Resource recovery from filamentous algae

Algae are virtually ubiquitous, being capable of growing in a vast array of different environments; furthermore, their metabolic versatility and capacity to sequester nutrients and toxicants has stimulated interest in their bioremediation potential. In addition to their use in industrial and domestic wastewater treatment, this has included their use for aquaculture, as well as for bioenergy production. Filamentous microalgae, in particular, are an excellent platform for bioremediation since centrifugation or other expensive harvesting approaches are avoided and the biomass produced can be utilized for bioenergy production. Cladophora is a cosmopolitan green filamentous alga commonly found in rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal locations. It has previously been described as an ecological engineer supporting large diverse populations of both microalgae and bacteria that in-turn influence carbon cycling and produce large quantities of cellulose and hydrocarbons. The cell walls of Cladophora have ion exchange properties and can bind metals such as lead, copper and zinc and this capacity to remove heavy metals from wastewater has stimulated interest in their potential use for bioremediation. However, most studies either assessed metal sorption for algae collected from the natural environment, i.e. without detailed knowledge of the biomass history and water quality they were exposed to or with dried algal biomass exposed to heavy metals. If macroalgae wastewater bioremediation is to become a reality, the macroalgae will be exposed to both nutrients and heavy metals at the same time. However studies combining nutrient and metal uptake by living algae in a controlled environment, as well as biomass characterisation for bioenergy conversion are scarce, which this project proposes to do. Please see further details in the attached document.

Further Information: 

To apply, please follow the link:

Closing Date: 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

File Attachments: 

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Margaret Graham (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh); Michele Stanley, John Day (Scottish Association for Marine Science)


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at First Class level (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Eligible for full funding: UK/EU citizens or settled overseas students only, who have worked and/or studied in the UK for at least three years before the programme starts (this applies to all, including British citizens).

Eligible for fees-only: UK/EU citizens who do not comply with the 3-year UK residency criteria. The award includes fees and research cost but not stipend. Students have to find match funding to cover their living costs for 3.5 years minimum.

Not Eligible: Overseas students who are on/would need a Visa.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: