Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Lance McBrayer

Committee Member 1

Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

David Rostal

Committee Member 3

Risa Cohen

Abstract

Larval anurans exhibit morphological plasticity in response to environmental conditions. However, the effect of the environment on morphological traits associated with feeding has been understudied. The purpose of this study was to: 1) determine if diet composition and feeding behavior affect chondrocranial morphology and denticle length of Southern toads (Bufo terrestris) in a laboratory setting, and 2) evaluate the potential for light intensity to affect chondrocranial morphology, denticle length, size, and developmental time of B. terrestris raised in three different shade environments. Linear and geometric morphometrics were used to quantify chondrocranial morphology for a group of specimens representing a range of ontogenetic stages, and for prometamorphic specimens as well. The results of this study indicate that diet (directly) and shade (indirectly) influence chondrocranial shape and denticle length.

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