Algae in the UK

Below is a selection of institutes working on different aspects of algal biology. The information is from Algal Research in the UK, a report by Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley from InCrops for the BBSRC.  The full list can be found in the report.

bioactive natural products from marine organisms; deep time algal ecology; algal culture; isotope enrichment; fatty acid analysis; fate of algal material in marine ecosystems; oomycete-algae interactions
Aston chemical engineering applied to bioenergy and biofuels; bioenergy, intermediate pyrolysis, gasification, biochar, algae
Bangor biology, physics and economics large scale algal biomass/biofuels production
electrochemistry, solar energy conversion, materials chemistry, photo-microbial fuel cells
algal bioadhesion and biofouling; plant development and evolution; environmental toxicology; improved light delivery and photobioreactors
microalgal culture, physiological assessment, flow cytometry, metabolic stains
algal photosynthesis; impact of pesticides on biofilms; distribution patterns of macro and microalgae; UK expert diatom taxonomy; use of algae to assess ecological status; freshwater polar algal ecology; Polar microbiology, biogeochemistry, aquatic microbial ecology
molecular biology, biochemistry and evolution of biosynthetic pathways and photosynthesis in plants and algae, bioenergy; functional genomics tools (RNAi); algal-bacterial symbiosis; freshwater ecology, bioremediation; process engineering, carbon capture; biological physics, fluid dynamics, nonlinear dynamics; artificial photosynthesis, solar fuels; algal biophotovoltaics; molecular genetics of algae; eukaryotic flagellar dynamics and synchronization; colloidal physics; biological chemistry, microdroplets, microfluidics; engineering/chemical engineering and reactors; evolutionary paleobiology
productivity, photophysiology, coastal erosion and biostability; lipid biochemistry and molecular biology
environmental control, extraction of lipids and chemical components, enhanced growth
microbiology, biocatalysis; large scale production of biofuels, bioprocessing technology & innovation; outdoor offshore microalgae mass cultivation for biofuel production systems: productivity modelling and engineering; algae growth, harvesting and processing systems; environmental microbiology, biological processes
biophysics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology, evolution, environmental change; hydrogen and hydrogenases; molecular biology
cell biology of metals; lipid metabolism, DNA array, photosynthesis, enzymology, cyanobacteria gene regulation and transformation
East Anglia
functional genomics and reverse genetics, evolution, photosynthesis, lipids, cell division, growth, metatranscriptomics; microalgae: physiology, biochemistry, ecology; biological oceanography, some work on seaweeds; specialist interests in role of algae in global biogeochemical cycles; production of trace gases of atmospheric and climatic significance by marine micro- and macroalgae
experimental evolution in microalgae, microbial ecology in high CO2 environments; chemistry of the polysaccharides of charophytes in relation to early land plant phylogeny
photosynthetic energy conversion, microalgal culturing, environmental stress, nutrient requirements and limitation, algal proteomics, resource allocation strategies, phytoplankton ecology; ecophysiology of marine algae, production of trace gases; physiology and photosynthesis, chlorophyll a fluorescence, marine nutrient cycling and environmental change; photosynthesis, carbon allocation and production of extracellular products
lipid metabolism, primary carbon and nitrogen metabolism, antioxidant systems and reactive oxygen species
synthesis of bioactive marine natural products; behaviour of swimming algae; bioconvection; flow fields around individual swimming cells; effect of environmental stress on behaviour; biofuel production; intracellular dynamics; mathematical modelling; physics based experiments; reconstructing climate using coralline algae; marine biogeochemical cycling
bioremediation, integration of algal growth with AD
Imperial College London
water and wastewater treatment technologies; molecular biology and biochemistry of cyanobacteria, algae and chloroplasts with emphasis on photosynthesis and biofuels; environmental and economic assessment of algal biofuel systems; Life Cycle Analysis
Kings College London
natural products, molecular biology, bioinformatics
algae-based wastewater treatment in middle- and low-income countries; benthic geochemistry and ecology; biofuels and biorefinery, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), microwave processing, pyrolysis, upgrading of fuels, characterisation of fuels, nutrient recycling, combustion, emission behaviour; plant cell walls, polysaccharides
fluid dynamics; motility of micro-organisms
Liverpool John Moores
algal and nutrient relationships, algal ecology
diatom ecology and palaeoecology, biogeochemistry of silica, limnology
Manchester atmospheric science, marine boundary layer chemistry, photochemistry, aerosol processes, aerosol-cloud interactions; metal accumulation and remediation, calcium signalling; molecular genetics; fermentation process development, biorefinery engineering; ultrasound standing wave cell filtration, concentration and destruction
Marine Biological Association
algal cell biology, phytoplankton molecular biology, algal development and signalling; isolation and culturing of marine microalgae; molecular biology, virology
Natural History Museum
ecology and diversity of cyanobacteria, phylogenetics; algal physiology, algal culturing, gene expression; algal systematics, phylogenetics, genomics and conservation; evolution, genomics, phylogenetics, gene transfer, endosymbiosis
chemical engineering, intensification of downstream processes; algae chemical signalling; chemical manipulation; growth and lipid production; bioactive metabolites; biogas; anaerobic digestion; harvesting and dewatering; offshore production; seaweed fibre rheology and human gut function; algal functional groups, intertidal macroalgal ecology, plant-animal interactions, algal defence mechanisms, release of CDOM by macroalgae
bacterial cell-cell signalling, quorum sensing, cross-talk; chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments, palaeolimnology, aquatic ecology; lichen ecology, nitrogen fixation in cyanobacterial lichens
