Personal tools


Global fossil fuels supplies dwindling


Fast-growing, easily utilised marine algae which fix carbon dioxide


Oil production from cultivated micro-organisms


Energy readily convertible from marine plants

Scottish Marine Institute

BioMara is coordinated from the Scottish Association for Marine Science, based at the Scottish Marine Institute on the west coast of Scotland. This is the lead partner institute and employs over 20 people on the BioMara project.

Dr Michele Stanley

Michele Stanley’s background is in the biochemistry and molecular biology of marine micro-organisms. She worked on applied phycological projects for more than eleven years, initially at the University of Birmingham before moving to the Scottish Association of Marine Science in 2006, as a Senior Research Fellow in Marine Molecular Biology.
Michele is in charge of all scientific aspects of the project. Jointly with Dr John Day, she supervises Dr Stephen Slocombe and a Ph.D. student investigating the growth and the development of a screening test based on gene expression fluorescent biomarkers to select for oil hyperproductive strains of microalgae. With Dr David Green and Dr Maeve Kelly, Michele supervises the postdoctoral researcher identifying novel marine microorganisms with the capacity to convert algal biomass into bioethanol.

Dr Stephen Slocombe

Stephen is a phycology post-doctoral research scientist with expertise in the growth and the molecular biology of aquatic micro-organisms. He designs experiments examining strain selection and screening processes, as well as identifying the underlying regulatory mechanisms that affect the production of bio-diesel.

Dr Linda O'Higgins

Linda is a marine phycologist with 10 years experience in microalgal physiology in both field and laboratory settings.  Her role within Biomara is to optimize culture conditions for consistently high biomass and lipid yields in selected strains. She is also examining the effects of environmental variables on fatty acid profiles in terms of their chemical suitability as biodiesel feedstock and will work closely with Dr. Slocombe to identify the primary environmental triggers for upregulation of genes controlling microalgal lipid production and saturation.

Dr David Green

David Green is a Lecturer in molecular microbial ecology. His research focus is centred around marine microbiology, and includes: biodiversity and the interactions of bacteria associated with phytoplankton species; bacterial genomics; ecology of oil-degrading bacteria; and exploitation of novel bioemulsifiers for commercial application. He co-supervises the postdoctoral research scientist investigating fermentation of algal biomass to produce bioethanol.

Dr John Day

John Day has more than 20 years experience in the field of applied phycology with specific interests in developing/optimising culturing systems, long-term-conservation of protists and assessment of genotypic and phenotypic stability in protistan cultures. He supervises strain selection & growth for screening; involvement in media development/ process development; process optimization; bioreactor development, small scale photobioreactor studies, scale up and optimization of a pilot-scale bioreactor/ production system, through the joint supervision of Stephen Slocombe and a Ph.D. student with Michele Stanley. In addition, he will undertake the cryopreservation of production strains and undertake genotypic stability studies on potential production strains.

Dr Maeve Kelly

Since 1990, Maeve has researched integrated aquaculture and its role in promoting sustainability in marine systems. Her interests focus on the culture of commercially important marine invertebrates and macroalgae, their potential as human food, for bioremediation in aquaculture systems and (for macroalgae) as a biofuel.
Maeve leads the anaerobic digestion of marine biomass to biogas research. She is involved in the supervision of the postdoctoral researchers investigating anaerobic digestion and bioethanol production from algal biomass.  She is part of the supervision team for the Ph.D. student investigating the potential ecological impacts of seaweed farming on the environment.

Dr Ian Rae

Ian has 10 years experience in biotechnology development and bioresource utilisation.  A large part of his research focussed on the physico-chemical characterisation of naturally abundant and waste biomass and their biosorption potential.  His role in Biomara is to design, construct and test bench scale anaerobic digesters for biogas production and the maintenance of stable systems in operational digesters.  He will measure and optimise biogas yields from various seaweeds using batch / continuous feed studies and contribute to developing contrasting methods of pre-treating feedstocks.

