SUB-LETHAL EFFECTS OF ROUNDUP ON TADPOLE DEVELOPMENT AND PREDATOR AVOIDANCE
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Roundup is a commonly used pesticide applied to agriculture and forest habitats. In Canada and parts of the North Eastern United States, these areas are generally optimal for amphibians due to the presence of small, ephemeral water bodies. While Roundup has been shown to have no adverse effects on a number of species, amphibians are one of the few groups who show high sensitivity to Roundup. My research aims to determine how an acute sub-lethal dose of Roundup affects several different facets of larvae development in wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). In Chapter 2 I examined the effect of Roundup on amphibian development. Groups of tadpoles were treated with Roundup (0.5 mg a.e./L) for four days at three different times in their development (Gosner stage 26, 31-32 and 37-38), while a control group was maintained in similar conditions without Roundup. Pictures were taken every four days until tadpoles reached metamorphosis. Changes in development, body area or length were assessed, along with metamorphic endpoints, such as timing of metamorphosis and weight. Although there was no differential effect of Roundup on tadpole growth or weight, there was a slight, non-ecologically relevant, delay in development in tadpoles treated with Roundup at stage 26. The delay was not detectable in the second half of the experiment, indicating that compensatory mechanisms allowed those individuals to recover. Neither time to metamorphosis or weight at metamorphosis were affected by an environmentally relevant exposure to Roundup. In Chapter 3 I focused on the effect of Roundup on crucial behaviours related to the ability of larval amphibians to detect and avoid predation threats. I demonstrated that being exposed to Roundup for one hour eliminated the response of larval wood frogs to cues from injured conspecifics (i.e. cues known to elicit dramatic anti-predator responses in a wide variety of aquatic species). Tadpoles that were maintained in clean water and exposed to a combination of injured conspecific cues and Roundup, did not exhibit a decrease in movement, when compared to control tadpoles. This result indicates that Roundup deactivates the alarm function of the injured conspecific cues. However, it is possible that both the cues and the animal would be affected by Roundup. In Chapter 3 I also demonstrated that tadpoles that were exposed to Roundup as embryos had reduced basal movement rates. The results of this thesis illustrate that an environmentally relevant concentration of Roundup (0.5 mg a.e./L), does not negatively affect the development of tadpoles. The studies outlined in this thesis suggest that at this exposure concentration, behaviour acts as a more sensitive endpoint, than more traditional morphologic endpoints.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentVeterinary Biomedical Sciences
ProgramVeterinary Biomedical Sciences
SupervisorFerrari, Maud C.; Chivers, Doug P.
CommitteeHogan, Natacha S.; Wickstrom, Mark L.; Hecker, Markus
Copyright DateJanuary 2014
Eco-toxicology, Behavior, Roundup, Development, Wood Frog