, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 495–503 | Cite as

Effects of water acidification on the distribution pattern and the reproductive success of amphibians

  • R. S. E. W. Leuven
  • C. den Hartog
  • M. M. C. Christiaans
  • W. H. C. Heijligers
The Ecological Effects of Acid Deposition Part II


Nine amphibian species were encountered in poorly buffered waters of The Netherlands (alkalinity ≦1 meq·l−1). These soft water systems are highly sensitive to acidifying precipitation. The number of species as well as the percentage of waters which harbour amphibian populations are strongly reduced in the extremely acid pH-class\((\bar pH< 4.0)\). The reproductive success of amphibians is negatively affected by low pH. The eggs become heavily infested with fungi (Saprolegniaceae). In acidifying systems many physico-chemical parameters are significantly correlated with the pH of the water. Strongly acidified waters are characterized by low alkalinity, conductivity and ionic content but high acidity and high concentrations of (heavy) metals and ammonium and a high relative sulphate concentration. Culture experiments with eggs and larvae ofRana arvalis. Rana ‘esculenta’, Rana temporaria andBufo bufo show that apart from the pH, elevated aluminium, cadmium and ammonium contents may also affect the reproductive success of amphibians.

Key words

Acidication pH calcium (heavy) metals ammonium amphibians development of eggs hatching percentage mortality of larvae 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. E. W. Leuven
    • 1
  • C. den Hartog
    • 1
  • M. M. C. Christiaans
    • 1
  • W. H. C. Heijligers
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Aquatic EcologyCatholic UniversityNijmegen(The Netherlands)

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