Effects of UV radiation on lipids, fatty acids and nutritional quality of Arctic marine algae and zooplankton

Updated 2004-11-05

This project investigates how solar UV radiation affects planktonic food webs in the Arctic by changing the nutritional quality of the lower trophic levels. UV radiation has been documented to lead to oxidation of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in phytoplankton. These PUFAs cannot be synthesized de novo by zooplankton, but are key molecules for the marine pelagic food web. A combined approach was chosen with both sampling of field data (physical as well as biological) and experiments which were carried out during two field seasons in Ny Ålesund in 2003 (april/may) and 2004 (may/june). In 2004, the main part of the field work consisted of an outdoor experiment where phytoplankton was exposed to different irradiation regimes, using the natural sunlight. Algae from all different treatments were used for feeding zooplankton in order to trace the transfer of irradiation-induced changes of the fatty acid composition in phytoplankton to the next trophic level. A number of additional parameters will be analysed as well, combined with the results of an extensive measurement series of both PAR- and UV light. The experiment was carried out on the old pier (Gamle Kaia), while the laboratory part took place in the Italian station ‘Dirigibile Italia’.

Time frame

Project time span
2002 - 2005
Data collection
2003 - 2004
Data processing
2003 -
Data reporting
not specified

Contact information

Contact person
Dag Olav Hessen
Biologisk Institutt Postboks 1066, Blindern 0316 Oslo Norway
+47 22 85 45 53
+47 22 85 44 38
Other project contacts
Stig Falk-Pettersen Norwegian Polar Institute The Polar Environmental Centre 9296 Tromsø Norway stig@npolar.no Eva Leu Universitetet i Oslo Biologisk Institutt Postboks 1066, Blindern 0316 Oslo Norway eva.leu@bio.uio.no

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Biological effects
UV effects
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Algae (algae, phytoplankton)
Plankton (zooplankton)
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

taxonomy data of phytoplankton and zooplankton in springtime fatty acid composition data of Calanus and phytoplankton pigment data of phytoplankton underwater light profiles (PAR, UV) CTD measurements, nutrient samples


Regions studied
UV effects
Other areas

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Lipid analysis: GC - unilab, Tromsø pigments: HPLC - Göteborgs Universitet (Dr. Angela Wulff) taxonomy: Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Science, Sopot, Poland

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

NILU, Tromsø akvaplan-niva, Tromsø IOPAS, Sopot, Poland Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden

Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

NFR (Norges Forskningsråd)

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