Photobiology and Solar Radiation

  • Image of special laboratory exposure set up

    Micro-organism response to UV is measured with a special laboratory exposure set-up

Principal Investigator

The Photobiology and Solar Radiation laboratory at SERC focuses on solar Ultraviolet Radiation and its effects in ecosystems.

Despite being invisible to our eyes, ultraviolet radiation is responsible for most effects of solar exposure, both negative (sunburn, cancer) and positive (Vitamin D synthesis). The Ultraviolet B range, at the high energy fringe of the solar spectrum, is the most biologically active, but the lower energy Ultraviolet A is also important. UVB at the earth's surface is strongly affected by stratospheric ozone, also by clouds and air pollution. At SERC, we continuously monitor UV-B in Maryland and other locations, and investigate the ecological role of UV mainly in aquatic environments.