Macroalgae: Hidden Colors of the Sea

The Marine Macroalgae Research Lab at Florida International University (FIU) and the Tropical Botanic Artists will present an exhibition entitled Macroalgae: Hidden Colors of the Sea in the first floor gallery space of the Glenn Hubert Library at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus from May 6– 31, 2012.

The display will include 27 fine quality botanical watercolor paintings and 3 herbarium display frames representing the three categories of local macroalgae – green, red, and brown – found by researchers from FIU’s Marine Macroalgae Research Laboratory in Biscayne Bay during BioBlitz 2010, an ecological event conducted in Biscayne National Park in May 2010 and sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

The Tropical Botanic Artists are a collective of local artists established in Miami, Florida in 2006 to capture the beauty of tropical plants through art. They share a love of the natural world and it is reflected in their admiration for botanical subjects. They hope that their viewers will be encouraged to take a moment to observe the wonders found in the minute detail of these underwater plants and will then carry those newly awakened powers of observation into everyday life.

The Marine Macroalgae Research Laboratory (MMRL) at FIU, led by Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides, with the involvement of graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, conducts research on the role of macroalgae in tropical coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, coastal lagoons and bays in South Florida and the Mexican Caribbean. The exhibition will blend together the studies of science and art, a practice with a long history starting from the art of pressing flowers.

“Many people may not even notice the beauty in macroalgae as they swim on the reef and see fish and corals,” said Elizabeth Lacey, scientific advisor to the artists, coordinator of the exhibit and Ph.D. candidate in FIU’s Marine Macroalgae and Seagrass Research Lab. “I hope people will gain a new appreciation for algae when they see the incredible diversity and beauty of these organisms through the work of these extraordinary artists. It has been a real pleasure to work with them on developing the exhibit.”

This show at FIU is the culmination of a year-long traveling exhibit for the work with shows at the Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, NOAA’s Florida Keys EcoDiscovery Center, the Tropical Audubon Society’s Doc Thomas House and Anne Kolb Nature Center. The MMRL is grateful for the support of, FIU’s Marine Science Program, Department of Biology, Vice Provost Office and the School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) in the production of this event. For more information, please see the attached flyer.