, Volume 639, Issue 1, pp 185–196

Carbon:chlorophyll a ratio, assimilation numbers and turnover times of Lake Kinneret phytoplankton


DOI: 10.1007/s10750-009-0023-3

Cite this article as:
Yacobi, Y.Z. & Zohary, T. Hydrobiologia (2010) 639: 185. doi:10.1007/s10750-009-0023-3


Carbon to chlorophyll a (C:Chl) ratios, assimilation numbers (A.N.) and turnover times of natural populations of individual species and taxonomic groups were extracted from a long-term database of phytoplankton wet-weight biomass, chlorophyll a concentrations, and primary production in Lake Kinneret, Israel. From a database spanning more than a decade, we selected data for samples dominated by a single species or taxonomic group. The overall average of C:Chl was highest for cyanophytes and lowest for diatoms, while chlorophytes and dinoflagellates showed intermediate values. When converting chlorophyll a to algal cellular carbon this variability should be taken into account. The variability in C:Chl within each phylum and species (when data were available) was high and the variability at any particular sampling date tended to be greater than the temporal variability. The average chlorophyll a-normalized rate of photosynthetic activity of cyanophytes was higher and that of the dinoflagellates lower than that of other phyla. Turnover time of phytoplankton, calculated using primary productivity data at the depth of maximal photosynthetic rate, was longest in dinoflagellates and shortest in cyanophytes, with diatoms and chlorophytes showing intermediate values. The more extreme C:Chl and turnover times of dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria in comparison with chlorophytes and diatoms should be taken into consideration when employed in ecological modeling.


C:Chl ratio Monitoring database Optimal depth 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research Ltd., Yigal Allon Kinneret Limnological LaboratoryMigdalIsrael

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