In the Arctic, seasonal ozone depletion is resulting in periods of enhanced UV-B radiation at ground level while regional climate change is associated with increasing temperatures. These changes are likely to alter plant distribution, biodiversity and morphology, which may have knock-on effects for microbially driven biogeochemical cycling and other soil processes. Our study examined the transmission of solar UV radiation through arctic tundra plants using a portable UV radiometer and the DLR-biofilm biological UV dosimeter. A strong negative correlation was found between vegetation cover and UV transmission to the soil surface. Penetration of UV to the soil beneath tundra plants varied depending upon plant morphology, being greater through low creeping plants than cushion plants, grasses or mosses. UV transmission to the soil surface beyond the foliage edge also varied with plant morphology and the presence of flowers.
Authors: Hughes, Kevin A. ORCID record for Kevin A. Hughes, Scherer, Kerstin, Svenoe, Trond, Rettburg, Petra, Horneck, Gerda, Convey, Pete ORCID record for Pete Convey