The Effects of Glyphosate-based Herbicides on the Development of Wood Frogs, Lithobates sylvaticus

Title: The Effects of Glyphosate-based Herbicides on the Development of Wood Frogs, Lithobates sylvaticus
Authors: Lanctôt, Chantal
Date: 2012
Abstract: Amphibians develop in aquatic environments where they are very susceptible to the effects of pesticides and other environmental contaminants. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used and have been shown to affect survival and development of tadpoles under laboratory conditions. The goal my thesis is to determine if agriculturally relevant exposure to Roundup WeatherMax®, a herbicide formulation containing the potassium salt of glyphosate and an undisclosed surfactant, influences the survival and development of wood frogs tadpoles (Lithobates sylvaticus) under both laboratory and field conditions. In the field, experimental wetlands were divided in half using an impermeable curtain so that each wetland contained a treatment and control side. Tadpoles were exposed to two pulses of this herbicide at environmentally realistic concentration (ERC, 0.21 mg acid equivalent (a.e.)/L) and predicted environmental concentrations (PEC, 2.89 mg a.e./L), after which survival, growth, development, and expression of genes involved in metamorphosis were measured. Results indicate that exposure to the PEC is extremely toxic to tadpoles under laboratory conditions but not under field conditions. Results from both experimental conditions show sublethal effects on growth and development, and demonstrate that ERC of glyphosate-based herbicides have the potential to alter hormonal responses during metamorphosis. My secondary objectives were to compare the effects of Roundup WeatherMax® to the well-studied Vision® formulation (containing the isopropylamine (IPA) salt of glyphosate and POEA), and to determine which ingredient(s) are responsible for the sublethal effects on development. Survival, growth and gene expression results indicate that Roundup WeatherMax® has greater toxicity than Vision® formulation. Contrary to my prediction, results suggest that, under realistic exposure scenarios, POEA is not the sole ingredient responsible for the observed developmental effects. However, my results demonstrate that chronic exposure to the POEA surfactant at the PEC (1.43 mg/L) is extremely toxic to wood frog tadpoles in laboratory. As part of the Long-term Experimental Wetlands Area (LEWA) project, this research contributes to overall knowledge of the impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides on aquatic communities.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -