This award was established by the British Phycological Society in recognition of Hilda Canter-Lund, whose stunning photographs will be known to many members. Her photomicrographs of freshwater algae combined high technical and aesthetic qualities whilst still capturing the quintessence of the organisms she was studying.
Congratulations to all that made the shortlist, the competition was strong this year, and the BPS thanks everyone who submitted images and voted for their favorites.
Sophie Steinhagen “Forestal”
Sophie is a researcher at the Tjärnö Marine Laboratory of the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) dedicated to investigating the marine biodiversity of macrophytes and supporting a sustainable seaweed aquaculture in the Northern Hemisphere. During her PhD at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany), Sophie investigated the taxonomy of different genera of marine green algae and the impact of environmental factors on their distribution and potential to form blooms. In addition to her work, she has a passion for communicating phycology to a broader audience by showing the beauty and importance of seaweeds and raising awareness for a sustainable seaweed industry.
Gerd Guenther: “Pyrocystis fusiformis“
For 34 years I have been working as a farmer and passionate photomicrographer in Düsseldorf, Germany. My special interest lies in researching the biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, with a particular interest in phycology. Algae play an essential role in the metabolic cycle of aquatic habitats and the soils that produce our food. For more than 10 years I have worked with the algae collection of the University of Cologne (now at the University of Duisburg-Essen), photographing the microalgae cultures. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Barbara Melkonian and Prof. Michael Melkonian, who made this collaboration possible and continue to support me to this day.
2021 Shortlisted Finalists
Derek Christie: “Spirogyra“
My interest in phycology was sparked after I discovered the book, “Freshwater Algae, their microscopic world explored” by Hilda Canter-Lund and John WG Lund, in my local library. The images in the book were inspirational and soon my main microscopical investigations were of algae. In pursuit of more information about algae, I enrolled on the freshwater algae identification course run by the Field Studies Council at their Kindrogan, Perthshire Site three times. I was very lucky to have Eileen Cox and Elliot Schubert as tutors, both experts in the world of algae. Recently, using skills gained at these courses, I have been assisting in the identification of algae and producing images for a project which is looking at Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in Edinburgh. Currently, I am preparing a local exhibition of microscope images of freshwater life (including algae) for COP26 to show how important algae are to the food chain and life on our planet.
Alex Lai Man Chun: “Crown of thorns (Gloeotrichia sp.)”
I have an MRes in microbiology, specifically biofilm research, and an undergraduate degree in biology, both from the University of Portsmouth. I have an interest in microscopy and discovered my passion for algae when I attended an algae identification course at Durham University taught by David John, Brian Whitton and Martyn Kelly. I currently work for South East Water as a Microbiology Analyst, specialising in Cryptosporidium and Giardia, but also performing routine algae tests across our own network and also for external customers. The warm summer weather of the last couple of years helped me in build a library of algae images and descriptions to help with identifications during our routine analyses as well as for training new analysts in the laboratory.
Robin Fales: “Nereocystis in the Salish Sea”
Robin Fales is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington Department of Biology and Friday Harbor Laboratories. She is interested in understanding the responses of foundation species to global change in order to inform conservation and management. Her current research is focused on understanding kelp stressors in the Salish Sea. Previously, she studied rockweed community dynamics and long-term change while obtaining her masters degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She shares her love of algae with her students as a teaching assistant for marine botany and ecology courses and through photos on social media.
Alisa Mihaila: “Asparagopsis pacman”
My name is Alisa Mihaila and I grew up in Wellington, New Zealand. I completed my undergraduate degree at Victoria University, Wellington; however my fascination for seaweed began during my MSc degree at the University of Waikato, where I am now a PhD student developing methods for cultivating Asparagopsis armata. I spend a lot of my time snorkelling in New Zealand’s beautiful intertidal zone and examining seaweed using various microscopes. Even after hundreds of hours spent doing this, I continue to be amazed and intrigued.