The results from a series of five cruises (August 1979-January 1981) to examine rates of primary production, nitrogen assimilation and regeneration in Carmarthen Bay, S. Wales, are presented. Chlorophyll, primary production and regeneration were distributed irregularly throughout the bay, with the highest concentrations and rates being found around the shallow periphery. Nitrate was the dominant form of nitrogen assimilated by the phytoplankton, apart from periods of high biomass during the summer when ammonium assumed a more important role. The rates of ammonium regeneration from microheterotrophs were greater than the ammonium demand over much of the year, indicating that the bay was a net exporter of ammonium and was a physically dominated "open" system. During the summer, the rates of ammonium regeneration and assimilation were similar, indicating efficient recycling of nutrients.