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Primary production
Yentsch, C.S. (1963). Primary production. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 1: 157-175
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
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  • Yentsch, C.S.

    It has been said that a discipline of primary production does not exist (Steele, 1961) and that in reality this term is used very generally to cover a wide variety of problems involving the environmental physiology of marine phytoplankton (Yentsch, 1962). Three approaches have been utilized in the quest for information: first, field measurements of various parameters taken simultaneously supply the bulk of the information. Secondly, mathematical models of seasonal and local change in plant biomass have provided a means of predicting events and have shown areas where specific research is needed. Thirdly, laboratory measurements, even though hampered because of the difficulty of applying to the natural environment data obtained from culture experiments, have in recent years supplied much significant information. Techniques for the estimation of productivity in the natural marine environment have involved either direct measurements of photosynthesis or measurements of plant growth. The carbon-14 method has become the universal method for directly measuring photosynthesis at sea (Steemann Nielsen, 1952), having replaced the less sensitive light-dark oxygen bottle method introduced by Gran (1932). Considerable information has been gained by culturing marine organisms; however, measurements tend to become highly artificial. A number of workers have performed experiments using transparent containers of natural populations suspended in sea water open to ambient light (Doty and Oguri, 1957; Yentsch and Ryther, 1957; Strickland and Terhune, 1961; McAllister, Parsons, Stephens and Strickland, 1961). Such experiments suffer from being unreal in terms of the natural environment and may lack the control of a good experiment. For recent articles of a review nature the reader should consult Tailing (1961), Lund and Tailing (1957), Ryther (1956b, in press) and Yentsch (in press). A most comprehensive and critical review of primary production has been prepared by Strickland (1960).

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