• Sample with molecular biology extracts prepared for analysis


The Algal Microbiome: Friends and Foes

The relationship between algae and the microbial community living with them (the algal microbiome) are of critical importance to algal biology including seaweed farming. The ALFF project has been designed to improve our understanding of these relationships – ranging from the essential to the devastatingly harmful.

At the heart of ALFF are multidisciplinary research-based projects, each with a focus on either pathogens, mutualistic symbionts, endosymbiotic micro-organisms, biofilms or bioinformatics.

The main aims of ALFF research are

  1. to identify, classify and utilise naturally occurring algal symbionts and pathogens
  2. to tackle inter- and intra-species signalling and chemical ecology in aquaculture, the natural environment and simplified systems
  3. to harness state-of-the-art genomics, molecular and biochemical techniques to characterise these interactions

Our research aims to support the development of superior mass algal cultivation and bio-control strategies.

ALFF also involves an ambitious outreach and public engagement programme in collaboration with highly renowned institutions such as the Flanders Marine Institute and the United Nations University. We are developing outreach materials for exhibitions, films, presentations and activities to help decision-makers and the public better understand the issues and opportunities relating to the sustainable use of our aquatic freshwater and marine resources.

ALFF is being coordinated by Dr Claire Gachon.

Here are some of the highlight results from the ALFF project.