Food, fertilizer, cosmetics, health... algae are present in our everyday lives and have been for thousands of years. And yet people know very little about them. Through this exhibition, the Tropical Aquarium lifts the veil on the world of the great marine algae, their surprising properties, incredible diversity and the vital role they play in maintaining biodiversity.
Algae are everywhere, all the time
Used by humans for thousands of years, algae are omnipresent in everyday products. As a way to explore these sometimes surprising uses, the first part of the exhibition recreates a home interior and invites visitors to find out where the algae are hiding. The products presented reveal the extent of the properties and uses of these plants as a resource utilised by man in areas as diverse as food, cosmetics, health, household products, culture, gardening, decoration and art.
What are algae?
Inside a laboratory, like a scientist, members of the public are invited to explore the biological characteristics of algae. Thanks to interactive sensory modules, they can test out their knowledge of these surprising plants while grasping their incredible diversity.
“How do algae feed themselves?” “How do they reproduce?” or “What causes their smell?”, each module is an opportunity to answer a specific question..
A discovery of coastal marine ecosystems
Algae play a vital role in maintaining an extensive biodiversity. Immersed in a scene recreating the seabed, visitors can explore several particularly remarkable habitats by means of animated projections: kelp forests, red algae prairies, maerl beds, coralline algae…
Algae and humans: protection from threats
The exhibition ends with a conservation area, emphasizing the fragility of algae in the face of the many different threats, mainly human, they are facing. Essential for the correct functioning of undersea ecosystems and for humans, the conservation of their biodiversity is an issue of immense importance. Through video testimonials from algae research, conservation and protection programmes, visitors become aware of the different threats and also the protective measures that have been taken in their favour.
- General Commissioner : Dominique Duché, Director of the Tropical Aquarium until March 31 2021.
- Scientific Commissioner : Line Le Gall, professor at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
To take things a step further
Companion book to the exhibition : Née parmi les algues, petite histoire de pieuvre
Long brown algae dance in the currents: these are kelp. Close by, a tiny octopus egg has just hatched... A perilous odyssey awaits the little octopus, who will travel across vegetation bustling with biodiversity, kelp forests, a red algae prairie and a maerl bed.
This documentary book gets into the “depths” of the matter for young readers, with abundant illustrations and cut-outs, a way to discover algae and their environment, their role, their importance, the various marine creatures who live alongside them and benefit from them. Many marine animals (molluscs, mammals, birds, fish...) and a female octopus, narrator of a story about her own existence, “accompany“ readers through a series of three “habitats” concentrated around the French and British coasts.
- written by Gilberte Bourget, Line Le Gall and Emma Giuliani
- published by the Muséum National d'Histoire naturelle
Around the exhibition
Après une visite de l’exposition Algues Marines à la découverte du monde méconnu des algues, les enfants confectionneront un petit alguier coloré à l’aide de papiers, pochoirs et matériaux recyclés.