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Algae Deposits


Part of the NCMA core mission is to receive and curate algae that are interesting or valuable to the scientific, educational and business communities. The NCMA maintains one of the largest and most diverse collection of publically available marine algal strains in the world.The algal strains in the collection have been obtained from all over the world: from polar to tropical waters, marine, freshwater, brackish, and hyper-saline environments, and currently consists of ~2700 strains of marine microalgae and ~1500 strains of marine macroalgae. New strains are added largely through the accession of strains deposited by scientists in the community. A stringent accession policy is followed to help populate the collection with a taxonomically and geographicaly diverse range of strains.

Our accession decision matrix focuses on increasing taxonomic, geographic, and ecological strain diversity; minimizing redundancy in the core collection (i.e. avoiding multiple strains of the same species unless a good reason is presented), accepting strains that we believe can be cryopreserved. Accessioining cultures in publications or have had their genomes/transcriptomes sequenced will always be a priority. 

The NCMA implemented a cryopreservation program in the early 1990's, and as of 2020, we have >1650 cryopreserved algal strains. 

Accession Priorities

  • Habitat (Marine strains are a priority, though we will accept algae from all habitats if they meet 2 – 3 of our other priorities).
  • Strains that are easy to cryopreserve.
  • Strains that are published.
  • Strains that have had their genome or transcriptome sequenced and the data is publically available.
  • Special properties/physiology. E.g., toxin producers, high lipid content, unusual pigmentation, other unusual natural products, and/or helps in the study of taxonomy or biodiversity (prioritizing groups listed below)
  • Taxonomic gaps. We wish to be relevant and current regarding algal taxonomy and tree of life initiatives, taxonomic philosophy, etc. Therefore we request newly described groups and species from the phycological community, and engage the phycological community for recommendations. Some gaps already described include newly described species and missing link species such as Paulinella, Apicomplexons and Apicomplexon-like organisms, and Euglenoids such as Rapaza viridis
  • Ecological gaps.  E.g., polar cyanophytes, polar dinoflagellates, open ocean organisms that are not picoplankton, and/or extremophiles
  • Geographical gaps. E.g., Bay of Bengal, Hudson Bay, Gulf of Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, Sea of Okhotsk, Mozambique Channel, Southern upwelling areas such as French Southern and Antarctic, Southern Ocean east of New Zealand, Greenland, Northern Russia, Northern Scandinavia, Northern Canada
  • Other (primarily marine) groups. E.g., Bacteria, Archaea, Non-Photosynthetic Protists, Macroalgae

When we accept strains from the community, the strain should be identified to the species level, and should be devoid of protozoa, fungi and other algae. Depositions should include information regarding collection (site, environmental/ecological data, date and collector), isolation information, identification (who identified the strain), known properties (e.g., toxicity, bioluminescence, pigments), and growth conditions (culture medium, temperature, salinity, etc.).  If you are depositing Type Material, Please review our policy on type material.

All algal strains will be given a CCMP number upon successful accession . Strains deposited in the NCMA are available to the public, and they cannot be withdrawn from the collection by the depositor. To deposit a strain, please review the NCMA Deposit Terms and Conditions, return to NCMA@bigelow.org, and fill out the "Algal Deposit Form" below.


Algal Deposit Form


Shipping Biomaterials to NCMA:

Upon completion of the deposit form, and its acceptance by NCMA curators, they will reach back out to you to arrange shipping. Note: we do not accept shipments on weekends or holidays so it is imperative to coordinate shipping with NCMA Curators. The address for shipping to NCMA is below.

Shipping Address:

      NCMA Curator - Algae Deposit
      National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota
      Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
      60 Bigelow Drive
      East Boothbay, ME 04544
      Phone: (001) 207-315-2567 x1