Through controlled biomineralization, organisms yield complicated structures with specific functions. Here, Jania sp., an articulated coralline red alga that secretes high-Mg calcite as part of its skeleton, is in focus. It is shown that Jania sp. exhibits a remarkable structure, which is highly porous (with porosity as high as 64 vol%) and reveals several hierarchical orders from the nano to the macroscale. It is shown that the structure is helical, and proven that its helical configuration provides the alga with superior compliance that allows it to adapt to stresses in its natural environment. Thus, the combination of high porosity and a helical configuration result in a sophisticated, light-weight, compliant structure. It is anticipated that the findings on the advantages of such a structure are likely to be of value in the design or improvement of lightweight structures with superior mechanical properties.