Approaches to Measuring Marine Primary Production

Matthew J. Church, John J. Cullen, David M. Karl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Marine primary production is a globally important component of the Earth’s carbon cycle. This article describes several approaches for measuring marine primary production, including description of whether the approaches estimate of net or gross rates of production. Both incubation-dependent and-independent methodologies are described. Among the methodologies presented are those that rely on isotopes as tracers of both carbon and oxygen, in addition to approaches that rely on assessment of time-varying changes in concentrations of bioelements or particles in the upper ocean. Moreover, we highlight approaches that leverage remote and autonomous sensing platforms for their ability to provide high temporal and spatial resolution estimates of primary production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Third Edition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-5
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780128130810
ISBN (Print)9780128130827
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Autonomous sensing
  • Carbon fixation
  • Gross and net primary production
  • Isotopes
  • Net community production
  • Oxygen
  • Phytoplankton
  • Primary production
  • Productivity


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