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Biotic Responses to UV-B Radiation in Antarctica

The significant impact of enhanced UV-B radiation on Antarctic marine organisms has been widely recognized. So far studies on Antarctic terrestrial organisms are few. The aim of the project is to determine how cryptogams and phanerogams (terrestrial algae, lichens mosses, the grass Deschampsia antarctica) in Antarctic coastal habitats respond to Global Environmental Change (especially UV-B radiation). The project comprises three parts: a. Monitoring changing environmental conditions - with particular emphasis on ultraviolet - and photosynthetically active radiation and temperature - in an area beneath the spring Antarctic ozone 'hole', by establishing a measuring station able to measure these environ-mental parameters over prolonged periods (5 years or more); b. Monitoring possible changes in Antarctic coastal vegetation by selective exclusion of UV - B form the natural irradiation and increased temperature in comparison with the vegetation under natural circumstances over prolonged periods (> 10 years); c. Investigate the ability of selected species to maintain physiological performance under increased stress (UV - B, and integrate the results of whole organism data with other investigations on biochemistry and cellular physiology. This third part will comprise measurements of the photosynthetic activity and biochemistry of selected species in the field and laboratory experiments on the same species in a controlled environment.

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