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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