Algae R&D Centre - Image

The ALGAE R&D CENTRE at Murdoch University carries out multidisciplinary research and research training on a wide range of basic and applied topics relating to algae and seagrasses.

Research areas include microalgae and macroalgae cultures for wastewater treatment, commercial production of algae for biofuels using conventional and un-conventional methods, production of carotenoids by the large-scale culture of microalgae such as Dunaliella salina and Haematococcus pluvialis, effects of ocean acidification on marine plants, seagrass bed rehabilitation, coral reef and temperate intertidal ecology, seaweed taxonomy, sponge-algae symbioses, phytoplankton dynamics, and toxic dinoflagellate monitoring and management.

One of our main aims is to integrate biology and engineering of the algal cultivation to maximise the productivity. To support this there is a strong collaboration with Engineering at Murdoch. This collaboration includes work on computational modelling of the algal cultivation systems, process design, process control and techno-economic assessment of a range of systems or applications. The effective use of solar irradiance and manipulation of the spectra of light microalgae receive is a further area of interest. The cross-disciplinary nature of the Centre allows us to capitalise on new and novel processes or technologies which can be used to improve the cultivation of microalgae.

The core facility of the Centre is a dedicated building and outdoor culture area (ponds and photobioreactors) on the Murdoch University, South Street Campus which allows the close integration of laboratory studies with large-scale outdoor studies. Staff and laboratories and support services also located in other parts of the Murdoch University campus.

We have an extensive culture collection of microalgae cultures in the Murdoch University Microalgae Culture Collection (MURCC) and specimens of seaweeds in the Murdoch University Herbarium (MURU), and a field station at Coral Bay, W.A. The centre also has access to extensive analytical and engineering development facilities at the South Street Campus. These include data acquisition systems and process modelling software for monitoring and optimisation of the cultivation, an outdoor test area for renewable energy systems and various optical or electronic measurement techniques. We also have access to a state of the art solar simulator for testing renewable energy devices. We also provide a phytoplankton, toxic algae and seaweed identification service, the contract culture of microalgae, the design of algae culture systems, techno-economic modelling, ecosystem assessments and advice on algae bloom management.

Most recent Books and reports:

  1. The Physiology of Microalgae (2016)
  2. Biomass and Biofuels from Microalgae (2015)
  3. 'Algae for Biofuels and Energy' - (2013)
  4. Bio-prospecting and growth of macroalgae on anaerobic digestion piggery effluent (ADPE)
  5. Identification of the optimum sites for industrial-scale microalgae biofuel production in WA using a GIS model (2012) (alternate link)

Commercial-scale microalgae culture

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The production of valuable products and services through the use of microalgae culture is a major research and development focus of the Centre.

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Coral Reef Ecology

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Our research on coral reef ecology includes studies or coral/algae interactions, sponge/alga symbioses, and the effects of global warming on coral reefs

Taxonomy and Systematics

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All studies of organisms need to be supported by a good understanding of their taxonomy and systematics.

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