03 Apr 2007 · Press release · Sections

Kelp Laminaria nominated "Alga of the year 2007"

During low water, the Oar Weed may be emersed (Laminaria digitata), like here, on the shores of Helgoland . Individual algae may grow to four metres in length. Clearly visible on the photograph is the finger-like blade after which it is named. The base of the blade is wedge-shaped, which distinguishes it from Laminaria hyperborea with its heart-shaped base of the blade. (Photo: Annekatrin Enge, Biological Institute Helgoland of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute)

Members of the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society who conduct research on algae nominate the seaweed Laminaria as ‘Alga of the year’: the kelp Laminaria can reach lengths of several metres. It forms, together with other macroalgal species, large underwater forests in the sea (so-called ‘kelp forests’). Kelps contain alginic acid which has several applications as stabilising agents in many food and cosmetic products. In contrast to other plants, kelps grow mainly in winter when sunlight is sparse. Algae take up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and are the most important oxygen producers of the world.

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