Short- and long-term consequences of developmental saline stress: Impacts on anuran respiration and behaviour

Brian Kearney, Phillip Byrne, Richard Reina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Secondary salinization has been identified as a major stressor to amphibians. Exposure to elevated salinity necessitates physiological adjustments and biochemical changes that may be energetically demanding. As such, exposure to non-lethal levels of salinity during development could potentially alter anuran metabolic rates and individual performance in both preand post-metamorphic life stages. We investigated the effects of non-lethal levels of salinity on metamorphic traits (time to reach metamorphosis and metamorphic mass), tadpole oxygen consumption, escape response behaviour (preand post-metamorphosis) and foraging ability post-metamorphosis in two native Australian frog species, the southern brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii) and the striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii). We found that both Lit. ewingii and Lim. peronii exhibited differences in metamorphic traits in response to elevated salinity. Neither species showed significant change in oxygen consumption during development in response to salinity, relative to freshwater controls. Both species displayed impaired escape response behaviours in response to salinity during larval development, but flow-on effects to adult escape response behaviours and foraging performance were speciesspecific. Our results show that the influence of stressors during development can have consequences for anuran physiology and behaviour at multiple life stages, and emphasize the need for studies that examine the energetics of anuran responses in order to better understand the responses of biota to stressful environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150640
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2016


  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Escape response
  • Foraging behaviour
  • Limnodynastes peronii
  • Litoria ewingii
  • Metabolism

Cite this