Peter Schiener

Peter brings a background in industrial fermentation to BioMara. With over ten years’ experience in production-scale fermentation, scaling up and developing new processes, Peter’s role is to assist in the design of experiments screening marine bacterial strains to identify strains displaying ethanologenic potential. Different biomass types that have been chemically characterised are being evaluated for their potential to act as a feedstock for microbial conversion to ethanol. Peter also has a background in anaerobic digestion, contributing this experience to the work of Dr Ian Rae.

Dr Ray Leakey

Ray Leakey has over 20 years research experience focusing on the physiology and ecology of marine micro-organisms, including microalgae and protozoa. He supervises flow-cytometry analyses and (with Dr E. Bell) experiments examining the optimal growth conditions of microalgae with respect to the production of bio-diesel.

Dr Angela Hatton

Angela Hatton has more than 22 years research experience focusing on marine biogeochemistry and biogas formation in marine systems. Her work includes analysis of a range of gases, including methane, and a microbiology based approach to investigate the organisms and environmental factors involved in the production of biologically generated trace gases. She acts as an expert advisor with respect to anaerobic digestion and methane production.

Dr Kenny Black

With interests in lipid chemistry and the primary production, metabolism and degradation of lipids, Kenny is interested in using lipids as markers of trophic connection, and of essential fatty acids in both human and animal nutrition. His role in BioMara is to supervise the analysis of potential microalgae strains for their lipid content and characterisation of these fatty acids.

Dr Johanna J Heymans

Johanna J Heymans has more than 10 years’ experience in the field of marine ecology with specific interest in ecosystem modelling and anthropogenic effects on ecosystems. She has worked on the effects of fishing, freshwater extraction and pollution in diverse ecosystems. With Maeve Kelly, Tom Wilding and Dave Hughes, she is supervising the Ph.D. student working on the effects of seaweed biofuel collection/growth on the surrounding ecosystems in western Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Dr Tom Wilding

Tom Wilding has over 10 years experience in experimental design and data analysis.  His role is to ensure the scientific rigour of the research and facilitate publishing through the provision of experimental design and subsequent data analysis advice in relation to the environmental impacts of large-scale near-shore macrophyte removal. He is involved in the supervision of a Ph.D. student with Maeve Kelly, Johanna Heymans and Dave Hughes

Dr Dave Hughes

Dave Hughes has more than 20 years experience in the field of behaviour and community ecology of marine benthic invertebrates. Because of his vast experience of marine species identification, he helps supervise the Ph.D. student working on the effects of seaweed biofuel collection and/growth on the surrounding ecosystems in western Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland with Maeve Kelly, Johanna Heymans and Tom Wilding.

Shona Magill

Shona has over 15 years experience studying abundance, distribution and population dynamics of keystone inshore marine species and communities, particularly those with fisheries or commercial relevance. She has been involved with the Ecopath ecosystem modelling approach and has contributed to the development of 2 ecosystem models for the west coast of Scotland. She has experience in carrying out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA). Her work in BioMara will be to carryout an EIA for the installation of a commercial seaweed farm.

Elaine Mitchell

Elaine Mitchell is a senior research technician with over 10 years’ experience in microbiological research projects. She has specific expertise in the analysis of micro-organisms by microscopy and flow-cytometry and is responsible for the delivery of flow-cytometric analyses of microalgal strains.

Debra Brennan

Debra Brennan is a Molecular Biochemistry support scientist. She is involved in providing technical assistance to the researchers at SAMS involved in the molecular aspects of BioMara.

Avril Anderson

Avril has over 12 years microbiology experience and is responsible for the underpinning and support to Biomara researchers. Her role includes molecular biology and microbiology techniques to analyse and screen potential algal strains for biofuels. She is also responsible for the experimental use and maintenance of the algal bioreactors for ongoing studies.

John Kershaw

John Kershaw manages both the Aquarium and wet experimental areas at SAMS. His role is to ensure the management of the seaweed cultures and to assist in the installation of the AD systems.

Document Actions
Our Sponsors



BioMara is supported by the INTERREG IVA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

BioMara project is also funded by: