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Algal Deposit


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 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. New strains are added largely through the accession of strains deposited by scientists in the community. A stringent accession policy is required to help populate the collection with a diverse range of strains.

Our accession decision matrix focuses on increasing taxonomic, geographic, and ecological strain diversity; reducing redundancy in the core collection (i.e. avoiding multiple strains of the same species unless a good reason is presented), accepting strains that are easy to cryopreserve (inexpensive to maintain).  Cultures in publications or have had their genomes/transcriptomes sequenced will always be a priority.

The NCMA has implemented a cryopreservation program, and we have by far the largest collection of cryopreserved marine algae in the world. As of 2020, we have 2,553 cryopreserved algal strains maintained only in liquid nitrogen (vapor phase).

Accession Priorities

  1. Habitat (Marine strains are a priority, though we will accept algae from all habitats if they meet 2 – 3 of our other priorities).
  2. Strains that are easy to cryopreserve.
  3. Strains that are published.
  4. Strains that have had their genome or transcriptome sequenced and the data is publically available.
  5. Special Interest, e.g.
    • Toxin producer
    • High lipid
    • Unusual pigmentation
    • Other unusual natural products
    • Helps in the study of taxonomy or biodiversity (prioritizing groups listed below)
  6. Taxonomic gaps We wish to be relevant and current regarding algal taxonomy and tree of life initiatives, taxonomic philosophy, etc.  Therefore, it is essential that 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
  7. Ecological gaps including but not limited to:
    • Polar cyanophytes
    • Polar dinoflagellates
    • Open ocean organisms that are not picoplankton
    • Extremophiles
  8. Geographical gaps including but not limited to:
    • Bay of Bengal
    • Hudson bay
    • Bay 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
  9. Other (primarily marine) groups will be dealt with in a future accession strategy and will be gradually added to a wider microbiota collection; please enquire for details.
    • Bacteria (already accepting strains)
    • Archaea (already accepting strains)
    • Non-Photosynthetic Protists (already accepting strains)
    • Seaweeds (already accepting strains)

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.).

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 terms and conditions.

Please review and sign our deposit terms and conditions and return to

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