Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Shiao Wang

Committee Chair Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jake Schaefer

Committee Member 2 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Carl Qualls

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Anurans are mass spawners, often with multiple females spawning together, resulting in thousands of tadpoles sharing a habitat. Such large numbers of tadpoles with limited dispersal can lead to intense competition for resources. Inter and intra-specific competition for food could have negative impacts on the growth and survival of smaller tadpoles. Fecal bacterial communities have the potential to be used as indicators of changes in diet making it possible to determine if tadpoles in the wild are eating the same food or not. After feeding on two prepared diets that differed in the percentage of complex carbohydrates, the fecal bacterial communities of tadpoles were not significantly different. After enclosing small and large southern leopard frog tadpoles at two locations, size and location had significant effects on the composition of the fecal bacterial communities. Location had a significant effect on the composition of the fecal bacterial communities of green tree frog tadpoles. After capturing wild tadpoles, the sequenced fecal bacterial communities were similar at the phylum level between small and large southern leopard frog tadpoles while the bacterial communities of southern leopard frog and green tree frog tadpoles were easily distinguishable at the phylum level. Using the fecal bacterial communities to make inferences about diet selection in wild tadpoles, small and large southern leopard frog tadpoles avoid competition by eating different things. Additionally, green tree frog and southern leopard frog tadpoles also avoid competition by eating different things.

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