Both solar irradiance and primary production have been proposed as independent controls on seawater dimethyl sulphide (DMS) and dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations. However, irradiance also drives photosynthesis, and thus influences a complex set of inter-related processes that modulate marine DMS. We investigate the potential inter-relationships between the rate of primary production (carbon assimilation), water-attenuated irradiance and DMS/DMSP dynamics by applying correlation analysis to a high resolution, concurrently sampled in situ data set from a range of latitudes covering multiple biogeochemical provinces from 3 of the 4 Longhurst biogeochemical domains. The combination of primary production (PP) and underwater irradiance (Iz) within a multivariate regression model is able to explain 55% of the variance in DMS concentrations from all depths within the euphotic zone and 66% of the variance in surface DMS concentrations. Contrary to some previous studies we find a variable representing biological processes is necessary to better account for the variance in DMS. We find that the inclusion of Iz accounts for variance in DMS that is independent from the variance explained by PP. This suggests an important role for solar irradiance (beyond the influence of irradiance upon primary production) in mediating the relationship between the productivity of the ecosystem, DMS/DMSP production and ambient seawater DMS concentrations.