Effects of ultraviolet radiation and contaminant-related stressors on arctic freshwater ecosystems. Academic Article uri icon


  • Climate change is likely to act as a multiple stressor, leading to cumulative and/or synergistic impacts on aquatic systems. Projected increases in temperature and corresponding alterations in precipitation regimes will enhance contaminant influxes to aquatic systems, and independently increase the susceptibility of aquatic organisms to contaminant exposure and effects. The consequences for the biota will in most cases be additive (cumulative) and multiplicative (synergistic). The overall result will be higher contaminant loads and biomagnification in aquatic ecosystems. Changes in stratospheric ozone and corresponding ultraviolet radiation regimes are also expected to produce cumulative and/or synergistic effects on aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Reduced ice cover is likely to have a much greater effect on underwater UV radiation exposure than the projected levels of stratospheric ozone depletion. A major increase in UV radiation levels will cause enhanced damage to organisms (biomolecular, cellular, and physiological damage, and alterations in species composition). Allocations of energy and resources by aquatic biota to UV radiation protection will increase, probably decreasing trophic-level productivity. Elemental fluxes will increase via photochemical pathways.

publication date

  • November 2006

published in