So far, most studies on tardigrade resistance to extreme stresses have focused on their responses to several chemical and physical extremes, but there is still a paucity of data regarding the tardigrade responses to ultraviolet radiation. Considering also the future perspectives offered by space flights, we compared the biological responses of two eutardigrade species (Paramacrobiotus richtersi and Ramazzottius oberhaeuseri) to UV irradiation, alone or in combination with multiple stressors (temperature and air relative humidity) in two different physiological conditions (desiccated and hydrated states). Tardigrades were exposed to seven different UV doses (from 10.32 up to 87.72 kJ m-2) in a controlled climatic chamber. The results showed that active and anhydrobiotic tardigrades were able to withstand high doses of ultraviolet radiations. The survival rate of hydrated or desiccated specimens of both species was inversely related to the UV doses, with P. richtersi that better tolerated the increase of UV dose than R. oberhaeuseri. Surprising, the tolerance to physical and chemical extreme stresses is not an exclusive property of desiccated tardigrades; in certain environmental conditions (high air humidity level or low temperature) desiccated tardigrades have a lower or similar withstanding to UV irradiation than hydrated ones. This represents a further demonstration of the uniqueness of this animal group in tolerating extreme stresses. In addition, we demonstrated that high temperatures have a strong impact on tardigrade survival during UV exposition both in hydrated and desiccated animals.
Ultraviolet radiation tolerance in hydrated and desiccated eutardigrades / Altiero, Tiziana; Guidetti, Roberto; V., Caselli; Cesari, Michele; Rebecchi, Lorena. - In: JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH. - ISSN 0947-5745. - STAMPA. - 49:(2011), pp. 104-110. [10.1111/j.1439-0469.2010.00607.x]