Get access

Oxidative Damage in Response to Natural Levels of UV-B Radiation in Larvae of the Tropical Sea Urchin Tripneustes gratilla


Corresponding author email: (Kathryn Naomi Lister)


To assess the effects of UV radiation (280–400 nm) on development, oxidative damage and antioxidant defence in larvae of the tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla, a field experiment was conducted at two depths in Aitutaki, Cook Islands (18.85°S, 159.75°E) in May 2008. Compared with field controls (larvae shielded from UV-R but exposed to VIS-radiation), UV-B exposure resulted in developmental abnormality and increases in oxidative damage to proteins (but not lipids) in embryos of T. gratilla held at 1 m depth. Results also indicated that larvae had the capacity to increase the activities of protective antioxidant enzymes when exposed to UV-B. The same trends in oxidative damage and antioxidant defence were observed for embryos held at 4 m, although the differences were smaller and more variable. In contrast to UV-B exposure, larvae exposed to UV-A only showed no significant increases in abnormality or oxidative damage to lipids and proteins compared with field controls. This was true at both experimental depths. Furthermore, exposure to UV-A did not cause a significant increase in the activities of antioxidants. This study indicates that oxidative stress is an important response of tropical sea urchin larvae to exposure to UV radiation.

Get access to the full text of this article