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Free Content Primary Productivity and Nitrogen Fixation in Two Macroalgae-Cyanobacteria Associations

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Primary productivity and nitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction) were estimated in two macroalgae-cyanobacteria associations from coral reef communities. Microdictyon sp., collected at 20 m on the reef proper and Laurencia sp., from 1–2 m on an inshore sand flat, showed high productivity rates: 1.15 and 1.90 mg C g−1 h−1, respectively. Dissolved organic carbon excretion for both associations was less than 0.5% of the total carbon fixed. Nitrogenase activity was much higher in the Laurencia association than in the Microdictyon association (9.61 vs, 1.04 μg N g−1 h−1); this probably was due to differences in the cyanobacterial epiflora. The effect of light on the rates of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation was evaluated for the Microdictyon association. Nitrogen fixation supplied approximately 2% of the nitrogen demand of the Microdictyon complex and 19% of the demand on the Laurencia complex. In a nutrient poor environment, any de novo nutrient input is of value; for the Laurencia association, nitrogen fixation could supply a substantial portion of the nitrogen required for photosynthesis.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1981

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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