Phycolab is the window of Laboratory of Phycology headed by Dr.M.Baluswami who joined the Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (Autonomous) in February 1988. Though several people have taught algae in this department no research was undertaken until Dr. Baluswami was appointed by the strong determination of the then Professor Dr. Crispin Devadoss. Dr. Devadoss who was a Professor with clear vision whole heartedly supported the setting up of the laboratory of phycology.  Under his headship the lab acquired a wooden culture rack with illuminated shelves, chemicals to prepare culture media and glassware. It is during his term field trips to coastal areas of southern districts were initiated resulting in collection of a lot of marine algae and freshwater algae that have got built up in the lab to be used by U.G., P.G. students and research scholars who registered for their M.Phil. Degree. Initially the lab was functioning in the ‘faculty room’ of the new botany building and was shifted to  ‘microtome’ room in 1996-1997 when Dr.P.Dayanandan took over as the Head of the Department. Since then the laboratory of phycology is functioning in this room.  However the request for an algal culture room remained unheard for a long time.  The strong wish for an ‘algal culture chamber’ was fulfilled only recently (in 2010) during the headship of Prof. H. K.P. Devadoss with a grant the college received as part of the Star college program.  Culturing algae has been initiated and in a short period of time several freshwater algae have been brought to the phycolab and are at different levels of isolation. With this the students will be trained in the area of algal biotechnology.  Dr. Baluswami has authored a monograph on Phaeophyceae of India and Neighbourhood volume 1 Ectocarpales, Sphacelariales, Dictyotales, Chordariales and Scytosiphonales, jointly with Prof. V.Krishnamurthy subsequently published in 2010 by Krishnamurthy Institute of Algology, Chennai.  Published 22 papers in reputed journals and 3 in proceedings of National Seminars covering the systematic of both freshwater and marine algae; Intensive collections made by the researchers of phycolab resulted in collection and subsequently description of a new species Draparnaldiopsis krishnamurthyii, Batrachospermum umamaheswararaoi and Sirodotia iyengarii. Several freshwater algae have turned to be new reports to Tamil Nadu and a few to India also. With the Photomicrographic facility that was available with the department was utilized to develop a photographic document of freshwater and marine algae. Freshwater algae from Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts, Thiruvannamalai district and Villupuram district were documented as part of M.Phil. projects. A collection of marine algae from Andaman Islands have formed part of an M.Sc. thesis.  M.Phil. thesis on Freshwater red algae of Tamil Nadu and Members of Euglenaceae from Thiruvanamalai have immensely contributed to the understanding on the diversity of these members in Tamil Nadu for the first time. This website has been created to post original photographs of freshwater and marine algae of India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular. 
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