Slimewatch

Slimewatch, Susi Arnott

Susi re-visits her roots as a research biologist
in this art+science collaboration investigating microbiomes.

Part of Totally Thames 2019 that runs from 1-30 September
www.totallythames.org

The Thames in central London is turbid; plankton in the water column don’t get much light for photosynthesis. But inter-tidal mudflats offer opportunites to their relations, the surface-dwelling benthos.
When the tide falls and daylight reaches the foreshore, ‘commuter diatoms’ and other micro-algae migrate vertically up through the grey mud. As individuals, they are microscopically small. As communities, they bloom into visible coloured patches of reds, browns and greens – chlorophyll, accessorised with other pigments.

They use these pigments to photosynthesise and fix atmospheric carbon
into arrays of organic molecules – the basis of whole ecosytems.
And they use some of this energy themselves, to migrate back down when the tide rises.

Colour and movement changes with every tidal cycle. Dr.Susi Arnott is working with Prof.Jane Lewis and undergraduate Dain Son at the University of Westminster, to explore what’s going on.
Field and lab observation, research and electron microscopy will come together for academic and exhibition work in summer-autumn 2019.