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Impact of ammonium nitrate on Wood Frog (Rana sylvatic) tadpoles: Effects on survivorship and behavior.

Author(s): Amber A. Burgett | Christian D. Wright | Geoffrey R. Smith | Doran T. Fortune | Samuel J. Johnson

Journal: Herpetological Conservation and Biology
ISSN 1931-7603

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: activity | ammonium nitrate | behavior | Gambusia affinis | Mosquitofish | Rana sylvatica | toxicology | Wood Frog

Nitrogenous based fertilizers, such as ammonium nitrate, are commonly used in agriculture, entering aquaticecosystems through runoff. Ammonium nitrate has been shown to affect the survivorship and behavior of anurans. Weconducted an experiment to examine the potential toxic effects of ammonium nitrate on Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) tadpoles.We also examined whether ammonium nitrate might interact with predator cues to affect tadpole behavior. Ammonium nitrate decreased survivorship of Wood Frog tadpoles (> 50 mg L-1 NH4NO3). Activity level of Wood Frog tadpoles decreased when exposed to ammonium nitrate, as well as in the presence of predator (Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis) chemical cues. Our results suggest that ammonium nitrate can have significant effects on anuran larvae, both through direct toxicological effects on survivorship, but also through behavioral effects.

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