Ultraviolet-Radiation in Antarctica - Inhibition of Primary Production

Holmhansen, O, Helbling EW, Lubin D.  1993.  Ultraviolet-Radiation in Antarctica - Inhibition of Primary Production. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 58:567-570.

Date Published:



environment, Ozone, photosynthesis, phytoplankton


With the seasonal formation of the ozone hole over Antarctica, there is much concern regarding the effects of increased solar UV-B radiation (280-320 nm) on the marine ecosystem in the Southern Ocean. In situ incubations of natural phytoplankton assemblages in antarctic waters indicate that under normal ozone conditions UV-B radiation is responsible for a loss of approximately 4.9% of primary production in the euphotic zone, whereas UV radiation with wavelengths between 320 and 360 nm causes a loss of approximately 6.2%. When combined with data on the action spectrum for photoinhibition by UV radiation, our data suggest that the enhanced fluence of UV-B radiation under a well-developed ozone hole (1 50 Dobson units) would decrease daily primary productivity by an additional amount of less-than-or-equal-to 53.8%. Calculations that take into consideration the extent and duration of low stratospheric ozone concentrations during September to November indicate that the decrease in total annual primary production in antarctic waters due to enhanced UV-B radiation would be less-than-or-equal-to 0.20%.