• Key index words: Chaetoceros calcitrans;
  • Ditylum brightwellii;
  • inorganic carbon assimilation;
  • isotopic disequilibrium;
  • Skeletonema costatum;
  • stable carbon isotopes


The utilization of inorganic carbon by three species of marine diatom, Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cleve. Ditylum brightwellii (West) Grun., and Chaetoceros calcitrans Paulsen was investigated using an inorganic carbon isotopic disequilibnum technique and inorganic carbon dose-response curves. Stable carbon isotope data of the diatoms are also presented. Observed rates of photosynthetic oxygen evolution were greater than could be accounted for by the theoretical rate of CO2 supply from the uncatalyzed dehydration of HCO3 in the external medium, suggesting use of HCO3 as an inorganic carbon source. Data from the isotopic disequilibrium experiment demonstrate the use of both HCO3 and CO2 for photosynthesis. Carbon isotope discrimination values support the use of HCO3 by the diatoms.