Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Gonyaulax Chemistry

Gonyaulax is one of the photosynthetic dinoflagellates because it contains chloroplasts. These green organelles are able to convert light energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis, described by this equation:

carbon dioxide + water glucose + oxygen


Gonyaulax contains these pigments for trapping light:

  • chlorophyll a and c
  • peridinin (a xanthophyll of red-gold color unique to dinoflagellates)

and these storage products:

  • starch
  • lipids (also helpful in regulating buoyancy

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© 1999  Allison Arnold and Monica Draghici.     All rights reserved.

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009