Our understanding of plant responses to enhanced ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has improved over recent decades. However, research on cryptogams is scarce and it remains controversial whether UV-B radiation causes changes in physiology related to photosynthesis. To investigate the effects of supplementary UV-B radiation on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure in Bryum argenteum Hedw., specimens were cultured for 10 days under four UV-B treatments (2.75, 3.08, 3.25 and 3.41 W m–2), simulating depletion of 0% (control), 6%, 9% and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, a temperate desert area of northwest China. Analyses showed malondialdehyde content significantly increased, whereas chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence parameters and Chl contents decreased with increased UV-B intensity. These results corresponded with changes in thylakoid protein complexes and chloroplast ultrastructure. Overall, enhanced UV-B radiation leads to significant decreases in photosynthetic function and serious destruction of the chloroplast ultrastructure of B. argenteum. The degree of negative influences increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on photosynthesis of moss crust, but also establish a theoretical basis for further studies of adaptation and response mechanisms of desert ecosystems under future ozone depletion.