04/29/2012 01:21 pm ET

Pitcairn Islands Expedition Photos: Strange And Beautiful Algae

With all our emphasis on charismatic fish and stunning coral formations, boring old algae tends to get skipped over by most observers of the underwater world. Being out here in the South Pacific with an algae expert though, it doesn’t take long to be won over by these intriguingly important life forms.

Kike Ballesteros of the Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CSIC, is NG Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala’s long-time mentor and collaborator. He is also the master of all things algal for the Pitcairn Islands expedition, and he agreed to enlighten me about the wonders of algae.

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