Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Illustrious Iridaea flaccida Sorry you can't see this beautiful picture of Iridaeanow Mazzaella flaccida

Greek myths describe Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, as a messenger for the Olympian deities. The characteristics of the alga Iridaea flaccida strikingly reflect its namesake. The same properties of light which produce a rainbow provide Iridaea's surface with its brilliant iridescence. Vibrant colors wash across the thallus surface due to the multilayered construction of its cuticle. As a reliable messenger, I. flaccida subtly manages to communicate its phase of life history to the casual observer--yet it lives an isomorphic existence. Both its iridescent cuticle and the differences in blade strength between its life phases provide insights into the adaptations of wave-swept algae to mechanical stress.
Sorry, you missed out on another beautiful picture of iridaea

Isomorphic Iridaea:

A Terrific Triphasic You Can Even Tell Apart

Mechanical Properties of Iridaea flaccida:

Stressed Out in 3-D Waves are a Drag

Iridaea, the Incidental Beauty: An Explanation of Iridescence

Concluding Remarks

Please refer to References for further reading on this beautiful alga.

Designed and Written by Elizabeth Nelson April 1996 Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station