Although the teaching and research programmes in Algology were in operation since the inception of the Department, it was in 1953, after the induction of Late Prof. M.S. Balakrishnan on the faculty of the department the programme in algology as a whole received great momentum.
Prof. Balakrishnan was one of the senior students of Prof. M.O.P. Iyengar, the Father of Indian Algology.. With his unique and highly skillful style of teaching Prof. Balakrishnan made Algology as a popular subject in the Department. His research programmes in the beginning were centered on marine red algae which resulted in to creation of new family, the Corynomorphaceae and taxonomic revisions in the orders Cryptonemials and Gigartinales.
Based on his comparative studies on Indian and U.S. Pacific Cryptonemiaceae, Prof.Balakrishnan established two new Genera- Isabbottia and Norrisia. Subsequently with the help of his doctoral students he initiated broad based studies on fresh water and marine algae, their systematics, life histories, morphology, cytology and ecology resulting into nationally and internationally recognized contributions.
Some of the such examples are life history studies in Batrachospermum, studies on taxonomy and reproduction in Solieriaceae, cytology and life history of Indian Scytosiphonaceae, limnology of some of the lakes, algae in relation to water pollution, air borne algae etc. After his superannuation two of his students Prof .B .B. Chaugule and Prof .V .R. Gunale followed the path set by him while paying attention towards current developments in Algology.
Presently the Algology Laboratory of the Department is one of the highly equipped laboratories in the country having elaborate algae culture facility, Lieca microscope with digital camera and attached documentation unit and marine algal herbarium. The instruments available in the laboratory are Gas Chromatograph Unit, Hot air oven, Autoclave, Rotary shaker, Microscope with microphotography attachment, ,Photoperiodic Culture Racks, Rotary evaporator, Freeze drier, Mixer Mill, Ultrasonic Liquid processor , Centrifuges ,Glass distillation unit, Electronic balance, Turbidity meter, Luxmeter , Refractometer, spectrophotometer etc.
research programmes in Algology cover areas like systematics of fresh
water and marine algae and cyanobacteria, bioremediation of
radionucleoids( in collaboration with BARC), bioactive compounds ,
seaweed liquid fertilizer, culture studies , bio diesel and hydrogen
from micro algae, pigments ,algae of extreme environments, G. I .S
.studies on marine algae (in collaboration with ISRO), mariculture and
so on. The list of the projects undertaken in the laboratory since 2000
are as follows.