different colours?

Usually found in shallow waters or floating on the surface
Found on the surface of the ocean
Pigments are what determine the actual colour of the seaweed; whilst many of these pigments absorb light waves, they all contribute into reflecting the specific colour - in this case, either green, brown or red.
The effect of light and pigmentation
Brown Seaweed
Green Seaweed
chlorophyll a
chlorophyll c
chlorophyll d
fucoxanthin (absorbs blue - green - yellow - reflects brown)

Brown algae has the most pigments and is known as the branching algae; this is because they have many tiny floats so that they do not sink, so that they can absorb as much light as possible. The brown seaweed is a free floating tangled mass of weeds and prefers salty waters. Like the green algae, it does require sunlight, however less of it - therefore it can be found growing in deeper waters (but not as deep as the red seaweed)

This seaweed is brown because of its fucoxanthin pigment, and the availability of blue, green and yellow light rays.
As we can see in this image, the deeper we go in the ocean, the less light waves are available. However, the blue light waves penetrate deepest, meaning that the red pigments in red algae can absorb this light, along with some green wavelengths, and reflect red light. This is why red seaweeds can survive at deeper depths compared to that of brown and green.
chlorophyll a
(land - absorbs red)
chlorophyll b
(absorbs blue)
- both reflect green together

The green algae only use the chlorophyll pigment, therefore they require good levels of light. This is why they're found in shallow and open waters, such as rock pools.

Monday, July 7, 2014
Seren Kiremitcioglu
We have three different colours;
First of all...
Found deep underwater
Red Seaweed
Seaweeds, or
marine algae
, come in colours
. What makes a seaweed its colour is dependent upon it's location, pigmentation and the wavelength of available light.
chlorophyll a (absorbs red)
phycoerythrin (absorbs blue light)
phycocyanin (absorbs blue light - reflects red)

Red seaweeds are found deepest underwater, as out of all three seaweeds, the red algae can survive with the least light, and actually
low light intensities. This is because with high light intensities comes a breakdown of the red pigment, causing the seaweed to become pink, and even a bleached white colour.
Why are seaweeds different colours?
Thanks! Any questions?
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