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Limited effects of Antarctic ozone depletion on sea urchin development
Karentz, D.; Bosch, I.; Mitchell, D.M. (2004). Limited effects of Antarctic ozone depletion on sea urchin development. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 145(2): 277-292.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Karentz, D.
  • Bosch, I.
  • Mitchell, D.M.

    The sea urchin, Sterechinus neumayeri, has a circumpolar distribution and is an abundant species in benthic communities of the Antarctic. Reproduction occurs during austral spring, when ozone concentrations over the past 25 years have been reduced by 50% or more, potentially exposing the planktonic embryos and larvae to elevated levels of UVB. During spring of 1996, cultures of S. neumayeri embryos incubated under ambient and partitioned sunlight (minus UVB) at static depths between 0 and 7 m were analyzed for DNA damage [cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs)] and morphological abnormalities. At 0-m and 1-m depths, nearly 100% of embryos developed abnormally, even under UVB-shielded conditions where little or no DNA damage accumulated. At depths >3 m, reduced or no abnormality was evident and DNA damage was negligible. Although UVB contributed to 0–65% of solar-induced abnormalities, the mean contribution was 11±17% and UVB was not primarily responsible for observed defects in urchin development. Moreover, developmental responses were not linearly related to ambient UVB gradients as might be expected, but are better characterized relative to threshold levels of total UVB exposure. Accumulated exposures of =25 kJ m-2 ambient UVB caused minimal DNA damage and allowed normal embryological development to proceed. Higher UVB exposures (especially =80 kJ m-2) precluded normal development. An ancillary threshold limit of 17 CPDs mb-1 has been identified as the level of DNA damage that proscribes abnormal development. While higher wavelengths of UVA and visible light are not affected by ozone concentration and do not initiate significant CPD DNA damage, they did interfere significantly with the embryological development of S. neumayeri. It is concluded that exposure to increased UVB during recent Antarctic ozone-depletion cycles probably has only a small degree of impact relative to the magnitude of other solar effects on the developmental success of Sterechinus embryos, or compared to spawning seasons before ozone depletion (i.e., years prior to 1978).

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