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Brilliant and Intense: Structural Colour in Marine Algae

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 19:00 - 20:00

Brilliant and Intense: Structural Colour in Marine Algae
  Some conclusions around why the structural colours of seaweeds  are the colours they are and what they mean

If you want to know more about all those beautiful colours of seaweeds, look no further



Structural colour is found in red, green and brown seaweeds, yet the phenomenon is largely unexplored. The functional purpose of structural colour is also largely unknown but we have hypothesised that it is a photoprotective mechanism to mitigate the harmful effects of uv radiation. Production of colour in the seaweeds includes multi-layered structures (reds), iridescent bodies (reds and browns) and microfibril arrays (greens and land plants) which raises evolutionary questions for these photosynthetic organisms across the tree of life. The origin of structural colour in the algae is unknown.

However, in the red algae, present day species are only found in a subclass that split approximately 580-442 million years ago, coinciding with the Cambrian explosion (c. 530-520 million years ago) when a wide range of marine invertebrates were found. I will present an overview of our work, including anatomical and optical studies, reviewing phylogenetic signals, distribution and depth data, microbiomes, and how we plan to proceed as part of BEEP: Bio-inspired and bionic materials for enhanced photosynthesis, including the potential for new material.

Prof. Juliet Brodie,

Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum

Tickets: Donations only please

The SLBI is a registered charity for botanical education. It supports people of all ages and backgrounds in learning about plants. By making a donation with your booking you will help to sustain our work with school children, families and the wider community. As a small charity, any amount you can give, large or small, will be warmly appreciated and make an enormous difference. Thankyou.

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Tuesday, 18th May 2021
19:00 - 20:00
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