Red algae can be found anywhere around the world, as it thrives in conditions ranging from polar to tropical waters. Red algae is commonly found in tide pools and coral reefs.
Red algae comes in many different forms, ranging from one-celled to multi-celled plant-like organisms, totaling over 6000 distinct species.
The distinctive color of red algae is granted by a variety of pigments, including chlorophyll a, phycobiliproteins, red phycoerythrin, blue phycocyanin, carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Phycoerythrin gives the algae its red coloring by reflecting red light and absorbing blue light. Because of this unique ability to absorb blue light, red algae is found deeper in the ocean than other types of algae.
Coralline algae is a type of red algae found in coral reefs. Coralline algae helps build tropical coral reefs due to its ability to secrete calcium carbonate, which is used to form a hard shell around its cell walls. It grows over clams, rocks and shells of organisms.
Nori is a type of red algae consumed by humans in sushi. Irish moss is also a type of red algae used in making pudding. Red algae is also used to produce agar, a gelatinous substance used as a food additive.