Amphibians have been shown to be declining in numbers across the globe and the reason for this could be as a result of loss of genetic diversity among these amphibians. The reasons for this loss is as a result of habitat fragmentation because many of the amphibians are highly philopatric, have short natal distances due to their small sizes, experience low dispersal across habitats because they require moist habitats, and, lastly, the amphibian populations undergo fluctuations from year to year which gradually leads to loss of genetic diversity.
The amphibians are getting exposed to increased amounts of radiation (280-320 nm wavelength) that are reaching the earthâ€™s surface due to the depletion of the ozone layer. The global increase in UV-B radiation has made researchers hypothesize it as the reason behind the global decline in the population of amphibians. Some research done in trying to explain the reason behind the declining numbers of amphibians has shown a level of synergism between the UV-B and diseases, low PH,Â and harmful chemicals. This study though is trying to show the synergism between the UV-B and low genetic diversity as possible proof of the hypothesis that the UV-B could be the possible cause of declining amphibian populations.
The hypothesis for this research was that the genetically diversified amphibians exhibit a higher resistance to the UV-B than the less genetically diversified ones. The hypothesis was tested on the wood frogs (Rana sylvatica). Wood frogs were collected from twelve amphibian populations; their genetic diversity was then analyzed after which they were subjected to three different UV-B treatments discussed above. The eggs were collected from the woodlots that interspersed the row crop agricultural fields. The distance between one population of wood frog population to the next was measured as 441m between two woodlots. The genetic structure of the wood frog population was then analyzed using Randomly Amplified DNA markers (RAPD).
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