Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Persistent, vertical-migration rhythms in benthic microflora.: II. Field and Laboratory Studies On Diatoms From The Banks Of The River Avon

F. E. Rounda1 and J. D. Palmera2

a1 Department of Botany, University of Bristol, Bristol 8, England

a2 Dept of Biology, New York University, University Heights, New York, N.Y., 10453


The vertical migration of two Euglena species and several diatom species into and out of the sediment on the banks of the River Avon has been studied under natural conditions. All species have been shown to migrate vertically upwards when exposed during daylight. Tidal flooding of the sediment is generally preceded by re-burrowing of the algae beneath the surface. Methods have been devised to follow these migrations in both the field and laboratory. Laboratory experiments show that these migrations are rhythmic, continuing under constant illumination and temperature and removed from tidal influence. The effect of three different temperatures and three different light intensities has been investigated. Transfer from low to high temperatures has been shown to reset the phase of the rhythm. The results are discussed in relation to other work and to the ‘biological clock’ hypothesis.