US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Ecosystems 8 (2005).


Ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B, 280–320-nm wavelengths) doses were estimated for 1024 wetlands in six national parks: Acadia (Acadia), Glacier (Glacier), Great Smoky Mountains (Smoky), Olympic (Olympic), Rocky Mountain (Rocky), and Sequoia/ Kings Canyon (Sequoia). Estimates were made using ground-based UV-B data (Brewer spectrophotometers), solar radiation models, GIS tools, field characterization of vegetative features, and quantification of DOC concentration and spectral absorbance. UV-B dose estimates were made for the summer solstice, at a depth of 1 cm in each wetland. The mean dose across all wetlands and parks was 19.3 W-h m-2 (range of 3.4–32.1 W-h m-2). The mean dose was lowest in Acadia (13.7 W-h m-2) and highest in Rocky (24.4 W-h m-2). Doses were significantly different among all parks. These wetland doses correspond to UV-B flux of 125.0 µW cm-2 (range 21.4–194.7 µW cm)2) based on a day length, averaged among all parks, of 15.5 h. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC), a key determinant of water-column UV-B flux, ranged from 0.6 (analytical detection limit) to 36.7 mg C L-1 over all wetlands and parks, and reduced potential maximal UV-B doses at 1-cm depth by 1%–87 %. DOC concentration, as well as its effect on dose, was lowest in Sequoia and highest in Acadia (DOC was equivalent in Acadia, Glacier, and Rocky). Landscape reduction of potential maximal UV-B doses ranged from zero to 77% and was lowest in Sequoia. These regional differences in UV-B wetland dose illustrate the importance of considering all aspects of exposure in evaluating the potential impact of UV-B on aquatic organisms.