A numerical method for simulating the spectral light distribution in algal photobioreactors is developed by adapting the discrete ordinate method for solving the radiative transport equation. The technique, which was developed for two and three spatial dimensions, provides a detailed accounting for light absorption and scattering by algae in the culture medium. In particular, the optical properties of the algal cells and the radiative properties of the turbid culture medium were calculated using a method based on Mie theory and that makes use of information concerning algal pigmentation, shape, and size distribution. The model was validated using a small cylindrical bioreactor, and subsequently simulations were carried out for an annular photobioreactor configuration. It is shown that even in this relatively simple geometry, nontrivial photon flux distributions arise that cannot be predicted by one-dimensional models.