The net plankton community metabolism of oceanic surface waters is particularly important as it more directly affects the partial pressure of CO2 in surface waters and thus the air-sea fluxes of CO2. Plankton communities in surface waters are exposed to high irradiance that includes significant ultraviolet blue (UVB, 280-315 nm) radiation. UVB radiation affects both photosynthetic and respiration rates, increase plankton mortality rates, and other metabolic and chemical processes. Here we test the sensitivity of net community production (NCP) to UVB of planktonic communities in surface waters across contrasting regions of the ocean. We observed here that UVB radiation affects net plankton community production at the ocean surface, imposing a shift in NCP by, on average, 50% relative to the values measured when excluding partly UVB. Our results show that under full solar radiation, the metabolic balance shows the prevalence of net heterotrophic community production. The demonstration of an important effect of UVB radiation on NCP in surface waters presented here is of particular relevance in relation to the increased UVB radiation derived from the erosion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Our results encourage design future research to further our understanding of UVB effects on the metabolic balance of plankton communities. Key Points UV sensitivity of planktonic NCP ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.