A small increase in UV-B increases the susceptibility of tadpoles to predation

Lesley Alton, Robbie Wilson, Craig E Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increased ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation as a consequence of ozone depletion is one of the many potential drivers of ongoing global amphibian declines. Both alone and in combination with other environmental stressors, UV-B is known to have detrimental effects on the early life stages of amphibians, but our under- standing of the fitness consequences of these effects remains superficial. We examined the independent and interactive effects of UV-B and predatory chemical cues (PCC) on a suite of traits of Limnodynastes peronii embryos and tadpoles, and assessed tadpole survival time in a predator environment to evaluate the potential fitness consequences. Exposure to a 3 to 6 per cent increase in UV-B, which is comparable to changes in terrestrial UV-B associated with ozone depletion, had no effect on any of the traits measured, except survival time in a predator environment, which was reduced by 22 to 28 per cent. Exposure to PCC caused tadpoles to hatch earlier, have reduced hatching success, have improved loco- motor performance and survive for longer in a predator environment, but had no effect on tadpole survival, behaviour or morphology. Simultaneous exposure to UV-B and PCC resulted in no interactive effects. These findings demonstrate that increased UV-B has the potential to reduce tadpole fitness, while exposure to PCCs improves their fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2575 - 2583
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume278
Issue number1718
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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