UV-induced changes in phytoplankton cells and its effects on grazers

D.O. Hessen, H.J. DeLange, E. Van Donk

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    126 Citations (Scopus)


    This review addresses the effects of UV-radiation on the morphology and biochemistry of phytoplankton and the potential effects on grazers. UVA and UVB radiation inhibit the uptake of inorganic nutrients in phytoplankton. Reduced rates of ammonium and nitrate uptake in marine diatoms, and reduced uptake of phosphorus in freshwater flagellates are reported. The effects on cell stoichiometry are not settled. UVA and UVB radiation promote increased cell volumes owing to a decoupling between the photosynthetic processes and cell division. Loss or inactivation of flagellae and loss of motility are also reported for a number of phytoplankton species. UVA and UVB radiation may affect major biochemical constituents. Accumulation of intracellular, photosynthetic products (lipids or carbohydrates) is a common, although not unique, property of UV-stressed algae. Fatty acid (FA) profiles seem susceptible to UV radiation. A relative increase of short-chained, and a decrease in polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) are reported. The important membrane FA like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 omega 3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 omega 3) seem particularl UV-related responses are highly dependent on taxonomy, cell-cycle stage, nutrient-limitation and the UV:PAR (photosynthetic active radiation)-ratio. Nutrient deficiency, cell size, cell wall properties and FA can all have significant impacts on grazers. Thus the reported effects on cell morphology and biochemical constituents could have profound effects on grazers and energy transfer in aquatic foodwebs. [KEYWORDS: ULTRAVIOLET-B RADIATION, FATTY-ACID COMPOSITION, EUGLENA-GRACILIS, OZONE DEPLETION, CHLAMYDOMONAS-REINHARDTII, MONOCHROMATIC LIGHT, NITROGEN STARVATION, NUTRIENT LIMITATION, N-15-NITRATE UPTAKE, ISOCHRYSIS-GALBANA]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)513-524
    JournalFreshwater Biology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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