Proximity to agriculture is correlated with pesticide tolerance: evidence for the evolution of amphibian resistance to modern pesticides
Article first published online: 30 APR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 6, Issue 5, pages 832–841, July 2013
How to Cite
Cothran, R. D., Brown, J. M. and Relyea, R. A. (2013), Proximity to agriculture is correlated with pesticide tolerance: evidence for the evolution of amphibian resistance to modern pesticides. Evolutionary Applications, 6: 832–841. doi: 10.1111/eva.12069
- Issue published online: 17 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Received: 25 OCT 2012
- life history evolution
Anthropogenic environmental change is a powerful and ubiquitous evolutionary force, so it is critical that we determine the extent to which organisms can evolve in response to anthropogenic environmental change and whether these evolutionary responses have associated costs. This issue is particularly relevant for species of conservation concern including many amphibians, which are experiencing global declines from many causes including widespread exposure to agrochemicals. We used a laboratory toxicity experiment to assess variation in sensitivity to two pesticides among wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) populations and a mesocosm experiment to ascertain whether resistance to pesticides is associated with decreased performance when animals experience competition and fear of predation. We discovered that wood frog populations closer to agriculture were more resistant to a common insecticide (chlorpyrifos), but not to a common herbicide (Roundup). We also found no evidence that this resistance carried a performance cost when facing competition and the fear of predation. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating that organophosphate insecticide (the most commonly applied class of insecticides in the world) resistance increases with agricultural land use in an amphibian, which is consistent with an evolutionary response to agrochemicals.