isotopic fractionation in the calcareous nanoplankton; isotope geochemistry of algal biominerals and organic components; algal remains as tracers of past climate change; ecological and biogeochemical response to environmental change; chloroplast development; evolution of land plants; carbon acquisition by marine algae, geochemistry of calcite and silica produced by algae, Rubisco kinetics and CCM function, paleoclimate
macroalgal ecology, carbon sequestration, ocean acidification e.g. biophysics of photosynthesis; solar conversion efficiency
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
molecular biology, protein chemistry, drug discovery; marine environmental research, phytoplankton, algal, pigments, biotechnology; algal biochemistry and biotechnology; algal biochemistry and biotechnology; optics, photosynthesis, primary production, phytoplankton biology, remote sensing; algal molecular biology; algal virology; biofuel production; algae, algal viruses, bioprocessing, biocatalysis
biogeochemistry, algae-nutrient interactions; molecular ecology; population biology/genetics; marine ‘aliens’
Queen Mary London
cell biology, biophysics, regulation of photosynthesis, biogenesis and turnover
Queen's Belfast
algal systematics, life histories, some applications; physiological ecology of marine algae; applications and aquaculture of seaweeds; economic exploitation of macroalgae; water movement and macroalgal growth
gut fermentation, health benefits of phytochemicals
Rothamstead Research
lipid metabolism & metabolic engineering
Scottish Association for Marine Science biological resources, algal biofuels, algal biotechnology, protistan cryopreservation, protozoan & algal culturing; algal diseases and pathogens, algal functional and environmental genomics; oomycete-algae interactions; biological resources, algal biofuels, algal biotechnology
photosynthesis and primary metabolism in diatoms; metabolic engineering; synthetic biology; systems biology; proteomics; bioreactor design, transport processes; enzymology, membrane assembly, spectroscopy; algal growth, physiology, biotechnology
Southampton (including National Oceanography Centre) molecular biology of chloroplast development; photobiology; tetrapyrroles; algal biofuel, photosynthesis in marine systems, structure/evolution of photosynthetic enzymes; algal bloom control, marine taxonomy
St Andrews
fisheries; bioactive products; microalgal defence; bioinformatics, genomics, phylogeny; diatoms, coastal ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem function; coastal ecology and sediment dynamics
Stirling evolutionary ecology, conservation biology; underwater optics, remote sensing, cyanobacteria
algal growth and nutrition (experimental and modelling); plankton predator-prey and hence biosecurity issues etc. (experimental and modelling); microalgal biomass production (esp PBRs); algal bioremediation; algal use in aquaculture; photo-bioreactor design; downstream processing of algal biomass; algal biotechnology and physiology; biochemical engineering, membrane filtration; bio-processing – microalgal harvesting, disruption & fractionation; microalgal physiology
Ulster diatoms, lake processes & production
University College London
diatoms; ecology and palaeoecology; shallow lake and pond palaeolimnology, limnology; palaeoecology, diatoms, wetlands, lakes; algal biotechnology, genetic engineering, orgenelle biology, photosynthesis
Warwick molecular ecology of marine picocyanobacteria and photosynthetic picoeukaryotes; niche adaptation mechanisms in marine picocyanobacteria; picocyanobacterial genomics and molecular biology; metal homeostasis in cyanobacteria and other organisms, in particular zinc; bio-analytical chemistry including elemental analysis and mass spectrometry; environmental microbiology, methylotrophy, trace gas metabolism
West of England
microbiology, microbial fuel cells, microbial volatiles, robotics; molecular biology, biochemistry
Westminster microalgal life cycles; dinoflagellates; taxonomy (traditional and molecular); isolation and culturing
York atmospheric chemistry, halogen chemistry, ocean-atmosphere interactions, macroalgal volatile emissions; mass spectrometry, separations, natural products, arsenic metabolism, algal polysaccharides; microwave pyrolysis, nanoparticles, mesoporous materials, polysaccharides, heterogeneous catalysis
Advanced Algal Technologies Development of systems for efficient algal growth and integration of algal production systems with power plants and waste recycling systems
Agrofuel Commercialises successful research and technology in the field of waste management and biodiesel production
Algaecytes Uses unique algae technology in an integrated biorefining process to produce clean biofuels, clean water, high value food additives and to grow plants sustainably
Algenuity Algenuity is a biotechnology research division of Spicer Consulting Limited, which brings together molecular biology with engineering, electronics, software and product development capabilities
Aquafuel Production of glycerine from salt-water algae
Aragreen Uses microalgae in waste water treatment and produce algae containing anti-oxidants, pigments and proteins for human and animal consumption
Enlightened Designs Development of flat panel photobioreactors for efficient biomass production
GlycoMar Discovery of valuable natural products from marine organisms, such as microalgae
InCrops Enterprise hub offering business support and consultancy
New Horizons Global Ltd. Uses fermentation technology on microalgae to produce an Omega-3 lipid
Perlemax Ltd.
 Uses microbubble technology for harvesting algae
PML Applications Isolation of novel marine algae for applications in drug discovery, biocatalysis, healthcare and bio-energy
Scottish Bioenergy Designs, installs and operates algal photobioreactor systems for carbon capture, wastewater treatment and biochemical production
SRSL Specialist marine consultancy and survey services
Supreme Biotechnologies Produces astaxanthin products from Haematococcus pluvialis cultivated in Nelson, New Zealand
Varicon Aqua Solutions Ltd. Supplies tubular photobioreactors for research and industrial production of algal biomass, and supply algae nutrients for production of marine and freshwater algae species
Xanthella Ltd.
Manufactures a modular photobioreactor for production of algal oil

