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Dr Michele Stanley


Principal Investigator in Microalgal Molecular Phycology

I have over 19 years research experience in the area of marine biochemistry and molecular biology, working on applied phycological projects for more than 12 years initially at the University of Birmingham before taking my current position in 2006.

Within SAMS I am currently establishing a research group focusing on the fundamental aspects of phycology, which have potential commercial applications.  My main areas of interests include the potential of algal biomass as a source of renewable energy, the functional genomics of algal biofouling and adhesion and algal cell wall development.

At SAMS I am a member of the ...

I am also a user of the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa and of the analytical capabilities at the SAMS.


Career / education



Research activities

Research projects

  1. Scottish Biofuels Programme
  2. EnAlgae: Aiming to develop sustainable technologies for algal biomass production, EnAlgae is a four year strategic initiative of the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme bringing together 19 partners and 14 observers across seven EU member states.
  3. BioMara: Sustainable Fuels from Marine Biomass. BioMara aims to demonstrate the feasibility and viability of producing mari-fuels from marine biomass derived from both macroalgal (seaweeds) and microalgal (single celled plants) sources as an alternative to agri-fuels production from terrestrial land plants: in particular targeting specific questions designed on building on the current knowledge base available within this unique set of geographical regions.  This will not only provide the area with access to a more economically and environmentally sustainable local renewable fuel source, but also help service local public transport infrastructure and build on the regions’ technology base.  At the same time, development of mari-fuels will help to support traditional ways of life in remoter communities by providing locally produced, relatively cheap, low impact fuel.
  4. COG: Control of Grazers. This project aims to develop robust methodologies for the early detection protozoan “infection” of algal mass-cultures by grazing protozoans and, by studying algal/protozoan interactions under a range of environmental conditions develop management strategies that should prevent or reduce damage caused by protozoan grazing.
  5. Sustainable Bioenergy from Microalgae: A systems perspective
  6. PHYCONET: unlocking the IB potential of microalgae: One of 13 Industry-Academia Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (funded by BBSRC, value £1.5m). Directors are Dr Michele Stanley from SAMS and Dr Saul Purton from University College London


Research grants


Selected publications
  • Stanley MS, Day JG (2014). Algal Bioenergy. eLs DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023715
  • Schiener P, Black KD, Stanley MS, Green DH (2014). The seasonal variation in the chemical composition of the kelp species Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborea, Saccharina latissima and Alaria esculenta. Journal of Applied Phycological (on line).
  • Day JG, Burt DJ, Achilles-Day UEM, Stanley MS (2013). Future algal biofuels: implications of environmental temperature on production strain selection. International Journal of Ambient Energy DOI: 10.1080/01430750.2013.864584
  • Slocombe SP, Yi Zhang Q, Black KD, Day JG, Stanley MS (2013). Comparison of screening methods for high-throughput determination of oil yields in micro-algal biofuel strains. Journal of Applied Phycology 25:961-972.
  • Hughes AD, Black KD, Campbell I, Heymans JJ, Orr KK, Stanley MS, Kelly MS (2103). Comments on “Prospects for the use of macroalgae for fuel in Ireland and UK: An overview of marine management issues. Marine Policy 38: 554-556

  • Roleda MY, Slocombe SP, Bell E, Leakey R, Day JG, Stanley MS (2013) Optimization of algal biomass and lipid production: effects of temperature and nutrient regimes on the batch culture of six oleaginous microalgae employing a two-phase cultivation strategy. Bioresource Technology 129: 439- 449

  • Slocombe SP, Ross M, Day JG, Thomas N, Stanley MS (2013). A rapid and general method for measurement of protein in micro-algal biomass. Bioresource Technology 129: 51-57.

  • Hughes AD, Kelly MS, Black KD, Stanley MS (2012). Biogas from Macroalgae: Is it time to revisit the idea? Biotechnology for Biofuels 5:86

  • Hughes AD, Black KD, Campbell I, Davidson K, Kelly MS, Stanley MS (2012). Does Seaweed offer a solution for bioenergy with biological carbon capture and storage? Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 6: 402-407.

