• algal biovolume;
  • geometric models;
  • microphytobenthos;
  • microscopy;
  • phytoplankton

Microalgal biovolume is commonly calculated to assess the relative abundance (as biomass or carbon) of co-occurring algae varying in shape and/or size. However, a standardized set of equations for biovolume calculations from microscopically measured linear dimensions that includes the entire range of microalgal shapes is not available yet. In comparison with automated methods, the use of microscopical measurements allows high taxonomic resolution, up to the species level, and has fewer sources of error. We present a set of geometric shapes and mathematical equations for calculating biovolumes of >850 pelagic and benthic marine and freshwater microalgal genera. The equations are designed to minimize the effort of microscopic measurement. The similarities and differences between our proposal for standardization and previously published proposals are discussed and recommendations for quality standards given.