Spotted grass frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis)
Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 2 December 2019.
Applicant: The University of Queensland, School of Biological Sciences.
Species/Taxon: Spotted grass frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis)
Location: Crown land across the distribution of both species; private land at a farm in the Northern Midlands.
Title of research: Intraspecific patterns in the plasticity and sensitivity of UVB radiation tolerance in Australian amphibian larvae.
Aim of project: Globally, amphibian populations are rapidly declining from a complex interplay of stressors. One stressor to amphibian health is DNA damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation (UVBR), which has strong negative effects on larval physiology, fitness, and ultimately survival. Although the toxic effects of UVBR are well known in amphibian larvae, the thermal plasticity of UVBR tolerance and the potential for adaptation to changing environmental UVBR levels is unknown. This project aims to understand the plasticity and sensitivity of UVBR tolerance and DNA repair mechanisms in response to changing UVBR in two species of larval amphibians along a latitudinal and elevational gradient, from north Queensland to Tasmania.
Justification: L. tasmaniensis is a non-threatened, common species which occupies a large geographic and environmental gradient. Previous research shows that L. peronii larvae are susceptible to UV-B radiation, and we hypothesise L. tasmaniensis are also susceptible due to the close relationship between the two species ecologically and taxonomically. This study will provide important insights into the capacity of amphibians to adapt to changing UV environments, and the potential for explaining evolutionary patterns of UVBR tolerance. This is important as ambient UVBR levels have increased in the past few decades and are predicted to continue increasing due to anthropogenic climate change. Ultimately this contributes to understanding why amphibian populations are rapidly declining from pristine montane environments.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: 2500 eggs (multiple part clutches). Females can lay in excess of 1000 eggs per clutch.
Activities undertaken and methods: Spawn will be collected and stored in airtight ziplock bags with water overlaid with oxygen, then freighted to the University of Queensland where they will be hatched and reared in established aquaria until metamorphosis.
Fate of animals: Euthanasia immediately following metamorphosis.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): None identified.