Megan Gibbons Research Interests:

 Influences of Heritability and Diet on Development of Green Treefrogs

Developmental characteristics of tadpoles may be extremely important for the overall adult fitness.  Early metamorphosis may be used as a strategy to escape aquatic predators, but often at the cost of lower survival or fecundity.  Heritable factors and environmental factors are typically both important in determining the length of the larval stage, as well as size at metamorphosis.  BSC undergraduate Bobby Peinhardt studied the interaction between diet and heritability in the green treefrog (Hyla cinerea).  He collected amplexed pairs from the field and raised clutches of tadpoles in high- and low-protein diet conditions, until they emerged as metamorphs, when he took measurements and compared the effects of clutch and diet on several traits that are important to fitness.  He found that there were significant effects of clutch, diet, and their interaction on these traits, and that body mass and time to metamorphosis was strongly influenced by both heritable and environmental factors.   Additional research in this area is possible over the spring or summer terms.