Behavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporaria

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/600715
Title:
Behavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporaria
Authors:
Muir, Anna P. ( 0000-0002-6896-6915 ) ; Biek, Roman; Mable, Barbara K.
Abstract:
Background: Extreme environments can impose strong ecological and evolutionary pressures at a local level. Ectotherms are particularly sensitive to low-temperature environments, which can result in a reduced activity period, slowed physiological processes and increased exposure to sub-zero temperatures. The aim of this study was to assess the behavioural and physiological responses that facilitate survival in low-temperature environments. In particular, we asked: 1) do high-altitude common frog (Rana temporaria) adults extend the time available for larval growth by breeding at lower temperatures than low-altitude individuals?; and 2) do tadpoles sampled from high-altitude sites differ physiologically from those from low-altitude sites, in terms of routine metabolic rate (RMR) and freeze tolerance? Breeding date was assessed as the first day of spawn observation and local temperature recorded for five, paired high- and low-altitude R. temporaria breeding sites in Scotland. Spawn was collected and tadpoles raised in a common laboratory environment, where RMR was measured as oxygen consumed using a closed respiratory tube system. Freeze tolerance was measured as survival following slow cooling to the point when all container water had frozen. Results: We found that breeding did not occur below 5°C at any site and there was no significant relationship between breeding temperature and altitude, leading to a delay in spawning of five days for every 100 m increase in altitude. The relationship between altitude and RMR varied by mountain but was lower for individuals sampled from high- than low-altitude sites within the three mountains with the highest high-altitude sites (≥900 m). In contrast, individuals sampled from low-altitudes survived freezing significantly better than those from high-altitudes, across all mountains. Conclusions: Our results suggest that adults at high-altitude do not show behavioural adaptations in terms of breeding at lower temperatures. However, tadpoles appear to have the potential to adapt physiologically to surviving at high-altitude via reduced RMR but without an increase in freeze tolerance. Therefore, survival at high-altitude may be facilitated by physiological mechanisms that permit faster growth rates, allowing completion of larval development within a shorter time period, alleviating the need for adaptations that extend the time available for larval growth.
Affiliation:
University of Chester; University of Glasgow
Citation:
Muir, A. P., Biek, R. & Mable, B. K. (2014). Behavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporaria. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14, 110. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-14-110
Publisher:
BioMed Central
Journal:
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Publication Date:
23-May-2014
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/600715
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2148-14-110
Additional Links:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=4037278&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186%2F1471-2148-14-110
Type:
Article
Language:
en
EISSN:
1471-2148
Sponsors:
Fieldwork was supported by grants from the Royal Geographic Society, the Glasgow Natural History Society and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust. This study was supported by PhD CASE studentship funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Appears in Collections:
Biological Sciences

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorMuir, Anna P.en
dc.contributor.authorBiek, Romanen
dc.contributor.authorMable, Barbara K.en
dc.date.accessioned2016-03-07T12:34:12Zen
dc.date.available2016-03-07T12:34:12Zen
dc.date.issued2014-05-23en
dc.identifier.citationMuir, A. P., Biek, R. & Mable, B. K. (2014). Behavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporaria. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14, 110. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-14-110en
dc.identifier.doi10.1186/1471-2148-14-110en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10034/600715en
dc.description.abstractBackground: Extreme environments can impose strong ecological and evolutionary pressures at a local level. Ectotherms are particularly sensitive to low-temperature environments, which can result in a reduced activity period, slowed physiological processes and increased exposure to sub-zero temperatures. The aim of this study was to assess the behavioural and physiological responses that facilitate survival in low-temperature environments. In particular, we asked: 1) do high-altitude common frog (Rana temporaria) adults extend the time available for larval growth by breeding at lower temperatures than low-altitude individuals?; and 2) do tadpoles sampled from high-altitude sites differ physiologically from those from low-altitude sites, in terms of routine metabolic rate (RMR) and freeze tolerance? Breeding date was assessed as the first day of spawn observation and local temperature recorded for five, paired high- and low-altitude R. temporaria breeding sites in Scotland. Spawn was collected and tadpoles raised in a common laboratory environment, where RMR was measured as oxygen consumed using a closed respiratory tube system. Freeze tolerance was measured as survival following slow cooling to the point when all container water had frozen. Results: We found that breeding did not occur below 5°C at any site and there was no significant relationship between breeding temperature and altitude, leading to a delay in spawning of five days for every 100 m increase in altitude. The relationship between altitude and RMR varied by mountain but was lower for individuals sampled from high- than low-altitude sites within the three mountains with the highest high-altitude sites (≥900 m). In contrast, individuals sampled from low-altitudes survived freezing significantly better than those from high-altitudes, across all mountains. Conclusions: Our results suggest that adults at high-altitude do not show behavioural adaptations in terms of breeding at lower temperatures. However, tadpoles appear to have the potential to adapt physiologically to surviving at high-altitude via reduced RMR but without an increase in freeze tolerance. Therefore, survival at high-altitude may be facilitated by physiological mechanisms that permit faster growth rates, allowing completion of larval development within a shorter time period, alleviating the need for adaptations that extend the time available for larval growth.en
dc.description.sponsorshipFieldwork was supported by grants from the Royal Geographic Society, the Glasgow Natural History Society and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust. This study was supported by PhD CASE studentship funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotlanden
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherBioMed Centralen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=4037278&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstracten
dc.relation.urlhttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1186%2F1471-2148-14-110en
dc.subjectevolutionary biologyen
dc.subjectphysiologyen
dc.subjectbehaviouren
dc.subjectpopulation geneticsen
dc.titleBehavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporariaen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.eissn1471-2148en
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Chester; University of Glasgowen
dc.identifier.journalBMC Evolutionary Biologyen
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