Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biological and Physical Sciences

Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Karolina Fučíková


Microscopic algae are a potential source of renewable fuels. Determining what conditions are most favorable to the growth and lipid production of specific algal strains can aid in the search for an alternative to fossil fuels. Desert and polar strains of Bracteacoccus bullatus were grown on different media and tracked for their growth rates over a month. In another experiment, the same strains were frozen for two hours, grown for several weeks, and subsequently harvested. The cellular lipids were chemically extracted and analyzed using a GC/MS. The results suggested that the polar strains grew best in nutrient-enriched media while the desert strains grew best in the nutrient-poor media. In response to freezing, total lipid content increased in the desert strains and decreased in the polar strains. This suggested major physiological differences between the desert and polar strains of the same species. The polar strains were better acclimated to the freezing and nutrient stress than the desert strains, which could be explained by adaptations to different environments.

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Life Sciences Commons