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The answer to the puzzle

THE ANSWER TO YESTERDAY'S PUZZLE IS . . .

. . . drum roll, please . . .

Microcladia coulteri!

I showed you this:

Mystery red alga, 18 June 2015. © Allison J. Gong
Mystery red alga, 18 June 2015.
© Allison J. Gong

but what you really needed to be certain of the ID was the rest of the photo:

A mystery no more! Microcladia coulteri growing epiphytically on another red alga, 18 June 2015. © Allison J. Gong
A mystery no more! Microcladia coulteri growing epiphytically on another red alga, 18 June 2015.
© Allison J. Gong

Huzzah again for natural history! I love it when natural history provides the answer to a taxonomic or identification question. Sometimes you need to see the organism where it lives in order to understand what it's all about. Quite a lot of modern biology has to do with grinding up organisms and examining their DNA; while I do appreciate the evolutionary and ecological insights these data provide, it's really not my cup of tea. I'd rather spend my time looking at intact organisms than their molecules, and getting outdoors to see them in nature instead of running gels and staring at computer algorithms. As in most other walks of life, it takes many kinds of work to get at the whole picture in ecology, and I am grateful to be able to contribute a little piece to the puzzle.

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