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Microgeographic variation in the effects of larval temperature environment on juvenile morphology and locomotion in the pool frog

Authors

  • G. Orizaola,

    1. Population and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • A. Laurila

    1. Population and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Editor: Tim Halliday

Correspondence
Germán Orizaola, Population and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE 75236 Uppsala, Sweden. Tel: +46 18 4712938; Fax: +46 18 4716424
Email: german.orizaola@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

In animals with complex life cycles, the environment experienced early during the development may have strong effects on later performance and fitness. We investigated the intraspecific variation in the effects of larval temperature environment on the morphology and locomotory performance of juvenile pool frogs Rana lessonae originating from three closely located populations of the northern fringe metapopulation in central Sweden. Tadpoles were raised individually at two temperatures (20 and 25 °C) until metamorphosis. We measured the morphology of the metamorphs and tested the jumping performance of the froglets after complete tail absorption. We found that early temperature environment affected juvenile morphology, metamorphs from high-temperature environments having relatively longer hindlimbs (tibiofibulas) and longer tails when weight at metamorphosis was accounted for. In absolute terms, froglets from low temperature jumped significantly longer; however, after correcting for size differences the relationship was reversed, individuals raised at high temperature performing better. In both temperatures, relative jumping performance was positively associated with tibiofibula and body length. Populations differed both in metamorphic traits and in jumping capacity, especially at low temperature, suggesting microgeographical variation in temperature sensitivity within the metapopulation. Our results indicate that the temperature environment experienced during the early aquatic stages can influence the morphology and performance of juvenile frogs, and that these effects can be population specific.

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