John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Assessment of interactive effects of elevated salinity and three pesticides on life history and behavior of southern toad (Anaxyrus terrestris) tadpoles

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Because habitats are increasingly exposed to multiple stressors simultaneously, assessing the interactive effects of stressors is crucial for understanding how populations respond to human‐altered habitats. Salinization of freshwater habitats is increasing and has the potential to interact with other stressors. Chemical pollutants also contribute to habitat degradation in freshwater environments, and both salinity and various pesticides can harm amphibians. The present study used a factorial experiment to investigate the effect of elevated salinity alone and in combination with each of three pesticides – atrazine, carbaryl, and glyphosate – on life history and behavior of southern toad larvae (Anaxyrus terrestris). Tadpoles were negatively affected by elevated salinity and by exposure to the insecticide carbaryl, with the most deleterious outcomes associated with both stressors combined. Carbaryl exposure led to reduced survival as well as sublethal effects on growth, activity and feeding behavior, escape response swimming, and time to metamorphosis. Tadpoles reared at elevated salinity were also smaller and less active, and ultimately metamorphosed later and at smaller size. Together, carbaryl and elevated salinity had a synergistic effect, resulting in particularly poor growth, depressed activity and feeding, and sluggish escape swimming among tadpoles exposed to both stressors simultaneously. These results suggest that both elevated salinity and carbaryl represent threats for amphibian populations and that pesticide exposure in salinized habitats may pose a particularly high risk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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