Love in a tidepool.

When it comes to reproduction, there is one group that just doesn’t mess around….or does….

Seaweeds know how to get it on. And they can do it so many different ways too! Recently, I have been learning a great deal on seaweed procreation and discovered this fun little copulation sonnet that gives us a bit of a glimpse on what really goes on between tides.

The big cells are the "business time" cells in this cyanobacteria ironically denoted Cylindrospermum.

The big cells are the “business time” cells in this cyanobacteria ironically denoted Cylindrospermum.

By: Jane van Aist

There are many ways to do it,

Think of flowers, birds and bees,

But if you really want an expert,

Let me take you to the seas.

Oh, the algae look like simple things,

Adrifting in the bays,

But when it comes to reproduction,

Why they’ve thought of all the ways.

The lower types form akinetes,

A stand-offish way to be,

While their higher swinging cousins,

Practice good, old isogamy.

Let’s slip into something gelatinous,

The aplanogametes say,

And have a little syngamy,

Before we float away.

Now isogamy’s not bad at all,

As a method used for fusing,

But most find heterogamy,

A damn sight more amusing.

At an intertidal orgy,

You can hear the Fucus gloat,

While they pull out all paraphyses,

And make a new zygote.

Now when the sun is shinning,

And the water’s bright as day,

Oogamy’s the answer,

For sperm can find their way.

But when the sun sets slowly,

And the ocean depths get dim,

Then they hope that they’re monoecious,

‘Cause who can see to swim?

So don’t ever snub a seaweed,

Or give a kelp the hex,

‘Cause man, like they invented it,

And we just named it, SEX!

Alex Warneke (112 Posts)

Alex is committed to a life of inspiring others to view science through a more dynamic and empowering lens. Alex obtained her M.Sc. in Chemical Ecology from San Diego State University and most recently resided as a Science Programs Manager and Marine Scientist for the National Park Service. As an ecologist, storyteller, and community engager, she has spanned critical boundaries between stakeholders in education, academia, non-profit, and government to translate the most current scientific bodies of work in ways that are accessible and inclusive. She is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of science to the public using the outlets of art, digital media, education, and citizen science. Currently, Alex works at the interface of climate resilience and community with the Climate Science Alliance. As Deputy Director for the Alliance, her hope is that through her work and experience she can get the world to think differently about how we connect and impact the thriving ecosystem around us and commit to fostering a more resilient future.