Invasive Chinese Tallow Reduces Hatching of Frog Eggs
Chinese tallow is an aggressive invasive tree species that can be abundant in parts of its nonnative range. This tree species has the capability of producing monocultures by outcompeting native trees, which can be in or near wetlands that are used by breeding amphibians. Existing research suggests that leaf litter from invasive Chinese tallow reduces survival in larval anurans including the southern leopard frog.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Chinese tallow leaf litter on anuran eggs. The scientists exposed eggs of the southern leopard frog, at various stages of development, to different concentrations of Chinese tallow leaf litter to determine survival. Eggs in the earliest stages of development that were exposed to tallow leaf litter died, regardless of concentration; however, some more developed eggs exposed to tallow leaf litter did hatch.
The scientists determined that the greater the concentration of tallow leaf litter, the lower the dissolved oxygen and pH levels were observed. The results suggest that changes in these water-quality parameters are the cause of the observed mortality of anuran eggs in these experiments. Eggs exposed to water containing tallow leaf litter, with dissolved oxygen levels of less than 1.59 miligrams per liter and a pH level less than 5.29, did not survive to hatching.
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