Plankton Reactivity in the Marine Environment (PRIME)

Phytoplankton (cocco-lithophorid, diatom, corethron) and zooplankton (euphausiid)
Phytoplankton (cocco-lithophorid, diatom, corethron) and zooplankton (euphausiid) ©


PRIME was a NERC funded thematic project to study the role of plankton in oceanic biogeochemical fluxes. These fluxes have implications in the world's climate regulation system.

Project participants

The project was hosted by the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor. Other participants included

  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
  • Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS)
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), formerly Southampton Oceanography Centre (SOC)
  • Fisheries Research Services (FRS) Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen
  • Queen's University of Belfast
  • Napier University, Edinburgh
  • Universities of East Anglia, Exeter, Glamorgan, Liverpool, Stirling, Swansea and Warwick

Data management support was provided by BODC.


The PRIME field programme consisted of the Bergen Mesocosm Experiment in 1995 (in the fjord waters of Espegrend Marine Biological Field Station), biological and hydrographic data collected in the early 1970's at Ocean Weather Ship India, and the RRS Discovery cruise 221 to the North East Atlantic in 1996.

In summary, the programme collected data from

  • Over 500 CTD and SeaSoar profiles
  • Nearly 1000 water bottle samples
  • Over 600 net hauls
  • Over 450 Secchi disk deployments
  • Nearly 4000 multisizer samples
  • 23 production experiments
  • Five drifting buoy tracks
  • 40 days of weather observations

What data were collected?

A wide diversity of physical, chemical and biological data was collected (650 different parameters were measured). This included

  • Bacteria
  • Nitrogen
  • Salinity
  • Carbon
  • Nutrients
  • Temperature
  • Chlorophyll
  • Particles
  • Trace elements
  • Currents
  • Phytoplankton
  • Viruses
  • Gases
  • Productivity
  • Zooplankton
  • Light levels
  • Respiration

The data set

Over 95% of the data collected during these activities is now assembled on a CDROM. The data are accompanied by an extensive users' guide (covering sampling protocol documentation), the structures used to store the data, and the data interrogation tools.

The data are also stored in BODC's databanks and are part of the pool of data available to anyone interested in oceanographic research. Contact the BODC Enquiries Officer  for further information.