SREL Reprint #2239




Elevated Maintenance Costs in an Anuran (Rana catesbeiana) Exposed to a Mixture of Trace Elements during the Embryonic and Early Larval Periods

Christopher L. Rowe
Owen M. Kinney
Roy D. Nagle
Justin D. Congdon

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina 29802



We investigated the relationship between maintenance costs (standard metabolic rates, measured as 0, consumption at rest) in tadpoles of the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, and exposure to contaminants in a coal ash-polluted habitat (characterized by a variety of trace elements). We compared metabolic rates of tadpoles collected from the polluted site with those from an unpolluted reference pond. Tadpoles collected in the polluted site had 40%-97% higher standard metabolic rates than those collected from the reference pond. We also reciprocally transplanted eggs of the bullfrog between the polluted site and another reference pond and compared standard metabolic rates of tadpoles at 25 and 80 d posthatching. Metabolic rates of tadpoles raised in the polluted site were from 39% to 175% higher than those raised in a reference pond, depending on tadpole age and temperature at which metabolic rates were measured. There were no effects of site of origin of the eggs (polluted or unpolluted) on metabolic rates. Survival to hatching did not differ between sites, although survival to the end of the experiment (80 d posthatching) was lower in the polluted area than in the reference site. Surviving tadpoles were larger in wet body mass in the polluted site than in the reference pond, possibly due to lower survival in the former, but there was no relationship between survival and metabolic rate. It is clear that some feature of the polluted habitat was responsible for causing substantial elevation of standard metabolic rates of tadpoles. We hypothesize that the mixture of trace elements present in sediment and water in the polluted site was responsible for the observed physiological differences.

SREL Reprint #2239

Rowe, C.L., O.M. Kinney, R.D. Nagel, and J.D. Congdon. 1998. Elevated maintenance costs in an anuran (Rana catesbeiana) exposed to a mixture of trace elements during the embryonic and early larval periods. Physiological Zoology 71:27-35.

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