The effects of culture depth (2-10 cm) and cell density on the growth rate and biomass productivity of Chlorella sp. XQ-200419 were investigated through the use of a selfdesigned open circular pond photobioreactor-imitation system. With increases in culture depths from 2 to 10 cm, the growth rate decreased significantly from 1.08 /d to 0.39 /d. However, the biomass productivity only increased slightly from 8.41 to 11.22 g/m2/d. The biomass productivity (11.08 g/m2/d) achieved in 4 cm culture with an initial OD540 of 0.95 was similar to that achieved in 10 cm culture with an initial OD540 of 0.5. In addition, the duration of maximal areal productivity at a 4 cm depth was prolonged from 1 to 4 days, a finding that was also similar to that of the culture at a 10 cm depth. In both cases, the initial areal biomass densities were identical. Based on these results and previous studies, it can be concluded that the influence of culture depth and cell density on areal biomass productivity is actually due to different areal biomass densities. Under suitable conditions, there are a range of optimal biomass densities, and areal biomass productivity reaches its maximum when the biomass density is within these optimal ranges. Otherwise, biomass productivity will decrease. Therefore, a key factor for high biomass productivity is to maintain an optimal biomass density.