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(211) Effects of coal combustion wastes on survival and development of larval anurans.
Hopkins, William*,1, Snodgrass, Joel2, Broughton, J2, Gwinn, D2, Baionno, Jennifer1, Burger, Joanna3, 1 University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC, USA2 Towson University, Baltimore, MD, USA3 CRESP Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA
ABSTRACT- In recent years, numerous studies have documented the deleterious effects of aquatic disposal of coal combustion byproducts (ash) on wildlife. Field studies indicate that amphibians are particularly vulnerable to ash-exposure, but no studies to date have examined the effects of ash on larval amphibian development under controlled laboratory conditions. Thus, we exposed green frog (Rana clamitans) larvae to either clean sand or coal ash to investigate the direct effects of ash exposure on growth, developmental rate, and survival of larvae. Exposure to ash significantly decreased larval size at specific developmental stages and significantly increased the time required to reach specific developmental stages. Moreover, exposure to ash increased the proportion of larvae dying or failing to complete metamorphosis before the end of the experiment (at day 195). Seventy-three percent of the control larvae completed metamorphosis before the end of the experiment, while only 29 % of the ash-exposed larvae completed metamorphosis. Ash-exposed individuals that survived had body burdens of trace elements (e.g., Se and As) that were up to an order of magnitude higher than concentrations in controls. Our results support previous field studies that suggest amphibians breeding in ash disposal systems exhibit reduced reproductive success.
Key words: amphibians, selenium, coal ash, sublethal effects
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