UVMRPs Role in UVB Agricultural Effects Studies

The previous sections describe UVMRP's monitoring activities and are limited to the physical aspects of UV radiation. In addition, UVMRP has played a role in the investigation of the biological response or "effects studies" of various plants and animals to UV-B and visible radiation. The goal of these studies is to evaluate the response of plants, forests, ecosystems, and animals to UV-B radiation and other climate stress factors. The program works with agricultural/forest researchers to evaluate the isolated effects of elevated UV-B on agricultural crops, livestock, forests, and range resources. Furthermore, it assesses the combined effects of UV-B radiation and other climate stress factors, such as moisture (drought), temperature, ozone, soil nutrients and CO2. By understanding both compounding and antagonistic effects of multiple stress factors, the research will help develop solutions that allow producers to cope with these detrimental effects and ensure quality and productivity for agriculture and livestock into the future. These studies provide a link between the knowledge of the climatology of UV-B radiation and the modeling of crop growth. The effects research is being conducted at a number of universities, and were directed and funded by UVMRP. Excerpts from this research are presented below:

At Colorado State University, Dr. Wei Gao, Dr. Heidi Steltzer, and Dr. Mathew Wallenstein evaluated the counteracting effects of UV-B radiation on litter decomposition. The study was conducted in a controlled greenhouse facility managed by Dr. Jack Morgan, USDA ARS, using aspen litter to determine if the effects of UV-B radiation on litter decomposition vary in relation to water availability and in response to suppressed biotic activity. The UVMRP designed and fabricated the UV-B lighting, control, and measurement hardware used in the study. Another CSU research scientist, Dr. Daniel Milchunas, conducted a three year study to evaluate the influence of UV-B on cattle rangeland grass decomposition and carbon storage. The UVMRP supplied UV-B monitoring instruments as well as data collection and processing services for this outdoor exclosure study.

Other examples of effects research are briefly described below, in no particular order. This list, however, is not meant to be exhaustive of all efforts associated with UVMRP. The work is separated according to the institution of the principal investigator of the study. For a more complete description of this work, the reader is directed to the citations given or to the UVMRP website.

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