Marine phytoplankton have been implicated as potentially important vectors for the vertical transport of barium in the oceans. To better assess the extent to which phytoplankton can influence the geochemical cycling of barium, its bioconcentration was studied in 21 clones of 19 species of marine phytoplankters belonging to 9 algal classes. Barium levels in the ash ranged from less than 2 μg g–1 for the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi and the red alga Porphyridium cruenturn to 589 μg g–1 for the flagellate Tetraselmis levis. Concentrations ≥4000 μg g–1, previously reported for certain samples of diatom ash were not encountered in this study. Concentration factors on a volume basis (VCF) ranged from 0 to 3.2 × 104; the geometric mean VCF for all species was 225. Diatoms and coccolithophores generally had lower VCFs (geometric means of 90 and 12, respectively) than did other species; dinoflagellates had a geometric mean VCF of 490. Experiments with the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana indicated that Ba cell–1 increased linearly with ambient Ba concentration. Experiments to localize the site of Ba deposition in diatom cells indicated that most of the Ba was associated with the frustules rather than with the organic fraction. Dinoflagellates and several other algae not only concentrated Ba to relatively high levels, but also accumulated Si when grown in Si-enriched medium, although they grew at least as well without added Si as with it. Ba and Si accumulation were generally negatively correlated.