The effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on the synthesis of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in sea-ice communities and on the other UV-absorption properties of sea ice were studied in a three-week long in situ experiment in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea in March 2011. The untreated snow-covered ice and two snow-free ice treatments, one exposed to wavelengths > 400 nm (PAR) and the other to full solar spectrum (PAR + UVR), were analysed for MAAs and absorption coefficients of dissolved (aCDOM) and particulate (ap) fractions, the latter being further divided into non-algal (anap) and algal (aph) components. Our results showed that the diatom and dinoflagellate dominated sea-ice algal community responded to UVR down to 25-30 cm depth by increasing their MAA?:?chlorophyll-a ratio and by extending the composition of MAA pool from shinorine and palythine to porphyra-334 and an unknown compound with absorption peaks at ca. 335 and 360 nm. MAAs were the dominant absorbing components in algae in the top 10 cm of ice, and their contribution to total absorption became even more pronounced under UVR exposure. In addition to MAAs, the high absorption by chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and by deposited atmospheric particles provided UV-protection for sea-ice organisms in the exposed ice. Efficient UV-protection will especially be of importance under the predicted future climate conditions with more frequent snow-free conditions.