Effects of ultraviolet radiation on pigmentation, photoenzymatic repair, behavior, and community ecology of zooplankton.

Lars-Anders Hansson, Samuel Hylander

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89 Citations (SciVal)


In this report, we provide a perspective on how zooplankton are able to respond to present and future levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a threat that has been present throughout evolutionary time. To cope with this threat, zooplankton have evolved several adaptations including behavioral responses, repair systems, and accumulation of photoprotective compounds. Common photoprotective compounds include melanins and carotenoids, which are true pigments, but also mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and several other substances, and different taxa use different blends of these compounds. It is not only the level of UV radiation, however, that determines the amount of photoprotective compounds incorporated by the zooplankton, but also other environmental factors, such as predation and supply rate of the compounds. Furthermore, compared to taxa that are less pigmented, those taxa with ample pigmentation are generally less likely to exhibit diel migration. The photoenzymatic repair of UV damages seems to be more efficient at intermediate temperature than at low and high temperatures, suggesting that it is less useful at high and low latitudes, where UV radiation is often extremely high. While predicted future increases in UV radiation are expected to substantially affect many processes, recent studies show that most zooplankton taxa are well adapted to cope with such increases, either by UV avoidance behavior or by incorporation of photoprotective compounds. Hence, we conclude that future increase in UV radiation will have only moderate direct effects on zooplankton biomass and community dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1275
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


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