The Grand Finalage:A study of how light intensity affects Nannochloropsis oculata growth

Matthew Singleterry, Makayla Schneider, Claire Williams, Kylee Turner, Sofia Gomez, J. A.


Algae is a diverse group of eukaryotic organisms. It can be used to promote healthier skin, prevent diseases and most significantly, be manipulated to create algal biofuels. The growth rate of algae varies depending on light intensity due to photosynthesis playing a key factor in the growth process. In this study, the algal growth was measured when the light intensity was manipulated. It was hypothesized that if the limit the amount of light that the Nannochloropsis oculata is exposed to, then the highest amount of light exposure with no covering will promote the greatest rate of algal growth, because it will have the highest photosynthesis potential. A photobioreactor was built to create an environment in which the algae can grow. In addition, a hemocytometer was utilized to collect the data by helping to count the cells of algae in the population. The results have shown that the algae population grows best when the population receives full light intensity or 306 µmol m⁻² s⁻² of light on a 14/10 light dark cycle. This information is useful for future studies in which they are figuring out the optimum light intensity for algal growth, which can be helpful when developing algal biofuels.

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