Marine Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 31–40 | Cite as

An examination of photosynthetic production, excretion of photosynthetic products, and heterotrophic utilization of dissolved organic compounds with reference to results from a coastal subtropical sea

  • P. J. Le B. Williams
  • C. S. Yentsch


The rate of primary production, excretion of photosynthetic products and turnover of glucose and amino acids was measured at a station in a coastal region in the Bahamas. Over the depths 0 to 50 m, total photosynthetic rates varied from 1.7 to 12.7 μgC fixed 1-1day-1, averaging 4.3. The extent of extracellular photosynthetic products ranged from undetectable to 23%, averaging 6.9%. Neither the field data nor studies with axenic cultures of Dunaliella tertiolecta, Skeletonema costatum, and Monochrysis lutheri showed any evidence of an increase in the percentage excretion at low population densities or low photosynthetic rates. Rates of amino acid turnover varied from 21 to 168% day-1, and that of glucose from 8.3 to 41% day-1. Light seems to have little effect on the uptake and respiration of these substrates by the planktonic population. There was a significant relationship between the fraction of the substrate used for respiration and that retained by the cell. On average, 42% of the glucose taken up was respired and 21% of the amino acid mixture. Tentative calculations suggest that the production of dissolved organic material as extracellular photosynthetic products would be insufficient to supply the heterotrophic population, and it was concluded that some other route(s) must be of major importance.


Respiration Photosynthetic Rate Coastal Region Acid Mixture Dunaliella 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Le B. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. S. Yentsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Nova UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of OceanographyThe UniversitySouthamptonEngland

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