, Volume 624, Issue 1, pp 219-233
Date: 02 Feb 2009

Influence of ultraviolet-B radiation on growth, prevalence of deformities, and susceptibility to predation in Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) larvae

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Abstract

Ambient levels of ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB) have a variety of detrimental effects on aquatic organisms. These include death and effects on growth, development, physiology, and behavior. Amphibians show all of these effects. However, the effects vary with species, life history stage, and ecological context. Little is known about the implications of the detrimental effects of UVB on ecological dynamics. Our study was designed to test how UVB may affect predator–prey interactions, an important ecological dynamic. Specifically, we tested the effect of UVB on the susceptibility of Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) larvae to predation by rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa). We also further examined the sublethal effects of UVB on growth and development in Cascades frog larvae. We found no direct effect of UVB exposure on survival. However, UVB-exposed frog larvae displayed decreased growth and increased prevalence of deformities. UVB also caused increased susceptibility to predation, but there was a significant treatment–block interaction. UVB increased susceptibility to predation in two out of five blocks of Cascades frogs. The other three blocks did not show an effect of UVB on susceptibility to predation. Our study suggests that UVB can alter susceptibility to predation in at least one amphibian species. UVB-induced alteration of predator–prey interactions could potentially lead to changes at the population, community, and ecosystem levels.

Handling editor: K. Martens