Oh the places you will grow!: A Study of the Effect of Nutrients on The Rate of Growth in Nannochloropsis oculata Algae

Reagan Conrad, Jorja Ford, Krystal Rodriguez, Brylee Maddox, Emilee Harmon


The rate of growth and oxygen production in algae depends on its relationship with usable nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, or some mixture of the two, like Miracle-Gro (Hinga 2002). The mixture of all these nutrients are a key component in algae productivity and the rate at which it grows (Galloway et al. 2013). This led us to conduct this experiment in order to determine which nutrient causes the rate of growth in algae to be the greatest. We hypothesize that Miracle-Gro will have the greatest amount of growth due to the compound containing nitrogen and phosphorus. To find the answer to our hypothesis, we are using four 400 mL water bottles and adding three different nutrients to each bottle, leaving one with just water as the control. Adding urea in the first bottle, sodium phosphate in the second bottle, and Miracle-Gro (a mixture of both urea and  sodium phosphate) in the third, along with adding 4 mL of algae and growth media in each bottle. We found that urea has the greatest cell count, while the control had the greatest dry weight. This means that our hypothesis isn’t valid since Miracle-Gro didn’t have the highest growth rate. Meaning urea and the control (water) had the greatest effect in growth.

Full Text:



French, D.P. 2021. Investigating Biology: A Laboratory Resource Manual. Ed. Moria Harmon. 2021 Edition. Fountainhead Press, USA. BiRAQC.1 - BiRAQC.19

Galloway, J.N., A. M. Leach, A. Bleeker, and J. W. Erisman. 2013. A chronology of human understanding of the nitrogen cycle. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0120.

Ghasemi, Y., S. Rasoul-Amini, A. T. Naseri, N. Montazeri-Najafabady, M. A. Mobasher, and F. Dabbagh. 2012. Microalgae biofuel potentials (Review). Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology 48: 126-144.

Hinga, K.R. 2002. Effects of pH on coastal marine phytoplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series 238: 231-300


  • There are currently no refbacks.