Publication Details

Kearney, B. D., Byrne, P. G. & Reina, R. D. (2016). Short- and long- term consequences of developmental saline stress: impacts on anuran respiration and behaviour. Royal Society Open Science, 3 (2), 150640-1-150640-10.


Secondary salinization has been identified as a major stressor to amphibians. Exposure to elevated salinity necessitates physiological adjustments and biochemical changes that may be energetically demanding. As such, exposure to non-lethal levels of salinity during development could potentially alter anuran metabolic rates and individual performance in both pre- and post-metamorphic life stages. We investigated the effects of non-lethal levels of salinity on metamorphic traits (time to reach metamorphosis and metamorphic mass), tadpole oxygen consumption, escape response behaviour (pre- and post-metamorphosis) and foraging ability post-metamorphosis in two native Australian frog species, the southern brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii) and the striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii). We found that both Lit. ewingii and Lim. peronii exhibited differences in metamorphic traits in response to elevated salinity. Neither species showed significant change in oxygen consumption during development in response to salinity, relative to freshwater controls. Both species displayed impaired escape response behaviours in response to salinity during larval development, but flow-on effects to adult escape response behaviours and foraging performance were species-specific. Our results show that the influence of stressors during development can have consequences for anuran physiology and behaviour at multiple life stages, and emphasize the need for studies that examine the energetics of anuran responses in order to better understand the responses of biota to stressful environments.



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