TitleCombined exposure to ambient UVB radiation and nitrite negatively affects survival of amphibian early life stages
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMacias, G, Marco, A, Blaustein, AR
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Many aquatic species are sensitive to ambient levels of ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB) and chemical fertilizers. However, recent studies indicate that the interaction among multiple stressors acting simultaneously could be contributing to the population declines of some animal species. Therefore, we tested the potential synergistic effects between ambient levels of UVB and a contaminant, sodium nitrite in the larvae of two amphibian species, the common European toad Bufo bufo and the Iberian green frog Rana perezi. We studied R. perezi from both mountain and coastal populations to examine if populations of the same species varied in their response to stressors in different habitats. Both species were sensitive to the two stressors acting alone, but the interaction between the two stressors caused a multiplicative impact on tadpole survival. For B. bufo, the combination of UVB and nitrite was up to seven times more lethal than mortality for each stressor alone. In a coastal wetland, the combination of UVB and nitrite was four times more toxic for R. perezi than the sum of the effect on mortality for each stressor alone. One mg/L of nitrite killed half the population of R. perezi at Gredos Mountains at day 10 in the absence of UVB. In the presence of UVB, 50% of the tadpoles from the same experiment died at day 7. Similar toxic response were found for R. perezi in two highly contrasted environments suggesting this synergistic interaction can be a widespread phenomenon. The interaction of excess chemical fertilizers and manure with ambient UVB radiation could be contributing to the global decline of some amphibian species. We suggest that potential exposure to UVB radiation be accounted for when assessing water quality criteria regarding nitrite pollution. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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