John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Lethal and sublethal measures of chronic copper toxicity in the eastern narrowmouth toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis

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Many metals are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms at high concentrations and for some metals, such as copper (Cu), even low‐level chronic contamination may be cause for conservation concern. Amphibian susceptibility to Cu has been examined in only a few species and susceptibility is highly variable. We examined the lethal and sublethal effects of chronic aqueous Cu exposure on embryonic and larval eastern narrowmouth toads, Gastrophryne carolinensis. Copper levels as low as 10 μg Cu/L reduced embryonic and larval survival. Embryonic survivorship varied within‐ and between‐source populations, with embryos derived from uncontaminated‐wetland parents having greater survival at lower Cu levels than embryos from parents from a metal‐contaminated constructed wetland. At 30 μg/L embryos from the contaminated site had greater survival. Overall survival from oviposition to metamorphosis was 68.9% at 0 μg/L and 5.4% at 10 μg/L. Similarly, embryos exposed to ≥50 μg/L demonstrated developmental delays in transition from embryo to free‐swimming larva. These results demonstrate a negative population‐specific response to environmentally relevant levels of Cu. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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