Environmental stress increases skeletal fluctuating asymmetry in the moor frog Rana arvalis
2007 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 151, no 4, 593-604 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Whether fluctuating asymmetry (FA) provides a useful metric indicator of the degree of environmental stress experienced by populations is still a contentious issue. We investigated whether the degree of FA in skeletal elements is useful in elucidating the degree of environmental stress experienced by frog populations, and further, tested the proposition that a trait’s sensitivity to stress—as reflected in the degree of FA—is related to the degree of directional selection experienced by the given trait. We compared the degree of FA in four bilateral skeletal elements of male and female moor frogs (Rana arvalis) originating from low (acidified) and neutral pH populations. While the degree of uncorrected FA was unrelated to the degree of acidity, the growth rate and age of the individuals, the size-corrected FA was significantly higher in low than in neutral pH populations and decreased with individual ages and growth rates. In addition, both measures of FA were significantly higher in males and in particular in traits presumably under high sexual selection as indicated by the degree of sexual size dimorphism. All in all, the results indicate that individuals from acidified localities are smaller, younger and exhibit a significantly higher degree of FA than individuals from neutral pH populations. These results constitute the first assessment of FA in amphibians and suggest that the degree of FA in skeletal traits can be a useful indicator of the degree of environmental stress experienced by amphibian populations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 151, no 4, 593-604 p.
Amphibians, Acidification, Developmental stability, FA, Environmental stress
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-94394DOI: 10.1007/s00442-006-0611-0ISI: 000246261800004PubMedID: 17136394OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-94394DiVA: diva2:168227