Attenuation of biologically effective UV radiation in tropical Atlantic waters measured with a biochemical DNA dosimeter

P. Boelen, I Obernosterer, A.A Vink, A.G.J. Buma

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A biochemical dosimeter was developed to study the attenuation of biologically effective UV radiation in marine tropical waters. Small quartz vials were used containing a solution of DNA molecules; the vials were incubated at discrete water depths. Subsequently, DNA damage was determined in these samples, using an antibody directed against thymine dimers followed by chemiluminescent detection. Measurements of DNA damage were compared with calculated biologically effective doses, as derived from spectroradiometer measurements. The bio-dosimeter was found to be a reliable and easy tool to determine levels of harmful UV radiation in marine waters. The highest attenuation coefficient (1.60 m(-1)) measured with the biochemical dosimeter was found in eutrophic waters, at a coastal station off Curabcao, Netherlands Antilles. At the other stations attenuation coefficients ranged from 0.18 m(-1) in central Atlantic waters to 0.43 m(-1) close to the Curabcao coast line. Latter results indicate that biologically effective UV radiation may easily reach ecologically significant depths, e.g. coral reef communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34 - 40
Number of pages7
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-1999



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