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5 Posts tagged with the algae tag

Chris Yesson


Department of Life Sciences, NHM


Friday 13 June 11:00


Earth Sciences (Mineralogy) Seminar Room, Basement, WEB 05


Chris Yesson will be talking about his two concurrent research projects.  On first sight it may seem that examining the distribution of coastal seaweeds of the UK may not have much overlap with a study assessing the impact of trawling on benthic habitats on the continental shelf of west Greenland, but commonalities in approaches to spatial and imaging analysis means there is more overlap that just one researcher jumping between topics.


More information on attending seminars at


Ana Cristina Furtado Rebelo – University of the Azores, Department of Biology


NHM Earth Sciences Seminar Room (Basement, WEB 05, formerly Mineralogy Seminar Room)


20th May - 4.00 pm



Rhodoliths are the response of Coralline algae to unstable substrates; their calcified structures preserve well and may, after death, be incorporated into sediments, providing insights into geological processes. Despite being widely distributed, studies on the distribution and ecology of extant and fossil rhodoliths are few and, as a consequence, rhodoliths are still poorly understood.


The ongoing research in the Azores will provide more insight on why those islands are so different from others in Macaronesia with respect to rhodolith deposits in the geological record and the general lack of coastal rhodolith deposits today.


The comparison of type material in the Botany and Palaeobotany collections of the NHM with material from the Azores collection is expected to yield information on the Azorean rhodolith taxonomy identification, and will provide a model for palaeobiogeographic distribution. Such task needs the knowledge of the most advanced curatorial techniques and a profound taxonomic understanding of this specific algae group.


More information on attending seminars at




Juliet Brodie and Jo Wilbraham: Department of Life Sciences, NHM


Friday 7 February 11:00

Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

The seashores and shallow seas around Britain support an important component of UK biodiversity with over 650 species of red, green and brown seaweeds which represent c. 7% of the described seaweed flora of the world.  However, over 55% are Data Deficient according to IUCN criteria, there is increasing evidence that large brown habitat-forming seaweeds (kelps and fucoids) are disappearing, and invasive seaweeds species are increasing.  Seaweeds remain an under-recorded group with over 50% data deficient, yet there is an urgent and increasing need for good quality, verifiable data on past and present species occurrence to inform on e.g. environmental change, potential pressures from harvesting, loss of habitats, increases in non-native species (currently c. 6% of the UK flora). 


Data from the NHM seaweed collection provide crucial evidence points for mapping changing patterns in species distribution around the UK but regional museums often hold important collections from their local area which will help fill in current spatial and temporal data gaps.  So we set about capturing from UK national and regional museum collections specimen data against a target list of seaweed species in order to provide data on distribution of species over time around the UK, and to make these data widely available via a purpose built website which provides a unique resource for disseminating information about these species.  Fourteen institutions participated, 8334 records were received of which 4334 were newly generated. 


We will describe this model project, discuss the findings in relation to temporal and spatial change, detective work, social history, taxonomy, the role of Queen Victoria and her children, and the detrimental impact that the Victorian collectors had on some of our more charismatic seaweeds.  We will also demonstrate the web site:


This project was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


The big bang: the impact of twenty years of molecular systematics on understanding the algae.


by Professor Juliet Brodie, NHM


Wednesday 28 November 2012

6pm (following AGM at 5pm)

Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BF


Molecular systematics occupies a minute fraction of time in the history of science, but its impact has been transformative in revealing hitherto unrecognised diversity of life on earth. Furthermore, it has enabled us to see the extent of genetic diversity that is not necessarily reflected in the morphology of organisms. This has led to a fundamental shift in species concepts and as a consequence has profound implications for understanding distribution, rarity and endemism. In this talk Juliet Brodie will explore these ideas using examples from algal groups that she has studied and attempt comparisons with other organisms. She will also argue the necessity of using molecular systematics in understanding the impact of environmental factors such as climate change and ocean acidification.



The meeting is open to visitors


Wine will be served after the lecture to members and guests


Dr Kanako Ishikawa from Lake Biwa Environmental Research Institute, Otsu, Japan, visited Dr Anne D Jungblut (NHM Life Sciences Department) in April 2012 as part of a project supported by a Daiwa Foundation Small Grant that aims to establish a Lake Biwa periphyton species list and carry out public engagement events on biodiversity, management and conservation of Lake Biwa, Japan.



Proliferation of macrophytes and periphyton in Lake Biwa


Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and one of the twenty oldest lakes in the world. It has many endemic species, and supplies 14 million people with drinking water including the megalopolises Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe Cities. It is a breeding ground for freshwater fish and supports commercial fishing.


Microalgae such as cyanobacteria and green algae growing on leaves and stems of submerged water plants (macrophytes) or rock surface are defined as periphyton. These microalgae are not only an important food source for fish and other animals, but can also become nuisance for fishing equipment, water supply system and leisure activities.


Periphyton.jpgPeriphyton collected from Lake Biwa


In recent years macrophytes have become highly abundant in Lake Biwa and as a consequence periphyton growth has dramatically increased. However, little is still known about the species diversity of Lake Biwa periphyton, in particular the presence of non-native and potentially harmful species. During the visit, Kanako Ishikawa and Anne Jungblut carried out DNA-based analyses on periphyton samples collected from Lake Biwa using culture-independent methods.


Lab.jpgKanaka Ishikawa and Anne Jungblut preparing DNA samples for PCR


Anne Jungblut will visit the research laboratory of Dr. Kanako Ishikawa (Lake Biwa Environmental Research Institute) and Dr Taisuke Ohtsuka (Lake Biwa Museum) in Shiga prefecture, Japan, in July.