Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Metamorphosis and the impact of contaminants on ecological subsidies

October 16, 2020

Animals with complex life histories such as aquatic insects and amphibians link freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems when they transition from water to land during development. This transition requires metamorphosis from juvenile to adult life stages. Metamorphosis is a stressful and ecologically sensitive life history event. Exposure to contaminants during juvenile development (before or during metamorphosis) can disrupt the complex process of metamorphosis, thereby altering the flow of organisms from water to land. This chapter reviews how ecological stressors impact the timing and success of metamorphosis. Key ideas include: (1) metamorphosis is a key event in the movement of subsidies from water to land, (2) mortality during metamorphosis is enhanced in the presence of contaminants, and (3) juvenile responses to contaminants may not predict adult responses, due to death during metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a critical life history stage that should be accounted for in ecotoxicological studies.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Metamorphosis and the impact of contaminants on ecological subsidies
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-49480-3_6
Authors Jeff Wesner, Johanna M. Kraus, Brianna L. Henry, Jacob Kerby
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70216147
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center