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Data from: The response of amphibian larvae to environmental change is both consistent and variable


Edge, Christopher B.; Houlahan, Jeff E.; Jackson, Donald A.; Fortin, Marie-Josée (2016), Data from: The response of amphibian larvae to environmental change is both consistent and variable, Dryad, Dataset,


Many environments are undergoing rapid environmental change and there is a need to understand the mechanisms by which species can persist in altered environments. Model systems, such as amphibian metamorphosis, which can be generalized across many types of environmental change and across many species, are a powerful tool for understanding mechanisms that facilitate persistence in altered and disturbed environments. Amphibian larvae respond to environmental change by varying age at metamorphosis, or size at metamorphosis. Differential selection pressures on age or size at metamorphosis may result in a differential response among taxa to environmental change. Using a meta-analysis, we investigated whether age at metamorphosis, size at metamorphosis, and larval growth rate vary within and among taxonomic families of amphibians in experiments that modified the environmental temperature, density of individuals, food, hydroperiod and the presence of predators. For all environmental factors except predators, the direction of the response was consistent across most of the studied taxa. However, there was considerable variation in effect size both within and among families. Results demonstrate that amphibian metamorphosis is a valuable model system for studying the effects of environmental change. Yet, we stress the need for caution in making generalizations about how individuals respond to environmental factors that have an indirect effect on physiology and require the perception of an environmental cue, such as the presence of predators.

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