Algae Under the Microscope in Nottingham Exhibit

  Algae Europe December 2022
The Hidden World of Algae

Courtesy Katie Andrews, University of Nottingham

The Hidden World of Algae, an ambitious, open-air microscopic photography exhibition has launched at the University of Nottingham’s Highfield Park, in the United Kingdom. An online version has also been developed.

This is the largest outdoor exhibition of algae and seaweeds in the world, according to the curators. It combines photographs from the Hilda Canter-Lund photographic competition, as well as pictures taken by teaching staff and students from the University’s Biological Photography and Imaging MSc course.

The Hidden World of Algae is a collaboration between the British Phycological Society and the University of Nottingham’s School of Geography and Biological Photography and Imaging MSc course.

Information boards are positioned around the lake on Nottingham’s University Park campus, which is mirrored in the virtual exhibition, displaying the microscopic images with descriptions.

The exhibition includes images taken during key research projects by scientists at the University, such as PhD researcher Hannah Kemp’s macroalgae blooms project working in partnership with the National Trust. Hannah is investigating blooms of filamentous green macroalgae that form thick blankets across lake surfaces. As well as being unsightly, these have the potential to cause major ecological damage including the death of fish.

“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.

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