Background: In the search for a renewable energy, micro algae have been proposed as a promising source of lipids that can be used to produce biodiesel. Method: Three species of marine microalgae, Isochrysis, Pavlova and Emilinania, were grown under controlled light and temperature conditions to screen for optimum lipid production. The growth rate was calculated from in vivo fluorescence. Chlorophyll a measured by fluorescence was used as a proxy for biomass. Further I modeled lipid concentration from both chlorophyll a fluorescence and fluorescence from the lipid dye Nile Red. Results: Selecting on high chlorophyll a specific lipid production rate, Emiliania preformed the best with a mean production of 0.32 mg/μg/d. Conclusion: The screening method was effective for growth rate and biomass, the Nile Red dye may need more work to detect lipids accurately.