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Lethal and Sublethal Effects of UV-B/pH Synergism on Common Frog Embryos

  • Maarit Pahkala
  • Katja Räsänen
  • Anssi Laurila
  • Ulf Johanson
  • Lars Olof Björn
  • Juha Merilä
Publishing year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 1063-1073
Publication/Series: Conservation Biology
Volume: 16
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Although the negative effects of ultraviolet-B ( UV-B) radiation on the development of many amphibian species have been demonstrated, some speciessuch as the common frog ( Rana temporaria)seem to be tolerant of UV-B radiation. The amount of UV-B radiation received is likely to vary among populations of the same species, but little is known about geographic variation in UV-B tolerance. Similarly, although UV-B radiation can have synergistic effects with other stressors, no studies have focused on geographic variation of these effects on amphibians. We investigated the synergistic effects of UV-B radiation and low pH on hatchability and early development of R. temporaria embryos in a factorial laboratory experiment with animals originating from southern and northern Sweden. Newly fertilized eggs were exposed to three different UV-B treatments (no UV-B [control, 1.254 k/J/m 2[normal and 1.584 k/J/m 2[26 enhanced) and two pH treatments (4.5 [low and 7.6 [neutral). Ultraviolet-B radiation in combination with low pH lead to markedly (approximately 50) reduced survival rates and increased (approximately 30) frequency of developmental anomalies in the northern but not in the southern population. The UV-B- exposed embryos hatched at smaller size in the southern population, whereas low pH reduced hatchling size in both populations. In both populations and pH treatments, embryos in the normal UV-B treatment developed significantly faster than embryos in the enhanced or control UV-B treatments. No interaction between pH and UV-B on developmental rates or hatchling size was detected. The results demonstratecontrary to earlier beliefthat R. temporaria embryos are not insensitive to increased levels of UV-B radiation. The lethal effects of UV-B radiation may, however, become manifested only in combination with other stressors, such as low pH, and the effects of this synergism may differ among different populations of the same species.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Photobiology
  • Photobiology-lup-obsolete
  • ISSN: 0888-8892
Lars Olof Björn
E-mail: lars_olof [dot] bjorn [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 72 53