Welcome to Porphyra.org. This site is devoted to making information and resources about Porphyra available to the public, students and teachers, and researchers who study this marine alga.
Porphyra (common names: “nori”, “laver”) belongs to the red algae, and it is found in the intertidal and subtidal areas of the world’s oceans. There are over 115 described species. Fossils closely related to Porphyra are dated as being 1.2 billion years old.
Several species of Porphyra are important sea vegetables that are grown for human food and other products. The annual value of the Porphyra crop is over $1.4 billion (See Aquaculture and Products). Basic biological studies of Porphyra provided the breakthroughs that led to successful commercial cultivation.
Porphyra is studied by scientists interested in photosynthesis, morphological and anatomical evolution, and stress tolerance, to name a few areas of active research. For this reason, the entire nuclear genome of one species, Porphyra umbilicalis, is being sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) of the U.S. Department of Energy (See Genome).
To promote studies and training in algal genomics, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded a Research Collaboration Network (RCN) in 2007 based around Porphyra and related algae. We welcome enquiries from scientists interested in joining the RCN, which holds meetings annually to promote collaboration and discussion among scientists. Application information is available on this site (see RCN).
Several exercises using Porphyra are provided on the Education page for K-12 teachers and professors.
A list of some of the directors of the Porphyra JGI and RCN projects is provided here. Please contact us with your comments and questions.