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Algal Culture and Microbiology Laboratory


Technician transferring algal cultures.

Algal cultures

The CAAE supports research on freshwater, estuarine and marine harmful algae. Species from harmful algal blooms are isolated and cultured in the algal culture laboratory. The CAAE presently maintains 80 algal species in culture, including 200 strains of various heterotrophic dinoflagellates as well as phototrophs and mixotrophs. The taxa include:

  • Estuaries: heterotrophic dinoflagellates (Pfiesteria spp., cryptoperidiniopsoids, others), raphidophytes (Heterosigma akashiwo, Chattonella subsalsa)

  • Estuaries and marine coasts: mixotrophic dinoflagellates (Karenia brevis, Karlodinium veneficum, Alexandrium monilatum, Alexandrium tamarense)

  • Freshwaters and estuaries: mixotrophic and phototrophic cryptophytes, chlorophytes, diatoms, haptophytes (e.g. Pavlova sp., Prymnesium parvum)

  • Freshwater cyanobacteria (Anabaena spp., Anabaenopsis spp., Cylindrospermopsis spp., Lyngbya spp., Microcystis spp., Raphidiopsis sp.)

Bacterial cultures

Additionally, the laboratory became state-certified in 2010 in the detection of pathogenic bacteria, which can be used as indicators to assess the microbiological quality of water. The CAAE maintains cultures of Enterococcus faecium and Escherichia coli to satisfy requirements for the testing of enteroccci and fecal coliform.

Culturing facilities include:

  • NuAire (NU-201-630) laminar flow hood
  • Percival E75L1 plant growth chamber (71.6 ft3)
  • Caron 6030 environmental chamber (30 ft3)
  • IDEXX Quanti-Tray Sealer Model 2X
  • Spectroline Model CM-10 Fluorescence Analysis Cabinet
  • Primus sterilizer
  • Two walk-in cold rooms
  • -80°C freezer (media, toxin sample storage)
  • incubators and waterbaths

The CAAE also operates a satellite facility within walking distance of the main lab. This lab features:

  • Mass culture area with ~3,000 L growing capacity at any given time
    (16 culture tubes, each ~190 L)
  • Biohazard containment chambers to house aquaria for bioassays with toxigenic algae
  • Fish culture area
Algal Culture and Microbiology Laboratory at the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology

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