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Oecologia. 2003 May;135(3):327-31. Epub 2003 Feb 26.

UV-B radiation arising from stratospheric ozone depletion influences the pigmentation of the Antarctic moss Andreaea regularis.

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  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, CB3 0ET, Cambridge, UK.


Changes to the radiative environment arising from stratospheric ozone (O(3)) depletion and subsequent associations between these changes and the pigmentation of the moss Andreaea regularis were measured in late austral spring and early summer 1998 at Rothera Point on the western Antarctic Peninsula (67 degrees S, 68 degrees W). A strong relationship between O(3) column depth and the ratio of UV-B to PAR irradiance ( F(uv-b)/ F(par)) was recorded at ground level ( r(2)=92%, P<0.001). Weaker, but significant, associations between O(3) column depth and ground level unweighted and biologically effective UV-B radiation (UV-B(be)) were also found. Regression analyses indicated that F(uv-b)/ F(par) was the best predictor for concentrations of UV-B screening pigments and total carotenoids extracted from plant tissues. Concentrations of these pigments were loosely ( r(2)= ca. 30%) but significantly ( P<0.01) positively associated with F(uv-b)/ F(par). Concentrations of UV-B screening pigments were also positively associated with irradiances and daily doses of unweighted UV-B and UV-B(be) radiation. The concentrations of chlorophylls a and b were apparently unaffected by O(3) depletion. The data derived from this study suggest that changes to the radiative environment associated with stratospheric O(3) depletion influence the pigmentation of A. regularis. As a corollary, flavonoids are shown to be present in tissues of A. regularis.

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