This article is a highlight of the paper by Li et al. in this issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology as well as a short summary of the research on the effects of solar UV-B radiation on primary production in the oceans. Laboratory experiments under controlled conditions using artificial light sources indicate species-specific damage of many phytoplankton groups. Mesocosm studies in enclosures of limited volume allow analyzing UV effects in multigeneration monitoring of natural assemblages. Field studies to determine the effects of short-wavelength solar radiation require sensitive instrumentation and measurements over extended areas of the open ocean to yield significant results. Results from a cruise described in the paper by Li et al. indicate clear effects of UV-B and UV-A on the photosynthetic carbon fixation of phytoplankton communities with spatial differences between coastal and open-ocean waters. Increasing temperatures and acidification in the ocean due to global climate change may exacerbate the detrimental effects of solar UV-B radiation.