A test of the effect of supplemental UV-B radiation on the common frog, Rana temporaria L., during embryonic development


C. P. Cummins, tel + 44/ (0)1487-773381,
fax + 44/ (0)1487-773467, e-mail clive.p.cummins@ite.ac.uk


The release of certain man-made chemicals has led to recurrent, seasonal destruction of ozone in the upper atmosphere, allowing more solar radiation in the UV-B waveband to reach the Earth. Consequently, many amphibians may suffer increased exposure to UV-B at various stages in their lives. Embryonic stages of species which spawn in the spring, in shallow, open water, are at high risk of increased exposure. We exposed newly fertilized eggs of one such species, Rana temporaria L., to sunlight with and without supplemental UV-B. We used outdoor arrays of lamps to simulate the increase in UV-B which might result from previously documented ozone depletion. From immediately after fertilization to when hatchlings began feeding, ambient solar UV-B, weighted for DNA-damaging potential, was supplemented by ≈ 81% in 1995 and 113% in 1996. These levels of supplementation approximated the increase in solar UV-B expected to result from losses of 21% and 25%, respectively, of the total amount of ozone in the atmospheric column, relative to pre-ozone-depletion values. We found no evidence that these additions of UV-B radiation increased the incidence of mortality or overt developmental abnormality among embryos. We stress the need for appropriate dosimetry in studies of effects of UV-B on organisms.