The temperature dependence of UV effects was studied for Arctic and temperate isolates of the red macrophytes Palmaria palmata, Coccotylus truncatus and Phycodrys rubens. The effects of daily repeated artificial ultraviolet B and A radiation (UVBR: 280–320 nm, UVAR: 320–400 nm) treatments were examined for all isolates at 6, 12 and 18 °C by measuring growth, optimal quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm) and cyclobutane–pyrimidine dimer (CPD) accumulation. Furthermore, possible ecotypic differences in UV sensitivity between Arctic and temperate isolates were evaluated. Large species-specific differences in UV sensitivity were observed for all parameters: the lower subtidal species C. truncatus and P. rubens were highly sensitive to the UV treatments, whereas P. palmata, which predominantly occurs in the upper subtidal zone, was not affected by these treatments. Only minor differences were found between Arctic and temperate isolates, suggesting that no differences in UV sensitivity have evolved in these species. Relative growth rates were temperature-dependent, whereas species-specific UV effects on growth rates were relatively independent of temperature. In contrast, the species-specific decrease in Fv/Fm and its subsequent recovery were temperature-dependent in all species. UV effects on Fv/Fm were lower at 12 and 18 °C compared with 6 °C. In addition, UV effects on Fv/Fm decreased in the course of the experiment at all temperatures, indicating acclimation to the UV treatments. CPDs accumulated during the experiment in both isolates of P. rubens, whereas CPD concentrations remained low for the other two species. CPD accumulation appeared to be independent of temperature. The results suggest that summer temperatures occurring in temperate regions facilitate repair of UV-induced damage and acclimation to UV radiation in these algae compared with Arctic temperatures. Because the differences in UV effects on Fv/Fm, growth and CPD accumulation were relatively small over a broad range of temperatures, it was concluded that the influence of temperature on UV effects is small in these species.