Ecosystem UV-B Experiments in Terrestrial Communities: A Review of Recent Findings and Methodologies

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Agricultural and Forest Meteorology







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Ecosystem-level UV-B experiments have revealed a variety of responses in terrestrial communities. These include decreases in the growth of some plant species (usually small changes but occasionally >25%), both decreases and increases in herbivory, occasional altered decomposition patterns, changes in populations of fungi and invertebrates, and morphological changes in the growth patterns of mosses. These field experiments have been pursued both with solar UV-B exclusion using selective filters and with supplementation of UV-B using lamps. For UV-B-exclusion studies it is critical that the UV-B-excluding and UV-B-transmitting filters pass the same amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm) and also infrared. Canopy photosynthesis models indicate that even small differences in PAR transmittance can, under many circumstances, have significant effects on plant carbon gain. It is also important that filters in UV-B-exclusion studies allow precipitation to pass uniformly to the plots unless there is some form of irrigation underneath the filters. For UV-B-supplementation studies with lamps, many factors are involved in the realism of the ozone depletion simulation. We believe the major lamp-system error is excessive supplementation of UV-B by timer-controlled lamps when weather conditions (primarily clouds) decrease ambient solar UV-B irradiance. The choice of biological spectral weighting functions (BSWF) used in adjusting lamp flux is also critical in determining the level of ozone depletion simulated. In addition, shading by the lamp arrays influences plant growth and becomes particularly important when BSWF with substantial weighting in the UV-A are employed.


Originally published by Elsevier. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.