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Coulometric measurement of primary production with comparison against dissolved oxygen and carbon 14 methods in a seasonal study



Coulometric measurement of primary production with comparison against dissolved oxygen and carbon 14 methods in a seasonal study



Marine Ecology Progress Series 71(1): 97-102



Consumption of carbon dioxide, as measured by direct coulometry in light and dark bottles, was used to estimate the photosynthetic rate of natural assemblages of phytoplankton incubated in situ. A total of 30 experiments were made during a 12mo period in Bedford Basin, Nova Scotia [Canada]. For comparison, simultaneous estimates of primary production were made on each occasion using both the light-and-dark-bottle oxygen method and the 14C method. Primary production values fell in the range < 1 to 50 mmol C m-3 d-1. Throughout this range, excellent agreement was found between primary production as estimated by the 14C method and gross primary production estimated by changes in dissolved carbon dioxide. Release of labelled carbon into solution accounted for 2 to 19% of total primary production as measured by the 14C method, with the lower values occurring in the spring bloom period. When the carbon-based results were compared with the oxygen-based ones, they agreed to within a mean apparent photosynthetic quotient of 1.6. High apparent PQ's in winter are attributed to an overestimation of oxygen primary production and an underestimation of 14C primary production. Direct coulometry offers considerable promise as a technique for measuring photosynthesis by phytoplankton.

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