Algae may not feature highly in our general human awareness but their importance in terms of ecology and industrial application can hardly be exaggerated. Recent studies highlight that the relationship between algae and the microbial community living with them (the algal microbiome) are of critical importance to algal biology – and as such to algal aquaculture. The ALgal Microbiome: Friends and Foes (ALFF) project has been designed to improve our understanding of these relationships – ranging from the essential to the devastatingly harmful.
ALFF is a 4 year programme funded by the prestigious Horizon 2020 MSC Initial Training Networks (ITN) programme of the European Union to develop 15 outstanding researchers in the fields of algal biotechnology and aquaculture. Their work will contribute to the future development of these major growth industries. ALFF combines multidisciplinary research-based projects, each with a focus on either pathogens, mutualistic symbionts, endosymbiotic micro-organisms, biofilms or bioinformatics.
ALFF also involves an ambitious outreach and public engagement programme in collaboration with highly renowned institutions such as the Flanders Marine Institute and the United Nations University. We are developing outreach materials for exhibitions, films, presentations and activities to help decision-makers and the public better understand the issues and opportunities relating to the sustainable use of our aquatic freshwater and marine resources.
ALFF is a multinational consortium consisting of universities, research institutes and companies based across Europe. This website contains information about our programme, its partners and our students. It also explains what we do, why we study algae and what we hope to achieve from our research into algal growth and aquaculture.
So, if you thought algae were slimy, smelly stuff on beaches…think again! They are diverse and beautiful, as they are multi-purpose, and they produce about half of the oxygen we breath!