Rates of respiration in the light measured in marine phytoplankton using an 18O isotope-labelling technique

Karen D. Grande, John Marra, Christopher Langdon, Kristina Heinemann, Michael L. Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


For seven marine phytoplankton species, rates of net and gross O2 production (measured by the ΔO2 and 18O techniques) and 14C assimilation were determined in laboratory incubations. The 14C experiments were conducted in culture medium that was either N2-purged, air-purged or unpurged. In all species, the rates of respiration in the light are observed to be similar to, or greater than, the rates in the dark. For several species, respiration rates increased in the light but there was no Warburg effect (enhancement of 14C productivities in N2-purged cultures), indicating that photoenhancement of respiration was not due to photorespiration. In a few species, significant rates of photorespiration were detected with the 14C method, corresponding to 20 to > 100% of the rates of respiration in the light. The ratio of light respiration to production showed variable changes when phytoplankton were exposed to greater light intensities. These results suggest that phytoplankton do not necessarily increase rates of respiration when placed in an environment with increased irradiance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-120
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 22 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Phytoplankton
  • Phytoplankton physiology
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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