Freshwater habitats are globally threatened by human-induced secondary salinization. Amphibians are generally poorly adapted to survive in saline environments. We experimentally investigated the effects of chronic exposure to various salinities (5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30% and 35% seawater, SW) on survival, larval growth and metamorphosis of tadpoles from two amphibian populations belonging to two species: the green toad Bufo balearicus and the common toad Bufo bufo. In addition, gill morphology of tadpoles of both species after acute exposure to hypertonic conditions (20%, 25%, and 30% SW) was examined by light and electron microscopy. Tadpoles experienced 100% mortality above 20% SW in B. balearicus while above 15% SW in B. bufo. We detected also sublethal effects of salinity stress on growth and metamorphosis. B. bufo cannot withstand chronic exposure to salinity above 5% SW, tadpoles grew slower and were significantly smaller than those in control at metamorphosis. B. balearicus tolerated salinity up to 20% SW without apparent effects during larval development, but starting from 15% SW tadpoles metamorphosed later and at a smaller size compared with control. We also revealed a negative relation between increasing salt concentration and gill integrity. The main modifications were increased mucous secretion, detachment of external layer, alteration of epithelial surface, degeneration phenomena, appearance of residual bodies, and macrophages immigration. These morphological alterations of gill epithelium can interfere with respiratory function and both osmotic and acid-base regulation. Significant variations in branchial Na+/K+-ATPase activity were also observed between two species; moreover an increase in enzyme activity was evident in response to SW exposure. Epithelial responses to increasing salt concentration were different in the populations belonging to two species: the intensity of histological and ultrastructural pathology in B. bufo was greater and we noticed the appearance in exposed samples of the tubular vesicles cells (TVCs). Taken together, our results demonstrated that increased salinity of freshwater may give cause for concern and must be considered a stressor for amphibians as well as other pollutants.
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|Titolo:||Effects of salinity stress on Bufo balearicus and Bufo bufo tadpoles: tolerance, morphological gill alterations and Na+/K+-ATPase localization|
BRUNELLI, Elvira [Project Administration] (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|