Marine Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 307–315 | Cite as

Photosynthesis of phytoplankton and zooxanthellae on a coral reef

  • B. D. Scott
  • H. R. Jitts


A carbon-14 assimilation method was used to determine action spectra and photosynthesis versus irradiance (P versus I) curves of natural populations of phytoplankton and zooxanthellae from a coral reef fringing Lizard Island in the Australian Barrier Reef. The action spectra were related to the phytoplankton species composition. The curves showed shade adaptation in phytoplankton from deeper waters and in the zooxanthellae. Rates of photosynthesis of zooxanthellae were shown to be highly but variably dependent on their host organisms. Photosynthetic production by zooxanthellae was about 0.9 gC m-2 day-1, which is about three times higher than phytoplankton production in the waters close to the reef.


Phytoplankton Assimilation Photosynthesis Species Composition Natural Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. D. Scott
    • 1
  • H. R. Jitts
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Fisheries and OceanographyCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganisationCronullaAustralia
  2. 2.Marine DivisionAustralian Department of Environment, Housing and Community DevelopmentCanberraAustralia

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