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  • Microscopic Photography re-focuses on Importance of Algae
    ALgae close-up (Credit: University of Nottingham)

Microscopic Photography re-focuses on Importance of Algae

Feb 25 2021 Read 370 Times

The Hidden World of Algae, an open-air microscopic photography exhibition highlighting the importance of algae has launched at the University of Nottingham’s Highfield Park, with a virtual version online to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the installation while in lockdown. Information boards are positioned at intervals around the lake on University Park campus, which is mirrored in the virtual exhibition, displaying the microscopic images with descriptions.

A collaboration between the British Phycological Society and the University of Nottingham’s School of Geography and Biological Photography and Imaging MSc course, the exhibition is the largest outdoor exhibition of algae and seaweeds in the world, combining photographs from the Hilda Canter-Lund photographic competition, as well as pictures taken by staff and students from the University’s Biological Photography and Imaging MSc course.

“This exhibition is a great opportunity for people to see algae through the eyes of scientists, under a microscope. Many visitors may be surprised to learn about the important impacts of algae and how diverse they are – with Highfields Lake in the background as a good example – and they can also find out about the work that Nottingham researchers are undertaking in the local area,” said Professor Suzanne McGowan, Professor of Freshwater Sciences in the University’s School of Geography

Professor McGowan uses remains of algae preserved in lake sediments to reconstruct past environmental conditions. She works locally with organisations including Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at Attenborough Nature Reserve to address water management issues – an ongoing collaboration which has lasted more than 16 years.

Professor Martyn Kelly, Honorary Professor in the School of Geography and Fellow of the Freshwater Biological Association, said: “Algae are key parts of planet earth’s life-support system but are generally overlooked by naturalists. It has been fantastic to collaborate with colleagues across the university to bring this exhibition together. We hope visitors are able to make connections between the images they see on the boards and what they can see growing in the lake.”

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