Ready, Set, Grow!

Team: 1001

School: Los Lunas High

Area of Science: Botany

Interim: Team Number: 1001
School Name: Los Lunas High School
Area of Science: Botany
Project Title: Ready, Set, Grow!

Problem Definition:
Algae are a single celled non-flowering plant that has future applications in biofuels as well as in the medical and agricultural fields. The main problem in growing the algae is growing the algae it’s self because the algae has to grow under a controlled temperature condition and has to have the right amount of nutrients to grow. There are barley any applications online to analyze algae growth online to check if the algae is decaying or growing because the growth happens slowly and is noticeable in the pigment of the algae. The other big problem is growing the algae is expensive to grow to be used as biofuels by using more power to grow algae than the algae can create, but is there a way to grow algae in a short amount of time and will maintain its health over time by only changing the amount of salt in the nutrient solution.
Problem Solution:
My plan is to creating algae with different amount of salt in the nutrient solution and taking pictures of the algae over a two week period. I’ll shake the algae around 95 rotation’s per minute twice every day. Then I will crop the pictures to the size of the plate of wells being to get a closer and more accurate reading from NetLogo. Then I will create a code in NetLogo to analyze the pictures by the pixels and report if the algae are healthy or decaying off of the average pigment of the algae. Creating this code will help find a more efficient way in growing algae and help from wasting algae and more importantly wasting money. I will repeat this process by mixing the algae together and increasing the salinity while keeping them at a base level.
Progress to Date:
I’ve already been growing and taking pictures of the algae every day to find out how long will it take this algae to decay so I could code the program to state if the algae is decaying or growing. I’ve been changing the salinity from the first trail with algae with 16 PPT (Parts per Thousandth), 24 PPT, and 32PPT of salt to the second trail of algae with 16 PPT, 32 PPT, and 48 PPT of salt to the third trail of algae with 8 PPT, 32 PPT, and 64 PPT of salt. There has been only a large amount of progress in examining the algae growth using NetLogo by having turtles walk across the plane and reporting the different shadings of green in the algae the turtles pass over. There isn’t much research on photo analysis on the growth of algae except for websites on the pros and cons on the use of algae in our future and uses of algae our day to day lives where I found out what effects the algae’s growth.
Expected Results:
I expect the with more nutrients give the algae the faster the algae will grow and slower it will decay because the algae will used the energy used to slowly decay. With the help of Netlogo by creating a code that could help analyze algae and detect if the algae is growing or decaying off the pigment of the algae and how long the algae has been growing for to get an accurate measurement this could help Botanist grow algae more effectively wasting less resources. This could also help find an easier and cost effective way in growing the algae by giving the algae more nutrients when it starts to decay to stop the decaying process. In our future we have to cut our carbon emissions to slow down global warming and using algae as a biofuel could help recycling the used carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and will stop emitting new carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, creating a cleaner future.

Nina Kalau, Economic Importance of Algae, Algae World News, July 3, 2017,
Hong-Po Dong, Ernest Williams, and Allen R. Place, Responses of Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1 to Long-Term Nitrogen Starvation and Recovery, Plant Physiology, May 1, 2013,
Michael Hannon, Javier Gimpel, and Stephen Mayfield, Biofuels from algae: challanges and potential, Biofuels, August 8, 2011,
Sarah Loftus, In growing algae for biofuels, it matters who used the water last, The Conversation, November 30, 2017,
Marie-Luise Blue, Pros and Cons of Algae Biodiesel, Sciencing, April 25, 2017,

Sponsoring Teacher: Anne Loveless
Abe Anderson
Creighton Edington

Team Members:

  Delsin Jaramillo

Sponsoring Teacher: Anne Loveless

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