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Guide to Pressing Seaweed: Introduction
Introduction  Click here to buy the printed booklet version
About The Guide to Pressing Seaweed
This guide is designed to provide teachers, students, and enthusiasts with enough information to have fun and to learn about algae by pressing seaweed. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to algal collection and preservation techniques, but instead focuses on the basics of pressing seaweed. We've tried to provide enough detail and explanation so that common problems can be avoided and so that readers understand the process enough to know when and how they can modify the described procedures.

The Guide to Pressing Seaweed was written in early 2003 by Alex Frost and Molly Fallon with the editorial assistance of Kate Herman. Thanks to John Bolton, Jenny Bryant, Osborne Morton, Robert Patzner, and Craig Schneider for their helpful comments. Please contact us at with any questions, comments, or suggestions for additions or improvements to this guide.

Purchase copies of the guide
The printed version of the guide is available as a 32-page booklet for $8.95. We offer substantial discounts on orders of multiples, so that the guide can be pretty economical for classroom use. Ordering instructions and a more detailed description of the printed version can be found here.

How to use this guide online
This guide contains seven general steps. Move among these steps (from start to finish) by clicking on their names in the navigation bar marked with the orange arrow above. You can also move from step to step using the "Previous" and "Next" buttons at the bottom of each page, and you can return to this introduction from any page by clicking on the title in the upper left corner. Basic instructions are given in the first sentence or two of most descriptions, followed by an explanation and alternative techniques. To print out a page, click on the printer icon in the upper right corner to open a new window with a "printer friendly" version. Contact us if you are interested in ordering copies of the printed booklet version of the guide for a group or class.

Where to find more information on pressing seaweed (a few examples)
  • At a library: many field guides and books about seaweeds also include basic information about collecting and pressing specimens.
  • Cryptogamic Botany Company (that's us): more pictures and information on seaweed pressing. You can see photos of us collecting and pressing seaweed at our FieldCam page, and we plan to publish lesson plans for companion activities in the near future. Feel free to sign our mailing list to be notified about special events and updates.
  • from the lab of Dr. Inouye at the University of Tsukuba: our all-time favorite guide to pressing algae. In Japanese, but worth a look even if you can't read the text.
  • Collection and Preservation of Algae from the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution, USA): an important guide with detailed information on proper techniques for the creation of professional herbarium specimens.
  • How to Press and Mount Aquatic Plants from the Washington State Department of Ecology: good notes on pressing aquatic plants, which can be adapted to pressing algae.
Where to find supplies for pressing seaweed (a few examples)
  • At a hardware or art supply store: Hardware stores often stock cheesecloth, straps and clamps, and trays that are suitable for sorting and arranging specimens, and art supply stores are often the least expensive source for blotter and mounting paper. If you are gathering your materials at local stores, the biggest challenge is getting everything (your press, blotter, and cardboard) trimmed to the same size. Specialty suppliers (below) offer plant-pressing kits and supplies that are a standard size and ready to use.
  • From us: You can order our complete kit for pressing seaweeds as well as the expanded booklet version of The Guide to Pressing Seaweed through this website or by phoning us at 401.788.3191. See the "books, kits, etc." link above. If you are teaching a class, contact us to inquire about educational discounts and to get advice on the amount of supplies you might need.
  • Herbarium/biological supply houses: There are many companies that sell herbarium supplies. Although they don't offer kits or all the supplies associated with pressing seaweed, regular plant-pressing kits can be adapted for pressing seaweeds with the addition of a few other components. If you go this route, make certain to get the highest quality blotter and herbarium paper you can find, because the amount of water involved in pressing seaweeds can quickly wear out or overcome less sturdy papers.
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