Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week 3: Pressing highlight- Microcladia coulteri


Good news, Becca got back on Thursday, we were able to hit the low tide on Friday, and I got some algae pressings done this weekend!  No pictures from the field as it was a pretty crappy, rainy day.  But I wanted to introduce the algae I'll be pressing with short algal vignettes. Hopefully these short stories will give the algae pressings a little more character, and help you appreciate algae the way I do.

There's lots of seaweeds with lots of shapes, sizes, colors, etc., and I'd like as much as possible to be sure everyone who is receiving a pressing as a reward gets one they like. So as the algae pressings dry (which should take about a week), I'll post pictures of the pressings on a separate webpage, where people can claim them on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Week 3 Algal Vignette: Microcladia coulteri

Not all seaweeds are created equal.  Finding the right seaweed for a good pressing can be tricky, some algae that look beautiful in the water just become dull, pasty scraps when pressed. But not Microcladia coulteri: it looks good in the water and on the press.  It has a vibrant red color that dries well, a flattened, two dimensional growth that presses well, and a rugged cell tissue that can be easily spread out without breakage.  It's sort of a classic to me, like Old Spice or Chuck Norris. When I think about pressing algae in the Pacific Northwest, it's the first thing that comes to mind.  So I suppose it is appropriate to have found it on my first trip and to use it in my first pressing.  Microcladia coulteri isn't super abundant on the San Juan Islands, but if you know where to look it is common enough to be easy to find.  So in video game terminology, you might can it an "uncommon drop."

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