TitleDevelopmental responses of amphibians to solar and artificial UVB sources: a comparative study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsHays JB, Blaustein AR, Kiesecker JM, Hoffman PD, Pandelova I, Coyle D, Richardson T
JournalPhotochem Photobiol
Date Published1996 Sep
Amphibians, Animals, Deoxyribodipyrimidine Photo-Lyase, DNA, DNA Repair, Female, Ovum, Radiation Tolerance, Sunlight, Ultraviolet Rays

Many amphibian species, in widely scattered locations, currently show population declines and/or reductions in range, but other amphibian species show no such declines. There is no known single cause for these declines. Differential sensitivity to UVB radiation among species might be one contributing factor. We have focused on amphibian eggs, potentially the most UVB-sensitive stage, and compared their resistance to UVB components of sunlight with their levels of photolyase, typically the most important enzyme for repair of the major UV photoproducts in DNA, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers. Photolyase varied 100-fold among eggs/oocytes of 10 species. Among three species-Hyla regilla, Rana cascadae, and Bufo boreas-for which resistance of eggs to solar UVB irradiance in their natural locations was measured, hatching success correlated strongly with photolyase. Two additional species, Rana aurora and Ambystoma gracile, now show similar correlations. Among the low-egg-photolyase species, R. cascadae and B. boreas are showing declines, and the status of A. gracile is not known. Of the two high-photolyase species, populations of H. regilla remain robust, but populations of R. aurora are showing declines. To determine whether levels of photolyase or other repair activities are affected by solar exposures during amphibian development, we have initiated an extended study of H. regilla and R. cascadae, and of Xenopus laevis, laboratory-reared specimens of which previously showed very low photolyase levels. Hyla regilla and R. cascadae tadpoles are being reared to maturity in laboratories supplemented with modest levels of UV light or light filtered to remove UVB wavelengths. Young X. laevis females are being reared indoors and outdoors. Initial observations reveal severe effects of both UVA and UVB light on H. regilla and R. cascadae tadpoles and metamorphs, including developmental abnormalities and high mortalities. Assays of photolyase levels in the skins of young animals roughly parallel previous egg/oocyte photolyase measurements for all three species.

Alternate JournalPhotochem. Photobiol.
PubMed ID8806225