Short- and long-term consequences of thermal variation in the larval environment of anurans

Niehaus, A. C., Wilson, R. S. and Franklin, C. E. (2006) Short- and long-term consequences of thermal variation in the larval environment of anurans. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75 3: 686-692. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2006.01089.x

Author Niehaus, A. C.
Wilson, R. S.
Franklin, C. E.
Title Short- and long-term consequences of thermal variation in the larval environment of anurans
Journal name Journal of Animal Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8790
Publication date 2006-01-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2006.01089.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 75
Issue 3
Start page 686
End page 692
Total pages 7
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject C1
270700 Ecology and Evolution
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract To survive adverse or unpredictable conditions in the ontogenetic environment, many organisms retain a level of phenotypic plasticity that allows them to meet the challenges of rapidly changing conditions. Larval anurans are widely known for their ability to modify behaviour, morphology and physiological processes during development, making them an ideal model system for studies of environmental effects on phenotypic traits. Although temperature is one of the most important factors influencing the growth, development and metamorphic condition of larval anurans, many studies have failed to include ecologically relevant thermal fluctuations among their treatments. We compared the growth and age at metamorphosis of striped marsh frogs Limnodynastes peronii raised in a diurnally fluctuating thermal regime and a stable regime of the same mean temperature. We then assessed the long-term effects of the larval environment on the morphology and performance of post-metamorphic frogs. Larval L. peronii from the fluctuating treatment were significantly longer throughout development and metamorphosed about 5 days earlier. Frogs from the fluctuating group metamorphosed at a smaller mass and in poorer condition compared with the stable group, and had proportionally shorter legs. Frogs from the fluctuating group showed greater jumping performance at metamorphosis and less degradation in performance during a 10-week dormancy. Treatment differences in performance could not be explained by whole-animal morphological variation, suggesting improved contractile properties of the muscles in the fluctuating group.
Keyword Ecology
Adaptive Phenotypic Plasticity
Frog Limnodynastes-peronii
Jumping Performance
Fluctuating Temperatures
Developmental Plasticity
Locomotor Performance
Modeling Development
Spadefoot Toads
Growth History
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 19:13:32 EST