Publication Details

Courtney Jones, S. K., Munn, A. J., Penman, T. D. & Byrne, P. G. (2015). Long-term changes in food availability mediate the effects of temperature on growth, development and survival in striped marsh frog larvae: implications for captive breeding programmes. Conservation Physiology, 3 (1), cov029.


Food availability and temperature are known to trigger phenotypic change, but the interactive effects between these factors are only beginning to be considered. The aim of this study was to examine the independent and interactive effects of long-term stochastic food availability and water temperature on larval survivorship, growth and development of the striped marsh frog, Limnodynastes peronii. Larval L. peronii were reared in conditions of either constant or stochastic food availability and in water at three different temperatures (18, 22 and 26°C), and effects on survival, growth and development were quantified. Over the experimental period, larval growth rate was highest and survivorship lowest at the warmest temperature. However, changes in food availability mediated the effects of temperature, with slower larval growth and higher survivorship in stochastic food availability treatments. Tadpoles in the stochastic food availability treatments did not reach metamorphosis during the experimental period, suggesting that developmental stasis may have been induced by food restriction. Overall, these results demonstrate that changes in food availability alter the effects of water temperature on survival, growth and development. From an applied perspective, understanding how environmental factors interact to cause phenotypic change may assist with amphibian conservation by improving the number of tadpoles generated in captive breeding programmes.

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