Are Algae Afraid of the Dark?: A study on the effects of four levels of light exposure on Chlorella vulgaris.

Nicolas Aleman, Eva Christian, Jordan Clayborn, Quinn Stretcher, Xi Wen


Our team wanted to find the connection between modified light exposures and algae growth for the specific algae species, Chlorella vulgaris. Based on research we know that algae are photosynthetic organisms that require light to survive. With that in mind, we hypothesized that when exposed to a higher amount of light, algae would better grow, metabolize, and reproduce. To test our hypothesis we subjected four different photobioreactors under different levels of light exposure. Our three experimental groups had either white cheesecloth, black mesh, or foil wrapped around their individual photobioreactors, which varied the levels of light exposure. Our control group had no modifications made to its photobioreactor. We used a fluorometer and hemocytometer to measure the chlorophyll content and the cell growth of the algae after two trials. In the end, the data gathered attested to not uphold our hypothesis. There was no correlation discovered upon analyzing our measurements that aligned with any certain outcome. We reasoned that a lack of specialized equipment may be to blame for the inconclusive data. For posterity, it should be noted that better equipment as well as longer study periods may positively contribute to evolving algal research.

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