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Effects of predator exposure on Hsp70 expression and survival in tadpoles of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

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Predator-induced changes in prey behavior and morphology are widespread, but little is known about physiological and cellular-level responses in prey in response to predation risk. We investigated whether predator (larvae of the dragonfly Aeshna Fabricius, 1775) presence elevated the expression level of heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70)—a commonly found response to stress—in tadpoles of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria L., 1758). In another experiment, we tested the survival of tadpoles in the presence of a free-ranging predator. Prior to this encounter, the tadpoles were exposed to either an Hsp-inducing environmental stress in the form of heat (31 °C) or to predator cues from a caged predator. We found no evidence for increased Hsp70 expression in tadpoles either in the presence of fed or starved predators. We did not find any effects of prior exposure to neither heat nor predator presence on survival at the end of experiment. Our results do not point to either Hsp70-mediated effect of predator-induced responses or to beneficial effects of the stress response on survival under predation risk.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, P.O. Box 314, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark. 2: Aarhus Centre of Environmental Stress Research (ACES), Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114-116, Building 1540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. 3: Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of Biosciences, P.O. Box 65, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland. 4: Population and Conservation Biology and Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden.

Publication date: December 16, 2011

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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