  • Callaway, R, Shinn, AP., Grenfell, SE. Stanley MS et al (2012). Review of climate change impacts on marine aquaculture in the UK and Ireland. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems doi: 10.1002/aqc.2247
  • Stanley MS, MacDonald J, Jenkins T (2012). Algal Bioenergy, Ecosystem Services and the AB SIG.  Biofuels 3 255-258
  • Day, JG, Slocombe, SP, Stanley, MS (2012). Overcoming biological constriants to enable the exploitation of microalgae for biofuels. Bioresource Technology doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2011.05.033
  • Day, JG, Slocombe, SP, Stanley, MS (2011). Algal Biofuels: Biological Bottlenecks. European Journal of Phycological 46:60-61
  • C Bowler, A E. Allen, J H. Badger, J Grimwood, K Jabbari, A Kuo, U Maheswari, C Martens, F Maumus, R P. Otillar, E Rayko, A Salamov, K Vandepoele, B Beszteri, A Gruber, M Heijde, M Katinka, T Mock, K Valentin, F Verret, J A. Berges, C Brownlee, J Cadoret, A Chiovitti, C J Choi, S Coesel, A De Martino, J. C Detter, C Durkin, A Falciatore, J Fournet, M Haruta, M J. J. Huysman, B D. Jenkins, K Jiroutova, R E. Jorgensen, Y Joubert, A Kaplan, N Kroger, P G. Kroth, J La Roche, E Lindquist, M Lommer, V Martin–Jezequel, P J. Lopez, S Lucas, M Mangogna, K McGinnis, L K. Medlin, A Montsant, M P Oudot–Le Secq, C Napoli, M Obornik, M Schnitzler Parker, J-L Petit, B M. Porcel, N Poulsen, M Robison, L Rychlewski, T A. Rynearson, J Schmutz, H Shapiro, M Siaut, M Stanley, M R. Sussman, A R. Taylor, A Vardi, P von Dassow, W Vyverman, A Willis, L S. Wyrwicz, D S. Rokhsar, J Weissenbach, E. V Armbrust, B R. Green, Y Van de Peer, I V. Grigoriev (2008). The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of diatom genomes. Nature doi:10.1038/nature07410
  • P G. Kroth*, A Chiovitti*, V Martin-Jezequel*, T Mock*, M Schnitzler Parker*, M S. Stanley*, A Kaplan, L Caron, A Gruber, T Weber U Maheswari, E. V Armbrust, C Bowler (2008). A model of the carbohydrate metabolism in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum deduced from whole genome analysis. PLoS One 3, e1426 (*equal contribution)
  • M.S Stanley, J.A Callow (2007). Whole cell adhesion strength of morphotypes and isolates of Phaeodactylum tricornutum (Bacillariophyceae). The European Journal of Phycology 42: 191-197
  • M.S Stanley, R Perry and J.A Callow (2005).  Analysis of Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) from the green alga Ulva linza (Chlorophyta).  The Journal of Phycology 41: 1219-1226
  • A.J Humphrey, J.A Finlay, M.E Pettitt, M.S Stanley, J.A Callow (2005). Effect of Ellman’s  Reagent and dithiothreitol on the curing of the spore adhesive glycoprotein of the green alga Ulva.  The Journal of Adhesion 81:791-803
  • M.S Stanley, M.E Callow, R. Perry, R.S Ablberte, R. Smith, J.A Callow (2002).  Inhibtion of fungal spore adhesion by zosteric acid as the basis for a novel, non-toxic crop protection technology.  Phytopathology 9:378-383


External activities / measures of esteem

Committee/panel activities

  • Member of the Society of Underwater Technology Marine Renewables Committee (2009-present)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Scottish Bioenergy (2010)


Invited lectures

  • Synnogy New Energy Forum event "Renewable energy from algae" (London 2010)
  • 19th International Symposium on Plant Lipids Cairns (Australia 2010)
  • Seaweed for Health, Food and Texture (Stornoway 2010)
  • European Energy Research Alliance Algal Workshop RISO (Denmark 2010)
  • NTI-SARF Aquaculture Orientation meeting (Edinburgh 2010)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office mission to China (2010)
  • British Phycology Society Annual meeting (2010)
  • National Non-Food Crop Centre Annual meeting (Leeds 2009)
  • International Energy Agency Meeting on Algal Biofuels (Belgium 2009)
  • The Orkney International Science Festival (2008)
  • Oban High School for the Argyll Environment Week (2008)
  • NERC Sustainability Theme meeting on Marine Algal Bioenergy (London 2008)
  • International Algal Culture Collection meeting (SAMS 2008)
  • Cross Parliamentary Group SPREEE (Renewable Energy and energy Efficiency) at the Scottish Parliament (2008)
  • Scotland’s Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather MSP (SAMS 2007)
  • Icelandic delegation on the potential of algal biomass as an energy source (SAMS 2007)
  • Phaeodactylum Genome Annotation meeting JGI (San Francisco 2006)
  • Invited seminars at Heriot-Watt University
  • BioMara: Launch event SAMS (April 2009), Launch event and workshop Belfast (June 2009), Workshop Sligo (October 2009), Workshop Strathclyde (April 2010) Stornoway open meeting (September 2010)


Media coverage

  • BBC 2 Scotland Landward programme: Scotland’s Countryside Magazine (23 April 2010)
  • BBC Alba News Item: BioMara launch (2 April 2009)


Professional memberships

  • Member of the British Phycology Society


Students and teaching activities

Current research students




BSc (Hons) Marine Science teaching

  • Module leader: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (year 2)
  • Lecturer: Fundamentals of Marine Biology (year 1)
  • Lecturer: Marine Biotechnology (year 3)
  • Final Year Honours Projects
My contact details

Dr Michele Stanley SAMS

Dr Michele Stanley
T: +44 (0)1631 559 295
F: +44 (0)1631 559 001
SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK