University Of Tasmania

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The influence of present-day levels of ultraviolet-B radiation on seedlings of two Southern Hemisphere temperate tree species

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 20:53 authored by Hunt, JE, McNeil, DL
Seedlings of two Southern Hemisphere temperate trees species (mountain beech: Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides (Hook. f.) Poole and broadleaf: Griselinia littoralis Raoul) were grown in the field to determine the effects of present-day levels of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) on growth, biomass, UV-B absorbing compounds, leaf optical properties and photoinhibition. Plants were covered with either UV-B transmitting or UV-B absorbing filters. After 125 days of typical summer weather, total biomass of both species was not affected by the UVB treatments. Without UV-B, height increased (23%) and the number of leaves produced decreased (-21%) in beech, but broadleaf was unaffected. The effect of UV-B on beech height and leaf number was manifest during a second flush of leaves suggesting differences in response to UV-B of leaves initiated in different seasons and UV-B radiation regimes. Leaves of both species were essentially opaque to the transmission of UV-B. In the absence of UV-B the transmission of photosynthetically active radiation through leaves of both species increased, foliar nitrogen concentrations increased and levels of UV-B absorbing compounds decreased. In the youngest leaves of beech but not of broadleaf, removal of UV-B reduced midday photoinhibition, and did not alter the complete recovery of the fluorescence ratio F(V)/F(M) in the evening to predawn levels. As leaves of both species aged, midday photoinhibition decreased, with the result that UV-B had no effect on photoinhibition in mature leaves. Results of this experiment show that even under present-day UV-B levels, UV-B radiation modifies the physiology, optical properties and secondary compounds of leaves of both beech and broadleaf seedlings.


Publication title

Plant Ecology








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Springer Netherlands

Place of publication

The Netherlands

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Grain legumes

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