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-- home -- habitat index -- rocky shore principles --
Having a temperate climate, New Zealand has a vast number of sea weed species. On and around the rocky intertidal, already many can be found, even though by far most prefer to live in deeper waters. Seaweeds form the basis of life for a relatively small community that lives on the shore and in the intertidal. But there always remains a vast input of food from the sea around, in the form of plankton and detritus.
Seaweeds do not need roots for finding water and nutrients, because they live in the water. So their leaves are at the same time their roots. Most do have root-like structures (holdfasts) but these are only for attaching to the rock. Some holdfasts are round discs, whereas others look like short roots. Some seaweeds grow from wandering roots (rhizomes). Some seaweeds grow like crusts where the leaf is also the holdfast.
On the rocky shore we can meet a vast array of seaweeds: coralline algae, green, brown and red seaweeds.