Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Carbonate production by algae Halimeda, Penicillus and Padina


The Codiacean green algae Halimeda and Penicillus and the brown alga Padina are important producers of both calcium carbonate and organic matter in shallow water tropical and subtropical areas1,2. Estimates of algal contribution to shallow water carbonate deposition range from 0 to 61%3–5. However, direct observations on algal carbonate production are very rare. Available data include short-term measurements of calcium and carbon uptake6–9, observations of growth of aquarium specimens10 and periodic observations of death rate for a year at fixed stations11. I report here on in situ measurements taken in Harrington Sound, Bermuda, a shallow subtropical lagoon. Production rates were 50 (Halimeda incrassata), 30 (Penicillus capitatus) and 240 Padina sanctae-crucis) g m−2 yr−1 calcium carbonate. The measured growth rates suggest that the algae renew their standing stock approximately once every month (Halimeda and Padina) or once every one and a half months (Penicillus) during their growing season.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Bathurst, R. G. C. Carbonate Sediments and their Diagenesis, 1–620 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Milliman, J. D. Marine Carbonates, 1–375 (Springer, Berlin, 1974).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Milliman, J. D. U.S. Geol. Surv. Profess. Pap. 529–7 (1972).

  4. Ginsburg, R. N. Am. Ass. Petrol. Geolog. Bull. 40, 2384–2427 (1956).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Neumann, A. C. & Land, L. S. J. Sediment. Petrol. 45, 763–786 (1975).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Goreau, T. F. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 109, 127–167 (1963).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Stark, K. W., Ginsburg, R. N. & Shinn, E. A. J. Sediment. Petrol. 37, 633–648 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Böhm, E. L. Mar. Biol. 47, 9–14 (1978).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Borowitzka, M. A. & Larkum, A. W. D. J. exp. Bot. 27, 864–878 (1976).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Colinvaux, L. H., Wilbur, K. M. & Watabe, N. J. Phycol. 7, 69–78 (1965).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Stockmann, K. W., Ginsburg, R. N. & Shinn, E. A. J. Sediment. Petrol. 37, 633–648 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Dustan, P. Mar. Biol. 33, 101–107 (1975).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Neumann, A. C. Bull. mar. Sci. 15, 987–1035 (1965).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Bernatowicz, A. J. Pap. Mich. Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 36, 3–8 (1952).

    Google Scholar 

  15. von Bodungen, B. Bermuda Biological Station, Spec. Publ. (in the press).

  16. Barnes, J. A. & von Bodungen, B. Bermuda Biological Station, Spec. Publ. 17, 1–190 (1978).

    Google Scholar 

  17. Rezak, R. in Geology of Calcareous Algae (eds Ginsburg, R. N., Rezak, R. & Wray, J. L.) 3.1–3.8 (The Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory, Miami, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Goreau, T. F. in The Biology of Hydra, 269–285 (University of Miami Press, 1961).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Böhm, E. L. & Schramm, W. in Das Harrington Sound Projekt (eds Wefer, G. & Hempel, G.) 20–27 (Sonderforschungsbereich 95, Kiel University, 1977).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wefer, G. Carbonate production by algae Halimeda, Penicillus and Padina. Nature 285, 323–324 (1980).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing