Algae Archive Project: Digitization and Exhibition of Seaweed from the SGO Herbarium, National Museum of Natural History

The Seaweed Collection of the SGO Herbarium (MNHN) began in 1911 , however, it was not until 1980 that the Botanical Area constituted a line of research on seaweed from the coast of Chile with emphasis on the island territories of Rapa Nui , Archipelago of Juan Fernández and the Antarctic Peninsula , bringing together approximately 80% of the benthic marine flora of continental, oceanic and Antarctic Chile. This base of systematic, taxonomic and biogeographic knowledge has made it possible to generate an important boost to phycological research in the Museum, which was led by marine biologist María Eliana Ramírez.

Specifically the Algae Archive Project Consider two stages . The first of them corresponded to the documentation, taxonomic update and curatorial review of the first 100 specimens selected for subsequent digitization (photographs), a stage that ended during October of this year (Photograph 1).

Photograph 1. Documentation, taxonomic update and curatorial review of the specimens for subsequent digitization (Valentina Montoya and Maria Eliana Ram í rez)

The second stage is aimed at the exhibition, dissemination and mediation of the archive, which will take place during the first half of 2024. Thus, during this year a discreet selection of copies of the more than 2,000 that make up the Collection has been launched. of Seaweed Museum, a stage that includes, in addition to photographs of the species (Photograph 2), the compilation of associated content, preparation for its exhibition and the provision of the record on the MNHN platform and database, as well as the adaptation of the information to the Algae Archive ( )

Photograph 2. Photographic record of the 100 specimens of the Seaweed Collection of the SGO- MNHN Herbarium (Photographs taken by Felipe Infante).

The Algae Archive Project has the participation of a professional team made up of the marine biologist María Eliana Ramírez (Emeritus Curator of the SGO Botanical-Herbarium Area), the main creator of the Collection, together with the marine biologist Valentina Montoya, the photographer Felipe Infant . Also participating are Javiera Gutiérrez , strategic designer and director of ADLA, and Maya Errázuriz , curator and art historian, Director of Art and Publications of Fundación Mar Adentro (Photograph 3).


Photograph 3. Scientific-artistic curatorial work of the Algae Archive Project 2023 (From left to right, Maya Errázuriz, Javiera Gutierrez and Valentina Montoya)

Starting in November of this year, a period of designing strategies for the dissemination of the Project will begin. To this end, the creation of audiovisual, sound, graphic and installation pieces that seek to attract intergenerational audiences is contemplated. At the same time, material will be prepared to publicize the history of the SGO Herbarium’s Seaweed Collection, in its links and relationships with art and science. In addition, educational workshops and experimental workshops will be held to address the various perspectives on the role and importance of algae as part of the biocultural heritage of our country.

Finally, mention that the generation of this digital repository will allow us to bring closer the diversity of seaweeds of the coasts of Chile to the public from the scientific, artistic and educational fields .



Ramirez C; ME and O. Gálvez H. 2016. Catalog of the Macroalgae of the Juan Fernández Archipelago and San Ambrosio Islands, preserved in the National Herbarium of Chile (SGO), of the National Museum of Natural History, Santiago, Chile (MNHNCL). Occasional Publication No. 65: 11-63.



(Español) Fundación Mar Adentro y Museo de Historia Natural