About the Algae: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a species of unicellular flagellated green algae in the phylum Chlorophyta. Originally isolated in 1945, this species is a model organism for a variety of questions in cell and molecular biology, including the mechanics of flagellar-based motility and phototaxis. In addition to being freshwater, this species is also present in soil, though only in its vegetative stage. This stage is often the immediate product of reproduction in which the cell can split through meiosis multiple times before bursting from the mother cell wall, resulting in 4 to 8 daughter cells. Because of its long history as a model organism C. reinhardtii has also been explored as a source of biofuels and biopharmaceuticals. The cells have been used to produce complex vaccines and therapeutics, explored as a source of pure hydrogen, and even had their channelrhodopsin photopigments used in optogenetics (a method in neurobiology used to explore differential gene expression).