Interesting algae in the lake

Image by Bob Baldock, Feb. 2014

Botryococcus braunii

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!

Bob Baldock is a long-time associate of the State Herbarium of South Australia, responsible for the creation of the Algae Revealed fact-sheet series on marine algae of southern Australia.