Vitamin Content of Marine Plankton


THE appearance of the letter in NATURE of Sept. 13, by J. C. Drummond and E. R. Gunther, on the vitamin content of marine plankton, simultaneously with the résumé on p. 423 of the same issue, of the paper by G. Belloc, R. Fabre, and H. Simonnet on the study of plankton sterols, stresses the importance of a knowledge of the vertical distribution of plankton animals in the sea. It is a general rule that most of the plankton animals in Plymouth waters in sunny weather during April, May, and June live at depths below 10 to 15 metres, thus presumably avoiding the layers in which irradiation is likely to take place. In July, however, a definite change comes over the plankton, certain species previously only to be found in the deeper layers becoming abundant right up to the surface itself; this condition persists throughout July, August, and perhaps September. This seems significant in view of Belloc, Fabre, and Simonnet's findings that the sterols collected in July were found to be biologically active, whereas those collected in April only acquired biological activity after irradiation.

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RUSSELL, F. Vitamin Content of Marine Plankton. Nature 126, 472 (1930).

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