The effects of different cold-temperature regimes on development, growth, and susceptibility to an abiotic and biotic stressor.

Research paper by Matthew M Wersebe, Paradyse P Blackwood, Ying Tong YT Guo, Jared J Jaeger, Dyllan D May, George G Meindl, Sean N SN Ryan, Vivian V Wong, Jessica J Hua

Indexed on: 12 Apr '19Published on: 10 Apr '19Published in: Ecology and Evolution


Global climate change is expected to both increase average temperatures as well as temperature variability.Increased average temperatures have led to earlier breeding in many spring-breeding organisms. However, individuals breeding earlier will also face increased temperature fluctuations, including exposure to potentially harmful cold-temperature regimes during early developmental stages.Using a model spring-breeding amphibian, we investigated how embryonic exposure to different cold-temperature regimes (control, cold-pulse, and cold-press) affected (a) compensatory larval development and growth, (b) larval susceptibility to a common contaminant, and (c) larval susceptibility to parasites.We found: (a) no evidence of compensatory development or growth, (b) larvae exposed to the cold-press treatment were more susceptible to NaCl at 4-days post-hatching but recovered by 17-days post-hatching, and (c) larvae exposed to both cold treatments were less susceptible to parasites.These results demonstrate that variation in cold-temperature regimes can lead to unique direct and indirect effects on larval growth, development, and response to stressors. This underscores the importance of considering cold-temperature variability and not just increased average temperatures when examining the impacts of climate disruption.