Effects of chronic aluminum and copper exposure on growth and development of wood frog (Rana sylvatica) larvae

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Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) were exposed to aluminum (Al; 10, 100, 500, 1000, or 2000μgL-1) or copper (Cu; 1, 10, 50, 100, 200μgL-1) at a pH of 4.70 from the beginning of the larval period through the completion of metamorphosis (range=43-102 days). Observations on mortality, malformation, time to reach specific developmental stages, body mass at these stages, and metamorphic success were made throughout the larval developmental period. Only one case of malformation was observed and mortality was ≤10% at all concentrations except the highest Cu concentration where the rate was 33%. All larvae that survived the experiment successfully completed metamorphosis, but significant effects on growth and development occurred for both metals and these were most prominent for Cu. At the highest Al concentration (2000μgL-1), body mass of larvae was significantly lower (reduced by 17% compared to the control) at 20 days post hatching (DPH) and the time to reach the hind-limb (HL), front-limb (FL), and tail resorption (TR) stages was significantly increased (9-10 days longer than the control). Body mass of larvae exposed to the three highest concentrations of Cu (50, 100, 200μgL-1) was reduced by 30-34% at 20 DPH. Exposure to these concentrations also resulted in increased time to reach the HL, FL, and TR stages with larvae in the highest concentration taking 21-29 days longer to reach these stages. Larvae exposed to 10μgL-1 Cu also took longer to reach the FL and TR stages of development, and exposure to all Cu concentrations increased tail resorption time by more than two days compared to the control. Although the only observed effects of Al were for a concentration that is probably not ecologically relevant, results demonstrate that environmentally-realistic levels of Cu may have significant biological effects that could influence individual fitness and population-level processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalAquatic Toxicology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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