Biodesign Projects

Algae, People and Design


The term ‘algae’ represents a large range of photosynthetic organisms.

Seaweed is a type of algae, sometimes known as micro algae and generally live attached to rock or other hard organisms in coastal areas. It’s primary requirements are  seawater and light (for photosynthesis). The presence of algae in an ecosystem is imperative as seaweed removes undesired nutrients from water and is a natural filter.

Algae farming: Growing cyanobacteria ( a group of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis) and algae does not require arable land. Researchers say that algae could be 10 or even 100 times more productive than traditional bio energy feedstocks. Furthermore, algae fuel is now known to be an alternative to liquid fossil fuel.

Algae is a bioindicator of water pollution as they change and adapt in relation to water chemistry, an intelligent reaction to problems that eco systems and humans face. Certain algae species’ flourish in polluted water. Many blue green algae occur in nutrient poor water, while some grow well in organically polluted waters..

Stigeoclonium tenueis- heavily polluted water

Nitzschia palea- mildly polluted

Cocconeis + Chamaesiphon- unpolluted

Navicula Accomoda- presence of sewage and organic pollution (this species occurs in the most heavily polluted water

How do we percieve algae?


The presence of algae is perhaps often seen as negative; dirty water that is unclean to enter and is unhealthy.