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Wednesday, April 22 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Consequences of terrestrial egg laying in amphibians: a comparison of embryonic oxygen sensitivity in two Ambystomatid salamanders

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Many amphibians lay their eggs in seasonal ponds. To avoid the threat of suffocation and intense resource competition that is typical of these ephemeral ponds, the ability to quickly grow and metamorphose is of paramount importance. Typically, low dissolved oxygen presents an unfavorable condition to larvae, prolonging time until general metamorphic size is reached. Therefore, they may respond by either taking longer to metamorphose, yet reaching a favorable size, or by metamorphosing smaller, but leaving the highly competitive pond environment sooner. We studied Ambystoma maculatum, who like most Ambystomatids, lays its eggs aquatically. We also studied Ambystoma opacum, who lays its eggs terrestrially under moist soil. We examined embryonic development of these two species under laboratory conditions, comparing growth, development, and hatching success under a range of dissolved oxygen concentrations as well as in a moist, terrestrial environment. Because A. maculatum is used to developing in aquatic environments with lower dissolved oxygen than the terrestrial habitats of A. opacum, we hypothesized that their embryos and larvae will develop faster and/or be larger at metamorphosis, particularly in lower oxygen environments. Our study concluded that while A. maculatum did develop faster in all treatments, the difference between species was greatest in higher oxygen treatments, instead of the predicted lower treatments. Treatment differences showed no significant effect on mass except in A. maculatum (2013) where larvae in low oxygen treatment were significantly larger than those in higher oxygen treatments. 

Wednesday April 22, 2015 8:40am - 9:00am PDT
014 Zeis Hall

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