Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant Sciences
Nikolausberger Weg 18
37073 Göttingen
Public exhibition: no
Guided tours: by appointment
Contact person:
Dr. Mike Lorenz
Tel.: 0551 39-27870, -25740
Email: and

Algae can be found almost everywhere – in all shapes and colors. In order to study their properties in the laboratory, living cultures are necessary. The collection of algae cultures at the University of Göttingen (SAG) is one of the world's largest and oldest collections of microscopic algae. Its inventory includes over 2,400 strains of microalgae and cyanobacteria from 538 genera and 1,424 species. These have been isolated worldwide primarily from terrestrial habitats and freshwater. A fifth of the algae isolates deposited in Göttingen are particularly valuable type strains.

The collection was founded in 1954 by Ernst Georg Pringsheim (1881–1970), a pioneer of algae research, at Georgia Augusta and has been growing steadily ever since. It has enjoyed international reputation as a biological resource and competence center for decades. The preservation, research and expansion of the holdings and the data associated with them as well as the further development of subject-specific methods are among the central tasks of the collection.

The special features and diversity of microalgae and cyanobacteria can only be revealed through microscopic observation or even molecular analyses. The algae strains that have been permanently preserved and reliably identified in Göttingen are available as valuable references.

An unlimited number of identical cultures can be produced from each strain. The SAG holdings are therefore accessible worldwide for research, teaching and biotechnology. They are presented with the associated scientific information in an online catalog. The employees send around 2,300 algae cultures to over 600 institutions every year. The biological material from the Göttingen collection represents an internationally intensively used research basis. Of current relevance are molecular signatures that have already been published for half of the Göttingen algae cultures.

Maike Lorenz

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