The Backbone of Life: The Relationship Between Magnesium Levels and Growth In Nannochloropsis oculata

Brooklyn Mason, Emma Lathem, Ethan McCay, Alora Thompson, Ryan Grewe


The purpose of this study was to determine whether magnesium caused the algae to grow more or less effectively. We wanted to understand what chemicals could promote saltwater algae growth most successfully.  Magnesium plays an important role in the growth of algae, as magnesium is a central chemical for Chlorophyll which is necessary for photosynthesis. Our hypothesis was that magnesium would cause algae to grow less efficiently, as too much magnesium can be detrimental to algae growth. To test this, we collected algae levels after allowing it to grow in a sanitized bottle of water mixed with various forms of magnesium. We ran three trials that lasted a week. The experiment entailed a control group that consisted of no magnesium and three experimental groups with different amounts of magnesium added. To portray results we used a hemocytometer to count the cells that were present. Our findings concluded that we supported our hypothesis.  Magnesium added to saltwater slows down algae growth. This meant that the most productive experiment group had no extra magnesium added (the control group).

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