Synchronized cultures of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were grown photoautotrophically under a wide range of environmental conditions including temperature (15–37°C), different mean light intensities (132, 150, 264 μmol m−2 s−1), different illumination regimes (continuous illumination or alternation of light/dark periods of different durations), and culture methods (batch or continuous culture regimes). These variable experimental approaches were chosen in order to assess the role of temperature in the timing of cell division, the length of the cell cycle and its pre- and post-commitment phases. Analysis of the effect of temperature, from 15 to 37°C, on synchronized cultures showed that the length of the cell cycle varied markedly from times as short as 14 h to as long as 36 h. We have shown that the length of the cell cycle was proportional to growth rate under any given combination of growth conditions. These findings were supported by the determination of the temperature coefficient (Q 10), whose values were above the level expected for temperature-compensated processes. The data presented here show that cell cycle duration in C. reinhardtii is a function of growth rate and is not controlled by a temperature independent endogenous timer or oscillator, including a circadian one.