Microscopic phytoplankton blooms sequester one third of carbon emissions each year, and feed the aquatic food chain from shrimps to whales. Macroalgae (seaweeds) are found in the sea and on the seashore - in rockpools we readily spot green, red and brown fronds. There are an incredible array of algae, from dancing colonies of Volvox, diverse dinoflagellates, stunning diatoms and chalk-forming coccolithophorids, to enormous kelp forests in all aquatic environments.
Past aquatic micro-organisms gave us oil and gas, so how can we stop trading on past sunlight to use algae in today's world? Algae provide food, vitamins, cosmetics and colourants, as well as a range of biofuel sources and substitutes for plastics and gels. These algal products show how useful these organisms can be for mankind.
Prof. Alison Smith
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA UK
Tel: +44 (0)1223 333900
Fax: +44 (0)1223 333953