This photograph shows a microscopic image of Botryococcus braunii. Hon. Research Associate Bob Baldock reports that this interesting algae has appeared within floating rafts of filamentous green algae (mainly Oedogonium sp.) in the storagepond of the new Adelaide Botanic Gardens’ First Creek Wetland.
Botryococcus braunii grows as a colony of egg-shaped cells within a tough, gelatinous sheath: individual colonies may cling together by gelatinous strands. Although a member of the green algae, it, and its colonial matrix are usually coloured yellow or brown. Individual cells store oil droplets, and this feature is currently being researched as a possible source of bio-fuel. — But don’t worry, there is insufficient to set the pond alight!