State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2009KY126B
Title: Effects of Roundup® exposure on behavior and reproductive function in a pond-breeding salamander
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: Kentucky 1st
Focus Categories: Surface Water, Toxic Substances, Ecology
Keywords: freshwater ecology, amphibians, endocrine disruptors, reproductive physiology
Principal Investigator: Whiteman, Howard H.
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 12,523
Abstract: Trials will be conducted to determine whether Roundup® exposure affects hormone levels, gamete production, reproductive behavior, and feeding response in adult, terrestrial mole salamanders. Exposed and unexposed males will be compared in terms of both sperm count and motility and female mate choice. Effects of exposure on foraging behavior will be analyzed for males and females. Salamanders will be obtained during breeding season from natural populations in Calloway and Trigg Counties, KY. Specimens will be maintained in individual containers in an environmental chamber (4-10°C) for 24-48 hours prior to the trials. Basic measurements and reproductive status will be recorded. Salamanders will be randomly assigned to a control group or to one of the following experimental treatment groups (mg active ingredient/L well water): Low 0.05mg/L, Medium 0.5mg/L, High 5.0mg/L. Treatment animals will be individually submersed in solution for 72 hours, and control specimens will be moved to a separate container with well water for an equivalent duration. Videotaped behavioral observations will be used to document female mate choice and foraging activity of males and females.

Steroid hormone analysis will be conducted on samples from both unexposed and exposed salamanders. Circulating hormone levels will be quantified from blood samples using antibodies to the parent compound. Changes in circulating hormone levels over time will be illustrated by analyzing corresponding hormone metabolites from a time series collection of fecal samples.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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