Ultraviolet Radiation

Andrew R. Blaustein and Lisa K. Belden

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Ultraviolet Radiation

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Global climate changes, including changes in atmospheric conditions, may be contributing to amphibian population declines. Studies of amphibians and ultraviolet radiation have concentrated on ultraviolet B (UV-B), the portion of the spectrum of most biological concern at the earth's surface. Higher wavelengths are less efficiently absorbed by critical biomolecules; lower wavelengths are absorbed by stratospheric ozone. UV-B radiation is known to induce the formation of photoproducts that can cause cell death or genetic mutations. Seasonal increases in UV-B irradiance linked to stratospheric ozone depletion are well documented at the poles, and there is evidence that UV-B radiation has increased in temperate latitudes. Laboratory studies show detrimental effects of UV-B radiation on amphibian growth, development, and behavior. Field studies demonstrate that ambient UV-B radiation adversely affects the developing embryos of some, but not all, species. Moreover, some recent studies have shown that ambient UV-B radiation may cause malformities. This chapter summarizes the methods, evidence, and implications of the effects of UV-B radiation on amphibians based on the results of field experiments.

Keywords: ultraviolet radiation; amphibians; population declines; UV-B radiation; field experiments; climate changes; photoproducts; growth; malformities; development

Chapter.  1621 words. 

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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