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Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa

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The Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa is the most diverse collection of its kind in the world, with ca 3000 strains of marine and freshwater algae, protists and seaweeds.

CCAP supports a wide range of research at SAMS including:

  • algal biofuels
  • biotechnology
  • biodiversity
  • food safety (eg toxic algae)
  • polar science

The collection also has the potential to support other research topics including:

  • ecotoxicology
  • mariculture
  • biomarkers (eg for palaeo-environmental changes)


Contact information


CCAP collection

Algal cultures in CCAPIn phylogenetic terms, CCAP is the most diverse culture collection in the world, with over 3000 strains of marine and freshwater algae, protists and seaweeds from across the globe. Some of these cultures have been in cultivation for over a century while others have been added in the past few months - we frequently isolate new strains to add to the collection. The collection was started by Professor Ernst Georg Pringsheim - click here for our history.

The collection is made up of a wide range of taxa including cyanobacteria, eukaryotic phytoplankton, thalloid red algae, multicellular seaweeds, free-living non-pathogenic protozoa, and a small number of potentially pathogenic protozoa.

Strains are primarily maintained by serial sub-culture although about 30% of the algal strains and 2% of the protozoan strains are cryopreserved to maximise genetic stability.

CCAP also offers a wide range of services in addition to maintaining the collection and supplying cultures. We

  • accept standard deposits of cultures of algae and free-living, non-pathogenic protozoa
  • curate deposits of valuable strains for confidential safekeeping for the depositor
  • as an International Depository Authority (IDA) CCAP also accepts patented strains of (a) freshwater and terrestrial algae and cyanobacteria; (b) non-pathogenic free-living protozoa; and (c) marine algae and cyanobacteria other than large seaweeds
Cultures can be purchased for academic or commercial uses. For details please visit the dedicated CCAP site.


Current CCAP research activities
Vaucheria CCAP
  • the cultivation of algae and protists
  • collection genomics and barcoding
  • cryopreservation of protists and cyanobacteria
  • the physiology and taxonomy of various strains in the collection
  • the potential of microalgae for the production of biofuels 
  • controlling grazers in dense algal environments
  • toxic phytoplankton
  • algal parasites
  • endosymbionts


CCAP facilities

CCAP is among the world's best equipped culture collections. Eight staff service the collection which is located within the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology. 

CCAP lab 1 CCAP room 15oC CCAP lab 2Microscopy in CCAP - Dr John Day


Culturing Facilities

The CCAP Culturing Facilities include four constant temperature rooms and several individual incubators, providing illuminated culturing for the range of 2-20oC. There are also three laminar flow cabinets for aseptic culturing and one class II cabinet for pathogenic strains.


  • Leitz Axio Imager with high quality DIC and Phase objectives and digital camera.
  • Reichert Jung Polvar upright with DIC, dark field and phase contrast.
  • Inverted Zeiss Axioscop
  • Inverted Leitz
  • Other stereo and upright microscopes
  • Leica digital microscope camera


  • Planer controlled rate freezer Kryo 360
  • Cryo storage area


Media Preparation
  • Large front loading autoclave
  • Elga pure water supply
  • Miele laboratory dishwasher
  • Balances
  • pH meter
  • Microwave


Molecular Equipment
  • Thermocycler (PCR) machine
  • Mechanical bead grinder (cell disrupter)
  • Electrophoresis gel trays
  • Centrifuges
  • Water bath
  • Block heater





Scientists associated with CCAP:


Current research students associated with CCAP:

my contact details

Debra Brennan in CCAP

Culture Collection of Algae & Protozoa


T: +44 (0) 1631 559 268

F: +44 (0) 1631 559 001

Scottish Marine Institute

Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK

Contact us
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001