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Field exposures of Bufo boreas embryos to fractions of ambient UV-B radiation at two sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA, were conducted to evaluate UV-B as a possible cause of recent severe declines of this species. There were no differences in hatching success of B. boreas embryos exposed to 0-100% of ambient UV-B radiation at either study site, results that are different from those of recent studies in Oregon that found increased mortality of B. boreas embryos exposed to ambient UV-B. The reasons for these differing results are not apparent, and several possible explanations exist, including differences in experimental design, presence or absence of a pathogenic fungus, and geographic genetic variation. Bufo boreas embryos were probably not receiving higher doses of UV-B radiation during the experiments in Oregon compared to the experiments in this study. Results of this study do not support UV-B radiation alone as the cause of the decline of B. boreas during the past 20 yr in the southern Rocky Mountains, but UV-B cannot be dismissed because of the contradictory results from other studies.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of ultraviolet radiation on boreal toads in Colorado