Experimental assessment of the effect of UVB radiation on plankton community metabolism along the Southeastern Pacific off Chile
Abstract. The potential effects of UV on community metabolism (NCP, GPP and R) were assessed along the Southeast Pacific off the Chilean coast during the Humbold-2009 cruise (54.80° S–23.85° S) on board R/V Hespérides from 5 to 15 March 2009. Estimates of community metabolism were performed at eight stations, including three stations on Patagonian fjords and five stations on the Humboldt Current System. The effect of UVB radiation on net community production (NCP) was evaluated at the stations in the Humboldt Current system by comparing metabolic rates derived using quartz bottles, largely transparent to UVB, and borosilicate glass, which is opaque to UVB and part of UVA, incubated under the ambient solar radiation. Autotrophic planktonic communities with variable NCP prevailed along the area, with the highest NCP rates (7.1–11.1 mmol O2 m−3 d−1) observed in the Patagonian fjords and the northernmost station. All five experiments showed significantly different NCP rates between communities incubated under the full ambient radiation and those incubated under reduced UVB. One of the experiments showed elevated NCP when the community was exposed to the full solar radiation, while four experiments showed a significantly lower NCP in the presence of UVB. These results suggest that the intense UVB radiation in this area, partly inhibits NCP in the Southwest Pacific off Chile.