Beaming Oliver Algae


Beaming Oliver Algae is an extinct species of algae that was found only in a cove off of the Japanese Island of Okinawa. This algae was documented as being last seen in 1677. Beaming Oliver was named by sailing Captain Oliver Damon in 1602. He named the algae as an homage to how he would beam when he would be reunited with his wife after a long voyage at sea. Beaming Oliver is a reddish-pink algae, tubular in shape. Beaming Oliver was not leafy, like some algae, but more akin to branches on a tree. Beaming Oliver grew in groups that would measure about 6 inches in diameter, with the tubular appendages each measuring from one to two inches off the primary stem.

Like other species of true algae, Beaming Oliver was a eukaryote, unlike blue-green algae which is now considered a bacteria. A eukaryote by definition contains complex structures within its cells which are further enclosed within membranes. Eukaryotes also have a nucleus which contains its genetic material. While 95% of known algae species engage in asexual reproduction – Beaming Oliver did not. This type of sexual reproduction was one factor leading to its extinction. Asexual reproduction practiced by the other percentage of algae protects those types of algae from extinction.

Beaming Oliver Algae was also closely tied with tradition and lore on the island of Okinawa. Because of the romantic underpinnings of its name, residents of Okinawa believed they would find a love like that of Captain Oliver Damon if they and the person who was the object of their affection ingested the algae. Over-consumption and the introduction of humans to the Beaming Oliver’s ecosystem as it was being harvested, are primarily what led to its extinction.

Brandi Peña