The nitrogen fixation potential of arctic cryptogram species is influenced by enhanced UV-B radiation

Bjorn Solheim, Ulf Johanson, Terry V. Callaghan, John A. Lee, Dylan Gwynn-Jones, Lars O. Bjorn

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43 Citations (SciVal)


Effects of enhanced UV-B (representing a 15% ozone depletion) on cyanobacterial nitrogen fixation were measured at a high arctic site (Adventdalen, 79°N, Svalbard) and a subarctic site (Abisko, 68°N, Sweden). Nitrogen fixation potential (acetylene reduction) by cyanobacteria associated with the moss Sanionia uncinata in vegetation exposed to experimentally enhanced levels of UV-B for 3 and 4 years in the high arctic in Adventdalen was reduced by 50% compared to controls after 3 years. No reduction in nitrogen fixation potential was observed in cyanobacteria associated with the moss Hylocomium splendens when previously exposed to enhanced UV-B in Abisko for a 7-year period. However, in the same experiment a 50% increase in summer precipitation stimulated nitrogen fixation potential by up to 6-fold above the natural precipitation treatments both in cyanobacteria associated with vegetation exposed to natural and enhanced UV-B radiation. In contrast to the lack of UV effect on moss-associated nitrogen fixation at the subarctic site, nitrogen fixation potential by the dominant lichen species Peltigera aphthosa was reduced by 50% when measured after 8 years exposure to elevated UV-B treatment. Evidence from these studies highlights the importance of UV-B radiation for cyanobacterial nitrogen fixation in the Arctic and future impact on nitrogen availability in such plant communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-93
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002


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