Amphibian Nitrate Stress as an Additional Terrestrial Threat from Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Events?


Astrobiology. July 2008, ahead of print pgs. 1-3.

http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/ast.2007.0262

Various astrophysical events have been suggested as sources of ionizing radiation that, by way of destruction of the ozone layer and the subsequent increase in UVB and deposition of nitrate, could pose a threat to life on Earth. We have investigated whether the nitrate deposition that follows an ionizing event is sufficient to cause an additional stress beyond that of the heightened UVB previously considered. Our results show that, subsequent to the most intense ionization event likely to have occurred in the last billion years, the increase in nitrate concentration in bodies of water would not be sufficient to cause serious additional stress on amphibian populations and may actually provide some benefit by acting as fertilizer. Astrobiology 8, xxx-xxx.

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