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Increasing awareness of UBC's algae collection and of local seaweed biodiversity

There are 880 species of seaweeds in Canada and about 60% of these species (530) are known to occur in British Columbia!

The UBC Herbarium is one of the largest herbaria in Canada, housing nearly 100,000 algae specimens. And it has one of the largest macro red algae collections in North America.

Unfortunately, the collection has seen a decrease in the number of algae specimens collected and donated to the herbarium.

There has been much less activity in the algae collection compared to the vascular collection; activities such as research requests, digitization, etc.

Why is this a problem?

The value of a collection lies in its usage as it helps maintain, improve and increase its accessibility. If it's not used, the collection will simply sit in storage and degrade over time.

The relationship between each activity acts like a cycle. Increased engagement leads to more research requests and curation, which helps improve our understanding of local algae diversity. If there is less activity, the cycle will move in the opposite direction.

When a specimen receives attention:

  • it can extend the physical life of a specimen (we can fix the specimen's mounting)
  • it can get annotated and updated to its most recent name
  • it can be added to or updated in the databases
  • it can be digitized to further increase accessibility

This website has been developed as a free accessible online resource to help increase awareness of UBC’s algae collection and of local seaweed biodiversity.

We gratefully acknowledge that some of the student contributions to this project were financially supported by the UBC Vancouver’s BRC Undergraduate Diversity Research Grants Program and the OER Rapid Innovation Grants Program.