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Morgan Vis to discuss “Algae: Friend or Foe” at Science Café event

From Staff Reports | Mar 27, 2018

Morgan Vis

Professor Morgan Vis. Photo credit: Ohio University.

When someone says the word “algae,” what do you think? Pond scum, slimy-stinky-rotting stuff on the seashore, harmful algal blooms? These images give algae a bad rep, but algae are so much more … 

Morgan Vis, Ohio University professor of environmental and plant biology, sees the good in algae. In fact, many algae have important environmental roles, as well as economic uses, including as foods and food additives.

Her research focuses on the biology of freshwater red algae, as well as monitoring algae as surrogates for stream health. Freshwater red algae are a unique group of photosynthetic algae that have a worldwide distribution and inhabit high water quality streams, rivers and bogs.

Vis’s research explores the evolutionary relationships among freshwater and marine red algae.

She has discovered and named several new species, genera and families of the organisms.

“Determining the classification of an organism is the first step to understanding that organism,” Vis said. “All future science about that organism depends on making sure we get this right. Otherwise we are comparing apples to oranges.”

Join Vis for her Science Café, “Algae: Friend or Foe,” at 5 p.m. on Wed., April 4 in the Baker Center Front Room. In addition to a lively conversation about algae, attendees will be encouraged to sample various algae cuisine.

Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series, Wednesdays at the Baker Center Front Room. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community. Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions can win a free t-shirt.

The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.

For access to livestreaming of the event, visit http://www.ohio.edu/sciencecafe  and http://livestream.com/ohiocas.

Learn more! Watch the 1-minute Café Series video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8IBC6nS4Ag