John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effects of copper exposure on hatching success and early larval survival in marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum

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The creation of wetlands, such as urban and industrial ponds, has increased in recent decades, and these wetlands often become enriched in pollutants over time. One metal contaminant trapped in created wetlands is copper (Cu2+). Copper concentrations in sediments and overlying water may affect amphibian species that breed in created wetlands. We analyzed the Cu concentration in dried sediments from a contaminated wetland and the levels of aqueous Cu released after flooding the sediments with different volumes of water, mimicking low, medium, and high pond‐filling events. We exposed eggs and larvae of Ambystoma opacum Gravenhorst, a salamander that lays eggs on the sediments in dry pond beds that hatch upon pond‐filling, to a range of Cu concentrations that bracketed potential aqueous Cu levels in created wetlands. Embryo survival varied among clutches, but increased Cu levels did not affect embryo survival. However, at Cu concentrations ≥500 µg/L, embryos hatched earlier, and the aquatic larvae died shortly after hatching. As Cu concentrations in sediments increase over time in created wetlands even relatively tolerant species like A. opacum may be affected by Cu levels in the post‐hatching environment. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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