Do high temperatures enhance the negative effects of ultraviolet-B radiation in embryonic and larval amphibians?

Lesley Alton, Craig E Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


For the embryos and tadpoles of amphibian species, exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation (UVBR) can be lethal, or cause a variety of sublethal effects. Low temperatures enhance the detrimental effects of UVBR and this is most likely because the enzyme- mediated processes involved in the repair of UVBR-induced damage function less effectively at low temperatures. Whether these repair processes are also impaired, and thus the negative effects of UVBR similarly enhanced, at high temperatures is not known, but is an ecologically relevant question to ask given that organisms that inhabit environments where the temperature fluctuates widely on a daily timescale are likely to experience high doses of UVBR when temperatures are high. Here we examined the thermal-dependence of UVBR effects in the context of an ecologically-relevant fluctuating UVBR and temperature regime to test the hypothesis that exposure to peak UVBR levels while the temperature is high (35ºC) is more detrimental to embryonic and larval Limnodynastes peronii than exposure to peak UVBR levels while the temperature is moderate (25ºC). Embryos exposed to peak UVBR levels at 35ºC hatched 10 h later than those exposed to peak UVBR levels at 25ºC and, as tadpoles, were smaller and consequently swam more slowly but, in an environment with predators, exhibited no difference in survival time. There was also no effect of experimental treatment on the hatching success of embryos, nor on the post-hatch survival of tadpoles. These findings, therefore, are not sufficiently strong to support our hypothesis that high temperatures enhance the negative effects of UVBR in embryonic and larval amphibians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897 - 903
Number of pages7
JournalBiology Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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