Dr Michael Ross

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

CCAP Manager and Senior Researcher in Algal Biotechnology

I am an algal biotechnologist with a broad range of interests within this field. These include applied algal research relating to food and feed, bioenergy, bioremediation, CO2 sequestration, and to produce high-value compounds.

In addition I have a growing interest in microbial ecology, taxonomy, genomics and metabolomics.

Besides my research, I am managing our Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa.

Contact details:

Research interests 

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

My main role is to manage and authorise the CCAP budget and ensure delivery of contracts, reporting, and bringing in exciting research projects for the benefit of the scientific community. I will also have overall responsibility for the new CCAP-ARIES centre.

I am currently involved in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture related projects IMPAQT and ASTRAL, where I conduct biochemical analyses on seaweed biomass harvested from our research seaweed farm.

I have previously been involved with the ABACUS project, for which I investigated algae for the production of high-value compounds, including carotenoids and terpenoids, for application in cosmetic and nutraceutical markets. I also worked as a technician on the BioMara project which screened 175 algal strains from CCAP for their potential use as a biofuel.

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.


Current projects







Past projects

ABACUS: In this project I investigated algae for the production of high-value compounds including carotenoids and tepenoids for application in cosmetics and nutraceuticals. 

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

Wood EE, Ross ME, Jubeau S, Montalescot V, MacKechnie K, Marchington RE, Davey MP, McNeill S, Hamilton C, Stanley MS (2023) From green to orange: The change in biochemical composition of phototophic-mixotrophic Chromochloris zofingiensis in pilot-scale photobioreactors. Algal Research 75: 103238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2023.103238

Wood EE, Ross ME, Jubeau S, Montalescot V, Stanley MS (2022) Progress towards a targeted biorefinery of Chromochloris zofingiensis: a review. Biomass Conversion and Biorefineryhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s13399-022-02955-7 

Rizzo A, Ross ME, Norici A, Jesus B (2022) A Two-Step Process for Improved Biomass Production and Non-Destructive Astaxanthin and Carotenoids Accumulation in Haematococcus pluvialis. Applied Sciences. 12: 1261. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031261

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.

I have been involved in several research projects, with industrial partners or of high IP potential. Alongside SAMS Enterprise, I have performed literature reviews, and biochemical analyses on biomass, and submitted tender bids for commercial clients.

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 Enterprise.

SAMS Enterprise 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 SAMS Enterprise 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 SAMS Enterprise team by email (info@sams-enterprise.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, lecturer, 4 practicals

Year 3: Marine Biotechnology: Lecturer, 1 practical

Year 4: Dissertation: Supervisor

MSc Aquaculture, Environment and Society

Algal Module: Lecturer

MSc Industrial Biotechnology (University of Strathclyde)

Blue Biotechnology: Lecturer / practical leader

EIT Food 'Sustainable Aquaculture' Autumn School 2021: I helped co-ordinate and deliver material for this EU-funded Inspire Programme month-long training course (1-26 Nov 2021).

I am also involved with the organisation and delivey of the annual CCAP training courses (see CCAP website for current programmes).

I was 'highly commended' in the best research or dissertation supervisor category of the HISA Awards 2021.


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

Pauline Martin: Optimising culture conditions for the rhodophyte Porphyridium aerugineum. BSc dissertation. Sep 21-May 22. SAMS UHI


Alumni research students

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

Jacob Wiseman: CCAP is going big! Process optimization of large-scale microalgae cultivation. Ettrick internship. 2021. SAMS UHI

Jacob Wiseman: Testing lipid extraction methodologies on three species of microalgal biomass. BSc dissertation. 2020-21. SAMS UHI

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

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

Peer-reviewing scientific manuscripts for 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 CCAP Manager & Senior Researcher in Algal Biotechnology. SAMS

2017-21: Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Algal Biotechnology. SAMS

2012-13: Algal Technician. Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), Swansea University

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