Michael Ross

        Photo of Mikey Ross of SAMS

Microalgal Biotechnology PDRA

I am a phycologist with an interest in optimising cultivation practices and the development of strains to produce biomass for specific applications or products.

To date, I have cultivated algae for a variety of purposes including aquaculture feed, bioenergy, bioremediation of nutrients and heavy metals, CO2 mitigation, and for high-value compounds.

Contact details:
  • michael.ross@sams.ac.uk
  • +44 (0)1631 559 493
  • +44 (0)7596327410

  • Research Gate

  • mikey.ross88

Research interests

My current research, as part of the ABACUS project, involves the development of micro-algal strains for commercially important high-value products and the implementation of a biorefinery approach.

My first contact with algae, however, was during my MSc project at the University of Stirling. I aimed to improve the broodstock performance of flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) by providing them with different micro-algal diets, specifically looking at the essential fatty acid composition.

I have worked as a support scientist on the BioMara project at SAMS. The overarching goal of BioMara was to demonstrate the feasibility and sustainably of producing algal biofuels.

I worked as an algal technician at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), at Swansea University. I was mostly involved in micro-algal cultivation on a variety of scales; from the maintenance of master cultures to operating 3,000L photobioreactors.

My Ph.D. thesis, at the University of Edinburgh and SAMS, was entitled 'Wastewater treatment by filamentous macro-algae'. This research investigated the potential of Cladophora parriaudii to remove nutrients and heavy metals from wastewater.


Current research projects

ABACUS: Algae for a biomass applied to the production of added value compounds. This project aims to enhance the production and commercialisation of high-value ingredients from micro-algae by optimising cultivation and developing a biorefinery approach. Funded by the European Commission. 2017-2020.


Past projects

Biomara: The Sustainable Fuels from Marine Biomass. Project funded by the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; The Crown Estate; Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for Northern Ireland; Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources. 2009-2012

Peer-reviewed publications

Ross, ME, Davis, K, McColl, R, Stanley, MS, Day, JG and Semiao, AJC (2018).  Nitrogen uptake by the macro-algae Cladophora coelothrix and Cladophora parriaudii: Influence on growth, nitrogen preference and biochemical composition. Algal Research, Vol 30, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2017.12.005

M.E. Ross, M.S. Stanley, J.G. Day, A.J.C. Semião (2017) A comparison of methods for the non-destructive fresh weight determination of filamentous algae for growth rate analysis and dry weight estimation, J. App. Phycol. 1-12.

S.P. Slocombe, Q. Zhang, M. Ross, A. Anderson, N.J. Thomas, Á. Lapresa, C. Rad-Menéndez, C.N. Campbell, K.D. Black, M.S. Stanley (2015) Unlocking nature’s treasure-chest: screening for oleaginous algae, Scientific Reports. 5.

S.P. Slocombe, M. Ross, N. Thomas, S. McNeill, M.S. Stanley (2013) A rapid and general method for measurement of protein in micro-algal biomass, Bioresource Technol. 129  51-57.


Book chapters

S.P. Slocombe, Q. Zhang, M. Ross, M.S. Stanley, J.G. Day (2016) 4 Screening and Improvement of Marine Microalgae for Oil Production, Microalgal Production for Biomass and High-Value Products, CRC Press, pp. 91-112.

Whilst working at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), Swansea University, I was involved in Knowledge Transfer Centre (KTC) projects. I provided technical and academic assistance, relating to algal biotechnology, for several businesses and enterprises in and around Wales.

Accessing consultancy services from SAMS

SAMS consultancy work is delivered through its wholly owned commercial subsidiary, SAMS Research Services Ltd. (SRSL).

SRSL operates a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) that is accredited to ISO9001:2008 standard, guaranteeing that all projects deliver the best possible service to our customers.All SRSL projects are planned by a professional programme manager who oversees a team of dedicated project managers, all of whom are focussed specifically on client delivery, and have scientific experience and technical expertise in fields relevant to their assigned projects.

For further information concerning commercial enterprise opportunities at SAMS, please contact the SRSL team by email (info@srsl.com) or phone +44 (0) 1631 559 470.

Alumni research students

Katharine David: Investigation into bioremediation and biofuel potential of Cladophora parriaudii. MEng (Civil) University of Edinburgh 2015-16. Katharine was awarded the Galliford Try Prize, an annual award granted to a Civil Engineering student for the most deserving MEng thesis.

Rory McColl: Assessing the bioremediation ability and bioruel feedstock potential of the macroalgae Cladophora parriaudii. MEng (Civil). University of Edinburgh. 2015-16.

Employment history

Since Sep 2017: Post-Doctoral Research Associate - ABACUS Project. SAMS

Feb 2012 - Dec 2013: Algal Technician. Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), Swansea University

Feb-Oct 2011: Support Scientist - BioMara project. SAMS



2014-17 PhD 'Wastewater treatment by filamentous macroalgae'. PhD. University of Edinburgh / SAMS.

2009-10 MSc Sustainable Aquaculture. University of Stirling

2005-09 BSc (Hons) Marine Biology. University of Stirling