the immortal red crust

  FHL Marine Botany  ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::   Taxonomy | Habitat | Morphology | Life History | Ecology | Overgrowth


Hildenbrandia and the crustose lifestyle




Hildenbrandia is an encrusting, fleshy red alga that lives a slow-paced life amidst the hustle and bustle of the rocky intertidal. Beachcombers and scientists often overlook the diversity and significance of algal crusts (1). Nevertheless, their distribution and abundance are important indicators of algal community structure; crusts live where other algae can't. Indeed, Hildenbrandia demonstrates a remarkable capacity to survive being overgrown by other encrusting organisms. It has thus earned the nickname the immortal red crust.

This website is an introduction to the lifestyle of Hildenbrandia. It has been designed to encourage beachcombers and scientists to reel in their fast-paced imaginations and ponder the ecological significance of the slowest, lowest and lowliest group of algae.


Website created by:

Benjamin Weisgall

ZooBot Spring Quarter 2009

Friday Harbor Laboratories

University of Washington

All images created by the author.


  1. Humans are most likely to take notice of fleshy algal crusts right before, during, or afer they slip on what they thought was bare rock.