While hiking in Brecksville Reservation, I noticed this bright orange coloration on a rock wall. Upon closer examination, it appeared to be made up of tiny orange “cushions.”
The genus Trentepohlia would not, at first glance, be taken as a green alga. But this free-living species is mostly yellow to bright orange or red-brown in color, due to carotenoid pigment, which usually hides the green of the chlorophyll.
Trentepohlia is a genus of filamentous terrestrial green alga with a worldwide distribution. It grows on rocks, old walls and the trunks and branches of trees. It does not do any damage to the surfaces that it resides on.
Algae (singular alga) are members of a group of predominantly aquatic photosynthetic organisms. Algae are almost ubiquitous throughout the world and can be categorized ecologically by their habitats.
Their photosynthetic pigments are more varied than those of plants, and their cells have features not found among plants and animals. Algae serve ecological roles as oxygen producers and as the food base for almost all aquatic life.
This was a fun and colorful find on an otherwise dreary February day in northeast Ohio.