Radiation Called Risk to Frogs New Research Cites Thinning Ozone Layer

Article excerpt

A finding that the sun's ultraviolet radiation is killing the eggs of dwindling species of frogs, toads and salamanders supports fears about the weakening of the Earth's ozone layer, researchers say.

The finding comes in an Oregon State University study that is the largest field test yet on the effects of increasing UV-B, a type of ultraviolet radiation that also has been linked to skin cancer.

The study, published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, documents what scientists have suspected, said Bob Wiewese, assistant director of conservation and science at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in Bethesda, Md.

"Amphibians have been documented in a decline for many years now," he said. "There have been a number of different reasons given for the decline, and UV-B has been one of those that has been put forward over and over again."

Oregon State researchers Andrew Blaustein and John Hays also found that the declining species have a limited ability to repair damage from the natural radiation, which alters the structure of the creatures' DNA.

"Showing damage to an animal means there probably will be an effect on humans," Blaustein said.

The study "shows the suspicions were right. It implies that being out there in the sun is not good for you," said biologist David Wake, an amphibian expert at the University of California, Berkeley. …