Diseased algae have always been around, but finding one of them in the wild is mostly a chance encounter. Often, the eye of beach-walkers is drawn by seaweeds with an unusual aspect (deformed growth, discolouration, galls, holes or rot symptoms, etc…), but such encounters usually go unreported. “My seaweed looks weird” is a platform where anyone can contribute weird-, or sad-looking seaweeds to accelerate research. With the marine environment undergoing very rapid changes worldwide, and in particular cultivation growing rapidly, we aim to gather a baseline of what diseases occur where, both in the wild and in seaweed farms, in order to be able to detect and monitor any changes.
Our aim is to accelerate the description of algal diseases worldwide, by screening samples submitted by scientists, seaweed professionals or members of the public. We will use the data to identify and map diseases, as well as describe novel or emerging issues. With time, we will make the results of this work available for free, through Open Access publications and a (yet-to-be-built) online disease atlas.
We have provided here a few examples of what diseases may look like, but let’s be honest that most diseases of algae are currently very poorly known. Hence, we welcome your information and your samples, even if you’re not sure whether they’re relevant to us. Using a combination of microscopy and potentially, DNA analysis, we shall endeavour to send you back a diagnosis in-kind for all samples received. Note however that due to the structure of our funding, samples submitted by members of the GENIALG and Global Seaweed Star consortia will be handled in priority. If you are a seaweed farmer, we are very happy to provide you with a diagnosis for free, as and when you suspect problems. However, if you wish us to perform a regular monitoring of your facilities, then please get in touch to discuss options for consultancy.