The Beardall Research Group studies metabolic processes in microscopic organisms.
Microalgae are microscopic eukaryotic photoautotrophs commonly found in marine and freshwater systems. Algae in the oceans and freshwaters are responsible for 50% of the world’s primary productivity (on which all other life depends) and microalgal diversity is enormous, with estimates of anything up to 100,000 species of diatom alone – this diversity provides researchers with huge scope for study.
Cyanobacteria – formerly known as blue-green algae – are a type of bacteria that use oxygenic photosynthesis to produce energy. They are found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat, and can survive in extreme conditions. Cyanobacteria have been found from Antarctica to the Mojave Desert. In aquatic systems, explosive bursts of growth under certain conditions can results in harmful cyanobacterial blooms. The cyanotoxins released by the cyanobacteria during these periods of growth can have destructive effects on local flora and fauna.
Research interests focus on cyanobacterial and algal ecophysiology and ecology.