Dr Michael Ross

        Head and shoulder photo of Mikey Ross in a white lab coat with a flask full of algae

Algal Biotechnologist

I am a phycologist with an interest in all things algae.

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

Contact details:

Research interests and current / recent projects

I am interested in algae biotechnology for a variety of applications.

My recent research on the ABACUS project investigated algae for the production of high-value compounds, including carotenoids and terpenoids, for application in cosmetic and nutraceutical markets. I am now involved in the IMTA-related projects IMPAQT and ASTRAL.

My Ph.D. thesis, at the University of Edinburgh and SAMS, was entitled “Wastewater treatment by filamentous macroalgae”. This research investigated the potential of Cladophora parriaudii to remove nutrients and heavy metals from wastewaters.

While at CSAR, Swansea University, I was involved with the EnAlgae and BioAlgaeSorb projects. The main purposes of these projects were to investigate algae for the remediation of nutrients and flue gases and/or to produce algal biofuels.


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. I worked as a SAMS technician on this project.


Wider SAMS roles

I am the organiser of the SAMS seminar series.

I am the manager of the Molecular Biology Laboratory and the deputy manager of the Microbiology Laboratory at SAMS.


Peer-reviewed publications

Ross ME, Stanley MS, Day JG, Semião AJC (2021) Removal of metals from aqueous solutions using dried Cladophora parriaudii of varying biochemical composition. J Environ Manage. 290:112620. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112620 

Novoveská L, Ross ME, Stanley M, Pradelles R, Wasiolek V and Sassi J-F (2019) Microalgal carotenoids: A review of production, current markets, regulations, and future direction. Marine Drugs 17 (640):1-21.

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 30, 1-10. 

Ross ME, Stanley MS, Day JG, Semião AJC (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

Slocombe SP, Zhang Q, Ross M, Anderson A, Thomas NJ, Lapresa Á, Rad-Menéndez C, Campbell CN, Black KD, Stanley MS (2015) Unlocking nature’s treasure-chest: screening for oleaginous algae, Scientific Reports. 5

Slocombe SP, Ross M, Thomas N, McNeill S, Stanley MS (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 for algal biotechnology related projects, for several businesses and enterprises in and around South-West 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.


BSc (Hons) Marine Science

Year 1: Fundamentals of Marine Biology: Leading one practical

Year 2: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Module leader and lecturer

Year 3: Marine Biotechnology: Lecturer

Year 4: Dissertation: Supervisor

MSc Aquaculture, Environment and Society

Algal Module: Lecturer

MSc Industrial Biotechnology (University of Strathclyde)

Blue Biotechnology: Lecturer / practical leader


Current research students

Eleanor Wood: Optimising strain selection and developing a biorefinery for industrially relevant microalgae. PhD. Sep 19-Sep 23. SAMS UHI

Sarah Kate Read: Heavy metal remediation using live algal biomass. PhD. Sep 18 - Sep 22. University of Edinburgh

Claire Garfield: Chemical ecology of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra and associated bacteria. MRes. Oct 20 - Oct 21. SAMS UHI


Alumni research students

Benjamin Barclay: Screening of diatoms with regards to applications for their inorganic silica frustules. BSc Marine Science. 2019-20. SAMS UHI

Nina Long: Optimizing cultivation conditions for the enhanced growth and synthesis of high-value compounds from micro-algae. BSc Marine Science. 2018-19. SAMS UHI

Arianna Rizzo: Optimization of Haematococcus pluvialis culture conditions to promote astaxanthin production. MSc (ERASMUS+). 2018-19. University of Ancona

Katharine Davis: 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.

External activities

Associate Editor of the Applied Phycology journal

Representative for the UHI Water Quality Innovation Group KE

Keynote speaker, eg on algal bioremediation at the EBNet/Algae UK workshop (Oct 19)

Peer-reviewing scientific manuscripts (eg Applied Phycology; Brazilian Journal of Biology; Hydrobiologia; Journal of Applied Phycology; Scientific Reports)


Professional memberships

British Phycological Society: Member since 2015

Employment history

Since Sep 2017: Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Algal Biotechnology. 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