Ozone depletion and the effects of enhanced ultraviolet B radiation on Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Depletion of stratospheric ozone over Antarctica for the past two decades has caused an increase in ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation reaching Antarctic marine habitats. Research efforts to evaluate the impact of enhanced UVB radiation have initially focused on phytoplankton under the assumption that whole ecosystem effects will most likely originate through reductions in primary productivity. However, phytoplankton do not represent the only significant component in Antarctic marine ecosystem response to enhanced levels of UVB radiation. Antarctic bacterioplankton, sea ice microalgae, macroalgae, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates (particularly early developmental stages) are also sensitive to UVB. Little information exists on UVB responses of larger Antarctic marine vertebrates (e.g., birds, seals and whales). Although the effects of ozone depletion on Antarctic marine organisms have not been catastrophic, the long-term consequences of possible alterations in taxonomic structure and trophic interactions remain uncertain.
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