Effects of Enhanced Solar Ultraviolet Radiation on Aquatic Ecosystems

  • Donat-P. Häder
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 211)


The photosynthetic production of organic biomass using solar energy is the almost exclusive source of energy for life on our planet. The amount of carbon in the form of its dioxide incorporated annually into organic molecules exceeds 100 gigatons which can be visualized by the load filling 10 coal trains spanning the distance from the earth to the moon (Häder et al., 1989). However, only about one third of this enormous production is accounted for by terrestrial plants — forests, savannas, crop plants etc. — while the majority is produced by the phytoplankton organisms (primary producers) in aquatic habitats, especially in the world oceans. The marine phytoplankton communities represent by far the largest ecosystem on earth (Schneider, 1989); therefore even a small percentage decrease in the populations would result in enormous losses in the biomass productivity of these organisms, which could have dramatic effects both for the intricate ecosystem itself and for humans, who depend on this system in many ways (Häder et al., 1989).


Dictyostelium Discoideum Euglena Gracilis Physarum Polycephalum Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Phytoplankton Organism 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donat-P. Häder
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Botanik und Pharmazeutische BiologieFriedrich-Alexander-UniversitätErlangenGermany

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