CCAP - ARIES - New Paper
CCAP – ARIES: Algae Research, Innovation and Environmental Science Centre
Showcasing the work of one of SAMS’ PhD students, Eleanor Wood, growing and then stressing a green algae in order to produce carotenoids.
CCAP’s Karen MacKechnie and Ryan Marchington are attending the SeaWheat conference held in Cadiz, Spain on 13-15 September 2022. CCAP has a stand with information on the core collection, our ARIES centre, and on SAMS Enterprise. Both the powerpoint presentations displayed at the stand are viewable below (as videos).
SeaWheat (Ulva: Tomorrow’s “wheat of the sea”, a model for an innovative mariculture) is a COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action – aiming to make a step-change towards a green economy based on Ulva mass production and utilisation within the European community and beyond (https://seawheatcost.haifa.ac.il/)
In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals, including No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Quality Education and Climate Action. As a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded facility, CCAP contributes to several of these goals, as do our fellow NERC services and facilities. Our summary is pictured below, follow the link to see the full guide with all the facilities: ContributionUNGlobalGoalsSustainableDevelopment.pdf
UKRI, including NERC, contributes to these Global Goals through over £8 billion in research and innovation. NERC funds a range of scientific support and facilities, including CCAP, ensuring researchers have the tools they need to deliver world leading environmental science.
Cecilia Rad-Menéndez spent a month in the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples working on an ASSEMBLE+ knowledge transfer funded program investigating the taxonomy of several Arctic and Antarctic diatom strains. The strains are part of the CCAP collection and to be able to correctly identify them, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were necessary. The Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN) hosts a high-quality TEM and SEM microscope, and its staff are specialists in these techniques. As part of the exchange, Ceci was trained in SEM and TEM sample preparation as well as SEM and TEM training to observe the samples and take high quality micrographs. The new identity of the strains, together with the micrographs and morphometric details will be added to CCAP knowledge base website.
Additionally, CCAP already had a relationship with the diatom’s taxonomists at SZN and this exchange provide a further opportunity to strengthen our ties, future collaboration has been already discussed.
The end of April 2022 saw the launch of CCAP’s new Algal Research, Innovation, and Environmental Science centre (CCAP-ARIES). The launch, which took place on the 27th of April, was a blended mini-symposium based at SAMS. There were in-person presentations that were also live streamed for remote viewing. The first presentation delivered by CCAP staff focused upon the new services that can be provided through the CCAP-ARIES centre, followed by presentations from industrial partners and service providers. There were tours and demonstrations of SAMS/CCAP facilities, before ribbon-cutting event to officially open the centre (Figure 1). Postgraduate students, closely aligned with algal research and CCAP, also gave presentations of their work. The event was concluded with a networking drinks reception and table-top demonstrations.
The full program and background information can be found by clicking the link to the CCAP-ARIES Launch Readymag.
The launch had approximately 120 in-person attendees, and >100 people online. From a personal perspective, this launch event was a tremendous success, and I don’t think that anything could have gone better on the day. I think that the success and positivity that was tangible during the day was a just reward for the huge amount of effort that the whole of the CCAP team have put in over the last 18 months, encompassing the initial proposal stage, delivery and installation, and organisation of the launch.
Post-event surveys were sent out, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, from both in-person and virtual attendees. Some of the free-text responses are included below:
“Great Algal networking event”
“The tour was fantastic – such diversity on display and it was great to see
what kit is available. Special shout out to the catering too.”
“The presentations were really interesting and well-paced, not too long but
informative at the same time. Thank you for organizing the event and making it available for us around the world!”
“Very glad to be able to attend this way at all – excellent opportunity! Very good to include students flash talks and industry perspectives. All together very good diversity of content”
“excellent sound and image quality for online attendees”
“Overall I think this was a fantastic event.”
The event also included a session for postgraduate flash-presentations. The students were all linked in some way with CCAP; from supervision by science leads, use of CCAP strains, or use of CCAP-ARIES services. They were all very grateful for the opportunity to present their research projects, and in some cases this was the first time presenting to a live audience.
