Enhanced UV-B and Elevated CO2 Impacts Sub-Arctic Shrub Berry Abundance, Quality and Seed Germination

D. Gwynn-Jones, Alan G. Jones, Alice Waterhouse, A. Winters, D. Comont, J. Scullion, Rosie Gardias, Bente J. Graee, John A. Lee, T. V. Callaghan

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This study investigated the effects of long-term-enhanced UV-B, and combined UV-B with elevated CO2 on dwarf shrub berry characteristics in a sub-arctic heath community. Germination of Vaccinium myrtillus was enhanced in seeds produced at elevated UV-B, but seed numbers and berry size were unaffected. Elevated UV-B and CO2 stimulated the abundance of V. myrtillus berries, whilst UV-B alone stimulated the berry abundance of V. vitis-idaea and Empetrum hermaphroditum. Enhanced UV-B reduced concentrations of several polyphenolics in V. myrtillus berries, whilst elevated CO2 increased quercetin glycosides in V. myrtillus, and syringetin glycosides and anthocyanins in E. hermaphroditum berries. UV-B × CO2 interactions were found for total anthocyanins, delphinidin-3-hexoside and peonidin-3-pentosidein in V. myrtillus berries but not E. hermaphroditum. Results suggest positive impacts of UV-B on the germination of V. myrtillus and species-specific impacts of UV-B × elevated CO2 on berry abundance and quality. The findings have relevance and implications for human and animal consumers plus seed dispersal and seedling establishment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-268
Number of pages13
JournalAmbio: A Journal of the Human Environment
Issue numberSUPPL.3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Abundance
  • Arctic
  • Berry
  • CO
  • Elevated
  • Enhanced
  • Reproduction
  • Secondary metabolites
  • UV-B
  • Seeds/drug effects
  • Carbon Dioxide/pharmacology
  • Sweden
  • Vaccinium/drug effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Climate Change
  • Arctic Regions
  • Ecosystem
  • Fruit/drug effects
  • Germination/drug effects


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