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Density effects on ammonium nitrate toxicity on amphibians. Survival, growth and cannibalism

AuthorsOrtiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; Fernández-Benéitez, María José; Marco, Adolfo
Issue Date2012
CitationAquatic Toxicology 110-111: 170-176 (2012)
AbstractTemporary ponds where many amphibians breed experience a gradual desiccation that leads to growing larval densities, which can reduce tadpole survival rates and increase cannibalistic interactions among carnivorous salamander larvae. Concentrations of many agrochemicals, including nitrogenous fertilizers, can also increase as the water volume decreases. We analyzed the effects of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at two larval densities on growth and survival of Rana dalmatina tadpoles, and on cannibalistic behaviors of Salamandra salamandra larvae. We observed synergistic lethal effects until day 17 of exposure, when ammonium nitrate-related mortality of tadpoles was five times greater at high than at low density. The fertilizer impaired tadpole growth. This effect was stronger at low density than at high density. In the absence of ammonium nitrate, the incidence of cannibalism was higher at high than at low larval density. However, fertilizer exposure removed this density-dependent effect, which, under field conditions, would negate some potentially advantageous effects of cannibalism such as reduced intraspecific competition and the stimulation of defensive behaviors.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.01.010
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.01.010
issn: 0166-445X
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(IREC) Artículos
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