Living Data

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned
that this program contains images and voices of deceased persons.

Living Data



Algae dance to variable rhythms    Animation is used to visualise variable temperatures experienced by the macro alga commonly known as Neptune's necklace.

Tides that flow over a rock platform at Bilgola (north of Sydney) temporarily cool this habitat of the macro alga Hormosira Bansksii (Neptune's necklace). The cooling flood tides reduce the stress of dessication and high temperature and help regulate the alga's activity and abundance. Wave patterns represent the ebb and flow of tides. Dots are the algae eggs. The central figure is the fertilized embryo and the fronds its adult form (these are not to scale). When the tide is out, the stress of exposure is reflected in the activity and abundance of eggs and embryo, and matches the gentler tempo of the music. The stress and discomfort of algae when heated are expressed as less movement and abundance.

Data: Martina Doblin
Concept design: Martina Doblin and Lisa Roberts
Music: Sophie Green
Animation: Lisa Roberts


The young Earth, at the time of Life's arrival, was a hostile, highly volcanic world with a poisonous atmosphere that did not contain oxygen but had high Carbon Dioxide levels. It was photosynthesis, first by some Bacteria, then by Algal cells with green pigment (Protists) in the sea, and much later by Plants on land, that created an oxygenated atmosphere... Earth is the GREEN PLANET where the energy for nearly all Life depends on Photosynthesis.

Big Picture Story, Mary E. White, 2012