Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2011-01


Differential patterns of accumulation and depuration of dietary selenium and vanadium during metamorphosis in the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor).




Rowe, CL; Heyes, A; Hilton, J


Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 60(2):336-342




Selenium (Se) and vanadium (V) are contaminants commonly found in aquatic systems affected by wastes derived from fossil fuels. To examine their effects on a widely distributed species of amphibian, we exposed gray tree frogs (Hyla versicolor) to Se (as SeO2) or V (as NaVO3) in their diet from the early larval period to metamorphosis. Concentrations of Se in Se-enriched food were 1.0 (Se control), 7.5 (Se low), and 32.7 (Se high) mu g/g dw. Concentrations of V in V-enriched food were 3.0 (V control), 132.1 (V low), and 485.7 (V high) mu g/g dw. Although we observed bioaccumulation of both metals throughout the larval period, no effects on growth, survival, metabolic rate, or lipid content were observed. Se concentrations in tissues did not vary among life stages, neither in Se low nor Se high treatments, such that maximum accumulation had occurred by the mid-larval period. In addition, there was no evidence of depuration of Se in either the Se low or the Se high treatments during metamorphosis. A strikingly different pattern of accumulation and depuration occurred in V-exposed individuals. In treatments V low and V high, maximum body burdens occurred in "premetamorphs" (i.e., animals with developed forelimbs but in which tail resorption had not begun), whereas body burdens in animals having completed metamorphosis were much lower and similar to those in larvae. These results suggest that compared with Se-exposed animals, V-exposed animals were able to depurate a substantial amount of accumulated V during the metamorphic period. In an ecologic context, it appears that amphibians exposed to Se during the larval period may serve as a vector of the metal to terrestrial predators, yet potential transfer of accumulated V to predators would largely be restricted to the aquatic habitat.

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