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Conclusions and Consequences

Potential consequences of enhanced levels of exposure to UV-B radiation include loss of biomass, such as food sources for humans; changes in species composition; decrease in availability of nitrogen compounds; and reduced uptake capacity for atmospheric carbon dioxide, resulting in the potential augmentation of global warming. Although there is significant evidence that increased UV-B exposure is harmful to aquatic organisms, damage to ecosystems is still uncertain. One of the most important concepts for assessing the impacts of enhanced levels of UV-B exposure on aquatic ecosystems is that complex rather than simple responses are likely to be the rule. Responses will not be limited to simple decreases in primary production. In fact, shifts in community structure may initially be more common and result in little detectable differences in ecosystem biomass.

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