This paper describes the results of pelagic mesocosm experiments designed to test the effects of enhanced and reduced ultraviolet radiation (UV) on the planktonic community of a Baltic Sea estuary. The Darss-Zingst estuary consists of a series of brackish lagoons with high concentrations of chlorophyll and dissolved organic matter. The shallow depth of the estuary ensures that organisms in the water are regularly exposed to high levels of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and UV. During the summer of 1995 and 1996, four 1-m(3) mesocosms were filled with water from the mid-point of the estuary. Each compartment was equipped with a pump to simulate natural rates of wind-induced vertical mixing. The mesocosms were hung in the estuary from a floating raft and were shielded from above by filters to give the spectral treatments PAR only, PAR+UV-A, and PAR+UV-A+UV-B. Enhanced levels of UV-B, i.e. twice that of midday sunlight, were provided in a further treatment by artificial sunlamps. Experi ments were conducted for periods of 3-14 days. No sig nificant effects of enhanced or reduced UV-B were observed on chlorophyll a concentrations or photosynthetic performance, although the PAR-only treatment did show higher final chlorophyll concentrations in two of the trials. Phytoplankton pigment composition was measured by in vivo absorption and fluorescence excitation spectra, and was similar in all mesocosm treatments indicating that there were no major differences in functional group composition. Bacterial secondary production rates as measured by thymidine incorporation increased with time in all mesocosms, probably due to enhanced production of phytoplankton exudate. There was evidence for a small depression of secondary production by enhanced UV-B, but only on certain days. Microzooplankton generally increased in all mesocosms to population densities higher than those observed in the estuary, and tended to reach higher final values in the mesocosms exposed to UV. It is concluded that vertical mixing which reduces the residence time of planktonic organisms in the surface layers, and high concentrations of chromophoric, dissolved organic matter, which greatly reduce the penetration of UV-B, combined to protect the planktonic community from UV-B damage. [KEYWORDS: ultraviolet radiation; phytoplankton; zooplankton; bacteria; mesocosm Situ enclosure experiment; altitude mountain lake; benthic diatom mat; solar uvb impact; b radiation; scale enclosure; photosystem-ii; short-term; water; phytoplankton]
Original languageEnglish
JournalHelgoland Marine Research
Journal publication date2001

ID: 389845