Diel periodicity in cellular chlorophyll content in marine diatoms

T. G. Owens, P. G. Falkowski, T. E. Whitledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Intracellular chlorophyll a content is one of the many measurable parameters which displays a diel rhythm in marine phytoplankton. In asynchronous laboratory cultures of the diatom Skeletonema costatum, cellular chlorophylls a and c exhibit periodicities which closely follow the light-dark cycle and are not the result of cell division. The laboratory cultures also exhibit diel rhythms in cellular flourescence properties and carbon: chlorophyll a ratios. The occurrence of similar patterns of cellular flourescence, carbon: chlorophyll a ratios, and in situ flourescence in diatom-dominated natural phytoplankton communities suggests the possibility of diel rhythms in cellular chlorophyl a content in diatoms in the sea. The data also suggest that the observed periodicity in cellular chlorophyll content is regulated by the diel light cycle and that the co-occurrence of synchronous or phased cell division would only modify the observed periodicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1980
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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