Warmer is better: Invasive cane toads set to thrive under global warming
"The negative effect of high temperature does not operate in Cane Toads, meaning that toads will do very well with human induced global warming", explains Professor Frank Seebacher from the University of Sydney. Unlike fish and other cold-blooded creatures, whose oxygen transport system suffers at high temperatures, the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) of Cane Toads performs more efficiently.
The researchers present their new findings at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Prague on Friday 2nd July 2010.
When tested over an ambient temperature range of 20 – 30 ˚C, Cane Toads acclimatised perfectly to increased temperatures and resting oxygen demands remained constant.
Furthermore, the efficiency of the oxygen transport system in the Cane Toad increased with increasing temperature, showing not only an ability to function over a broad thermal range but remarkably, a preference for higher temperatures.
This is in contrast to previous studies suggesting an increase in temperature results in a higher basic oxygen demand, coupled with decreased efficiency of the circulation system, leading to oxygen starvation.
"Warmer temperatures are advantageous and there is no indication that high temperatures limit oxygen delivery", explained Professor Seebacher.
The scientists say this positive effect may also apply to other anurans (the class of amphibians that includes frogs and toads), but more research needs to be done to find out.
"The impact of global warming doesn't have to be negative. Global average temperatures at present may in fact be cooler than many animals would like", explained Professor Seebacher.
"There will be winners and there will be losers but that needs to be judged on a species by species basis", added Dr Craig Franklin, co-author of the research.
The Cane Toad can adapt its physiology in response to a changing environment repeatedly and completely reversibly many times during its lifetime.
Originally introduced as agricultural pest-control due to its voracious appetite for the Cane Beetle, populations have now escalated out of control. The skin of the Cane Toad is toxic and deadly when ingested by other animals, many of them native predators.
Source: Society for Experimental Biology
- Warmer is better: Invasive cane toads set to thrive under global warmingfrom Science CentricFri, 2 Jul 2010, 7:28:42 EDT
- Warmer is better: Invasive cane toads set to thrive under global warmingfrom Science DailyFri, 2 Jul 2010, 2:22:04 EDT
- Warmer is better: Invasive cane toads set to thrive under global warmingfrom PhysorgThu, 1 Jul 2010, 18:14:09 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Signs of ancient megatsunami could portend modern hazard
- International research team finds thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl
- A simpler way to estimate the feedback between permafrost carbon and climate
- Mysterious ripples found racing through planet-forming disk
- Ancient rocks record first evidence for photosynthesis that made oxygen
- A snapshot of Americans' knowledge about science
- Researchers identify 3 new fossil whale species of New Zealand
- Burning remaining fossil fuel could cause 60-meter sea level rise
- Stanford scientists produce cancer drug from rare plant in lab
- The reason why middle class people are more likely to play music, paint and act revealed