About Us

Microalgal Services

Microalgal Services specializes in monitoring and identification of marine and estuarine phytoplankton.  Our scientists have extensive training, expertise and experience in this field.

Our Melbourne-based lab is NATA accredited to carry out identification and enumeration of micro-algae and cyanobacteria from marine-, estuarine- and fresh-waters.

Clients and Programs

Microalgal Services is the primary phytoplankton laboratory for the NSW, VIC and QLD Shellfish Quality Assurance Programs. We are also involved in  a wide range of environmental programs, government programs and university research projects. We provide monitoring, identification services and advice to primary industry, research and environment bodies in most Australian states, as well as universities, port authorities, local government and private companies.

Phytoplankton Monitoring and Identification

Microalgal Services aims to provide the highest quality marine phytoplankton identification and monitoring services available in Australia. Our laboratory is well equipped for preparation of samples and identification of a wide range of marine phytoplankton species.  Analysis of water samples routinely incorporates bright-field, phase-contrast and fluorescence microscopy. We can provide rapid turnaround of samples (24 hours or less), which is critical for effective monitoring and management of aquaculture harvesting areas.


Director of Microalgal Services, Dr Steve Brett, is internationally recognized for his expertise in marine and estuarine phytoplankton.  Prior to establishing Microalgal Services, Dr Brett was curator of the US National Phytoplankton Collection.  He has extensive UNESCO-IOC training and has held teaching and research positions at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

Microalgal Services has strong links with universities and research organizations, both nationally and internationally, and ongoing contact with a range of recognized experts in the field. We participate in UNESCO-IOC international proficiency testing and inter-laboratory comparisons.

Microalgal Services maintains an active involvement in education and research. Staff are involved in the development and teaching of courses on marine phytoplankton to industry, as well as at a tertiary level. We also participate in numerous collaborative research projects and publications on the Australian marine environment.

Customer Service

Microalgal Services is in the unique position of being able to provide immediate, personal customer service. All clients have direct access to management and analysts via phone or email whenever required. This enables us to respond immediately to requests, and to provide feedback as a project develops. Through this approach, Microalgal Services is able to assist in project design, suggest methods and modifications, and provide general advice on phytoplankton whenever necessary.

Microalgal Services is located in Ormond, Melbourne, with full access to metropolitan courier services. Its central location means that samples from most Australian capital cities can be received before 9am on the day following collection. After hours/weekend access is available for urgent samples, and rapid (same day) turnaround of samples can be arranged if necessary.