A variety of resources are available that may be of particular interest to phycologists and schools, and others of more general interest.

For phycologists
  • Algal images can be obtained from AlgaeVision, a UK algal image database created by the British Phycological Society and the Natural History Museum, London.  The database can aid in identification of algae and also contains useful information such as dimension and collection details.
  • Algae World focuses on algae as part of the research and teaching programmes at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and also provides information on methods such as light microscopy.
  • The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has created a coded list of freshwater algae of the British Isles, to help researchers wanting to collect and store information on freshwater and terrestrial algae in the British Isles, by providing a standard set of names and identifying codes.

For schools
  • The British Ecological Society provides educational resources that include "Blooming algae", a lab-based activity investigating the effect of phosphorous and nitrogen on the growth of algae.
  • The Biology and Biotechnology Sciences Research Council organises activities to engage young people with the science and issues surrounding algal biofuels.  Activities include algal culture and chromatography and assessing the rate of photosynthesis.
  • Algae: a Practical Resource for Secondary Schools is a Society for General Microbiology publication, and supports the teaching of practical microbiology at Key Stage 3/4.

General interest
  • The makebiofuel website provides useful information about how algae is grown, the fermentation process to produce bioethanol, and how to make biodiesel at home.
  • Visit Planet Earth Online, a web magazine from the National Environment Research Council aimed at non-specialists with an interest in environmental science, for articles such as "Algae cultivation could boost UK industry".
  • Read about the Renewable Energy Strategy, an integral part of the Government’s overall UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, with information about the potential of algae energy.

Page last modified on 16 may 12 16:59