Seasonal and plant specific vulnerability of amphibian tadpoles to the invasion of a novel cyanobacteria

John C. Maerz, Susan B. Wilde, Vanessa K. Terrell, Brigette Haram, R. Clay Trimmer, Chelsea Nunez, Erin Cork, Allan Pessier, Sue Lannoo, Michael Lannoo, Sara L. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aetokthonos hydrillicola (Ah) is a newly described cyanobacteria that forms dense colonies on aquatic macrophytes, primarily invasive Hydrilla verticillata, and is associated with mortality of freshwater wildlife. Prior research shows that Ah growing on Hydrilla is potently toxic to waterbirds, turtles, and fish, suggesting potentially broad sensitivity among vertebrates. We tested whether amphibian tadpole species were affected by ingestion of Ah-positive Hydrilla, and whether season, host plant, or tadpole age/size affected tadpole vulnerability. For trials involving ranid tadpoles (Bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana; Green frogs, R. clamitans; and Southern leopard frogs, R. sphenocephala), feeding on Ah-positive Hydrilla collected during October–November resulted in the development of lesions within brain tissue and significant mortality. Ranid tadpole sensitivity to Ah toxin did not vary with age or size, but vulnerability from ingestion of Ah-positive Hydrilla varied seasonally and between two syntopic host plants. An unexpected result of our study was the apparent insensitivity of Green treefrog tadpoles (Hyla cinerea) fed toxic, Ah-positive Hydrilla. In conjunction with other studies, our results confirm wide but variable sensitivity among major vertebrate lineages to the Ah toxin. Differential sensitivity among species means that the introduction of Ah could alter interactions and structure within aquatic communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiological Invasions
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Hydrilla
tadpoles
frog
amphibian
toxin
host plant
amphibians
Cyanobacteria
cyanobacterium
vulnerability
vertebrate
mortality
aquatic community
turtle
lesion
brain
frogs
toxins
host plants
fish

Keywords

  • Aetokthonos hydrillicola
  • Amphibian tadpole
  • Biological invasions
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Hydrilla verticillata
  • Najas guadalupensis
  • Vacuolar myelinopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Maerz, J. C., Wilde, S. B., Terrell, V. K., Haram, B., Trimmer, R. C., Nunez, C., ... Diamond, S. L. (Accepted/In press). Seasonal and plant specific vulnerability of amphibian tadpoles to the invasion of a novel cyanobacteria. Biological Invasions. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1861-6

Seasonal and plant specific vulnerability of amphibian tadpoles to the invasion of a novel cyanobacteria. / Maerz, John C.; Wilde, Susan B.; Terrell, Vanessa K.; Haram, Brigette; Trimmer, R. Clay; Nunez, Chelsea; Cork, Erin; Pessier, Allan; Lannoo, Sue; Lannoo, Michael; Diamond, Sara L.

In: Biological Invasions, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Maerz, JC, Wilde, SB, Terrell, VK, Haram, B, Trimmer, RC, Nunez, C, Cork, E, Pessier, A, Lannoo, S, Lannoo, M & Diamond, SL 2018, 'Seasonal and plant specific vulnerability of amphibian tadpoles to the invasion of a novel cyanobacteria', Biological Invasions. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1861-6
Maerz, John C. ; Wilde, Susan B. ; Terrell, Vanessa K. ; Haram, Brigette ; Trimmer, R. Clay ; Nunez, Chelsea ; Cork, Erin ; Pessier, Allan ; Lannoo, Sue ; Lannoo, Michael ; Diamond, Sara L. / Seasonal and plant specific vulnerability of amphibian tadpoles to the invasion of a novel cyanobacteria. In: Biological Invasions. 2018.
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