I asked them to provide some of their personal perspectives of the event:
It was delightful to see so many people excited about the event going ahead at SAMS, especially after the difficulties of the last two years. It was particularly great to see those who worked so hard to run the event rewarded by an engaged audience and well-deserved recognition for their efforts. It was great to see representation of experts from so many places and whilst also reaching those across the world virtually. I started when the ARIES-CCAP project had just been given the go ahead and funding secured, to be present and to observe the development and the achievement of opening the facility is wonderful. – Robert Grisenthwaite – MRes student SAMS
The CCAP-ARIES launch was a great in person event that brought science and industry together in a friendly and accessible way. I led one of the groups around the different labs which was a nice way to interact with the visiting delegates and show them the vast array of facilities we have for algal research here at SAMS. I had some fascinating conversations with people from previous algae events and I also met new contacts that I hope to keep in touch with.
I was lucky to have the opportunity to present at this event and share my findings from the experiment that I carried out in the CCAP-ARIES reactors. It was the first in person presentation I have had given since the lock down and it was a good way to spark conversation with the other delegates afterwards. – Eleanor Wood – PhD student SAMS
CCAP-ARIES launch was an amazing event. It opened new directions to algal biotechnology research. I guess through the academic talks, the attendees managed to get an overview of the potential of this venture and its wide range of application. At the same time, student talks supported that potential by showing the extend of research that can be supported by the CCAP-ARIES center. Also, I got an opportunity to interact with algal experts and students from other universities. The event was perfectly organized. – Leena Pushpam – ACES MRes student SAMS
CCAP is one of NERCs longest running and established service facilities, delivering biological samples and impactful science to academic and industry researchers around the globe. The demand for our services is increasing alongside the needs of the community and stakeholders as Algae are an integral part of the UKRI green growth and blue economy, net zero carbon and environmental and ecological science initiatives and calls.
In response to this need, the CCAP’s Algal Research, Innovation and Environmental Science centre (CCAP-ARIES) was developed to enhance and complement the culture collection and centralise research and service provision around increased cultivation capacity of algae, increase the on-site analytical, genomic and metabolomic capability that supports algal research in the user community, and deliver advanced training to UK and international researchers. This was fully supported by just over £0.5 million funding from NERCs World Class Large-scale Research Infrastructure scheme, in late 2020. Throughout the last year, we have been purchasing, establishing, and beta-testing the equipment and work-flow processes.
CCAP-ARIES in the Press:
A flurry of press and broader dissemination also coincided with the CCAP-ARIES launch event. These are outlined below:
Starting in September 2021, we welcome Dr Michael (Mikey) Ross to the CCAP team as Delivery Manager. Mikey is a phycologist with an interest in all things algae. To date, he has cultivated algae for a variety of purposes including aquaculture feed, bioenergy, bioremediation of nutrients and heavy metals, CO2 sequestration, and for the production of high-value compounds. Mikey’s main role within CCAP will be to manage and authorise the CCAP budget and ensure delivery of contracts and reporting; he also will have overall responsibility for the new CCAP-ARIES facility.
As well as his role in CCAP, Mikey is also a Senior Researcher in Algal Biotechnology within SAMS and is working on several algae projects.
The end of an era; Christine Campbell MBE retired today after 35 years working for CCAP and SAMS, from curator to CCAP Head of Facility. Christine has been awarded a SAMS Honorary Fellowship in recognition of her contribution and so will not be leaving entirely!
Among gifts from CCAP colleagues was a framed picture of three algal strains Christine isolated herself, one collected from her garden pond – a source of several CCAP freshwater strains!
We wish Christine a long and happy retirement, she will be missed.
Visit our new CCAP Bioinformatics Gateway – easy access to CCAP sequence data. This is a central platform allowing users to browse and access sequences, meta-data and results – view taxonomy, phylogenetic trees, or BLAST a sequence, as well as listing references citing CCAP strains.