DNA analysis of marine algae

Watch plant researcher Juliet Brodie in this video as she talks about her molecular work on the Museum’s coralline algae collection.

Coralline algae are a large group of red algae, a group we know little about. Different species of coralline algae look very similar so Juliet uses molecular data from specimens as a way of distinguishing between species.

‘As well as collecting new specimens for DNA, I extract DNA from existing collections at the Museum. I have even extracted DNA from specimens that are over 100 years old, which shows that the collection is still very valuable,’ says Juliet Brodie.

Red algae and climate change

As our climate changes, the oceans are becoming more acidic. What will this mean for coralline algae and the diverse marine life that depends on them? Juliet’s research will help answer these questions. Find out more in this video.

Juliet Brodie’s research

Professor Juliet Brodie is a Museum expert in marine algae and has studied marine macroalgae (seaweeds) for over 25 years.

She uses molecular techniques to help her identify and classify different algae. These methods are particularly helpful with Porphyra, a large and economically important genus of red algae, which are hard to identify. Juliet is a leading authority in the world on the taxonomy of this genus and has co-authored a book on the subject.

She specialises in molecular systematics – which looks at the structure of molecules to find out about an organism's evolutionary relationships. She also researches the ecology of red algae, and the biodiversity and conservation of marine algae.