The sensitivity to UV-B radiation (UVBR: 280–315 nm) was tested for littoral (Palmaria palmata[L.] O. Kuntze, Chondrus crispus Stackhouse) and sublittoral (Phyllophora pseudoceranoides S. G. Gmelin, Rhodymenia pseudopalmata[Lamouroux] Silva, Phycodrys rubens[L.] Batt, Polyneura hilliae[Greville] Kylin) red macrophytes from Brittany, France. Algal fragments were subjected to daily repeated exposures of artificial UVBR that were realistic for springtime solar UVBR at the water surface in Brittany. Growth, DNA damage, photoinhibition, and UV-absorbing compounds were monitored during 2 weeks of PAR + UV-A radiation (UVAR) + UVBR, whereas PAR + UVAR and PAR treatments were used as controls. The littoral species showed a higher UV tolerance than the sublittoral species. After 2 weeks, growth of P. palmata and C. crispus was not significantly affected by UVBR, and DNA damage, measured as the number of cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimers per 106 nucleotides, was negligible. Photoinhibition, determined as the decline in optimal quantum yield, was low and decreased during the course of the experiment, coinciding with the production of UV-absorbing compounds in these species. In contrast, no UV-absorbing compounds were induced in the sublittoral species. Growth rates of P. pseudoceranoides and R. pseudopalmata were reduced by 40% compared with the PAR treatment. Additionally, constant levels of DNA damage and pronounced photoinhibition were observed after the UVBR treatments. Growth was completely halted for Phycodrys rubens and Polyneura hilliae, whereas DNA damage accumulated in the course of the experiment. Because Phycodrys rubens and Polyneura hilliae showed the same degree of photoinhibition as the other sublittoral species, it appears that the accumulation of DNA damage may have been responsible for the complete inhibition of growth. The results suggest an important role of DNA repair pathways in determining the UV sensitivity in red macrophytes.