The response of tundra plants to enhanced UV-B radiation simulating 15 and 30% ozone depletion was studied at two high arctic sites (Isdammen and Adventdalen, 78° N, Svalbard).The set-up of the UV-B supplementation systems is described, consisting of large and small UV lamp arrays, installed in 1996 and 2002. After 7 years of exposure to enhanced UV-B radiation, plant cover, density, morphological (leaf fresh and dry weight, leaf thickness, leaf area, reproductive and ecophysiological parameters leaf UV-B absorbance, leaf phenolic content, leaf water content) were not affected by enhanced UV-B radiation. DNA damage in the leaves was not increased with enhanced UV-B in Salix polaris and Cassiope tetragona. DNA damage in Salix polaris leaves was higher than in leaves of C. tetragona. The length of male gametophyte moss plants of Polytrichum hyperboreum was reduced with elevated UV-B as well as the number of Pedicularis hirsuta plants per plot, but the inflorescence length of Bistorta vivipara was not significantly affected. We discuss the possible causes of tolerance of tundra plants to UV-B (absence of response to enhanced UV-B) in terms of methodology (supplementation versus exclusion), ecophysiological adaptations to UV-B and the biogeographical history of polar plants © Springer 2006.
Working title: Stratospheric ozone depletion: high arctic tundra plant species from Svalbard are not affected by enhanced UV-B after 7 years of UV-B supplementation in the field