To test the hypothesis that plant source-sink relations are important in determining response to UV-B radiation, a short-term (45 d) field experiment was conducted at Abisko Scientific Research Station, Abisko, Sweden (68° N). Tillers of the grass Calamagrostis purpurea were grown outdoors at levels of UV-B radiation representing 25% ozone depletion. Growth, respiration, photo-assimilate allocation and UV-B protective compounds were subsequently measured. There were no significant effects of enhanced UV-B on total plant dry weight, leaf area, Shoot: Root ratio, leaf weight ratio, leaf area ratio, specific leaf area, tiller number per plant or blade thickness of this species. However, the amount of UV-B absorbing compounds and respiration rates were significantly increased in young and mature leaves. Increases in leaf respiration were accompanied by alterations in plant carbohydrate allocation at enhanced UV-B. The amount of soluble root carbohydrates was reduced following UV-B exposure. Enhanced UV-B also caused increases in the soluble sugar: starch ratio of young leaves, the stem and total aboveground biomass. The importance of source-sink relations and constitutive versus induced defense are discussed in relation to UV-B response.