UV-B susceptibility and photoprotection of Arctic Daphnia morphotypes

  • Dag O. Hessen
  • Jan Borgeraas
  • Kirsten Kessler
  • Unn Hilde Refseth


UV-B tolerance and susceptibility of high Arctic morphotypes of the Daphnia pulexl D. tenebrosa complex were assessed by in situ experiments at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard (79°N). Animals from local ponds were exposed to ambient light plus additional UV-B from lamps in a greenhouse facility. Taxonomic affinities did not appear as major determinants of UV susceptibility, but a major difference in UV-B tolerance was seen between morphotypes with pigmented carapaces and those without, the latter being far more susceptible. Assays on levels of carotene and the anti-oxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase did not reveal clear-cut differences between populations, and could not account for the higher tolerance in pigmented populations. Levels of glutathione transferase were higher in the transparent population, however. In the absence of blue light and UV, laboratory reared animals did not reconstitute their carapace melanization after moulting, indicating that short-wave light is the cue for melanin synthesis. Tests on melanized individuals and individuals of the same population reared indoors through 1-2 moults supported the major role of melanin for UV protection. Periods with high UV exposure during hatching of ephippia could induce shifts in morphotype or clonal dominance.


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How to Cite
Hessen D. O., Borgeraas J., Kessler K., & Refseth U. H. (1999). UV-B susceptibility and photoprotection of Arctic Daphnia morphotypes. Polar Research, 18(2), 345-352. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v18i2.6594