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A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Ultraviolet B Radiation and Its Synergistic Interactions with pH, Contaminants, and Disease on Amphibian Survival

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Human alterations to natural systems have resulted in a loss of biological diversity around the world. Amphibian population losses have been more severe than those of birds and mammals. Amphibian population declines are likely due to many factors including habitat loss, disease, contaminants, introduced species and ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation. The effect of UVB, however, varies widely among species and can vary within populations of the same species or at different life-history stages. This variation has often led to opposing conclusions about how UVB affects amphibians. We used meta-analysis techniques to explore the overall effects of UVB radiation on survival in amphibians. We also used recently developed factorial meta-analytic techniques to quantify potential interactions between UVB radiation and other stressors on amphibians. Ultraviolet-B radiation reduced survival of amphibians by 1.9-fold compared with shielded controls. Larvae were more susceptible to damage from UVB radiation compared with embryos, and salamanders were more susceptible compared with frogs and toads. Furthermore, UVB radiation interacted synergistically with other environmental stressors and resulted in greater than additive effects on survival when 2 stressors were present. Our results suggest that UVB radiation is an important stressor in amphibians, particularly in light of potential synergisms between UVB and other stressors in amphibian habitats.
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Keywords: UVB radiation; anura; caudata; etapa de historia de vida; life-history stage; meta-analysis; meta-análisis; radiación UVB; sinergético; synergistic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, U.S.A. 2: Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, U.S.A.

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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