#Biodiversity150 number 10 of 150 Northern Sea Fern

10/150: Have you ever eaten red algae? We bet you have!

Plantae: Rhodophyta: Florideophyceae: Ceramiales: Wrangeliaceae: Ptilota: Ptilota serrata (Kützing, 1847)

Red algae (Phylum Rhodophyta) are a diverse group of plants with over 7,000 species known and we have DNA barcodes for over 3,000 of them. Ptilota serrata, the Northern Sea Fern is a common red algae found on the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic coasts of Canada. They grow in rocky intertidal zones. These plants get their red pigment from phycoerythrin which reflects red light and absorbs blue light. Red algae seaweeds are highly used in sushi. Nori (Genus Pyropia) is consumed the most, with over $1 billion USD grown each year by aquaculture. Carrageenan, made of red algae, is a common additive used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in dairy products, soy milk, sauces, diet sodas, vegetarian hot dogs, toothpaste, shampoo, and has many more applications. Next time you’re brushing your teeth you can thank red algae for making it pasty! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

A red seaweed in the ocean. Photo Credit: Peter Southwood goo.gl/lZVmOc
Red algae is very popular in sushi dishes as Nori seaweed. Photo Credit: Ishikawa Ken goo.gl/eAbe0O

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  ABMMC17781-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAB2620

Title Image: Specimen GWS032047 – Birchy Head, St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia – 14-Aug-2012
Photo Credit: University of New Brunswick

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