Labelling patterns of carbon-14 in net plankton during a winter-spring bloom

Gary L. Hitchcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Weekly surface samples were collected in lower Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, during the 1975 winter-spring bloom and fractionated by nets to nannoplankton (<20 μm) and total (< 158 μm) size fractions. Each size fraction was assayed for paniculate carbon, nitrogen, carbohydrate, protein, chlorophyll a, and cell counts. The <20 μm values were subtracted from the <158 μm values to estimate the composition of the 20 μm to 158 μm fraction (termed net plankton). As nutrients (primarily nitrogen) decreased to undetectable levels with the culmination of the diatom bloom, the ratios of protein/carbohydrate, carbohydrate/carbon, and carbon/chlorophyll a in the net plankton indicated the diatom population was increasingly nutrient-limited. Each size fraction was also incubated at a saturating light intensity with carbon-14; following filtration, the cells were extracted with solvents to obtain labelled polysaccharide and protein. The daily rates of polysaccharide and protein synthesis in the net plankton declined as the bloom entered the stationary phase. When the diatom population was at its maximum density the majority of the carbon-14 was found in the ethanol-soluble fraction; this may be due to high light intensities or nutrient effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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