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Aquatic and terrestrial mesocosms in amphibian ecotoxicology

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image of Applied Herpetology

Aquatic and terrestrial mesocosms have been used successfully to examine ecological and ecotoxicological questions with amphibians. Mesocosms represent a bridge between the laboratory and the natural world, and allow for experimental research on factors that influence amphibian populations and communities. In this manuscript, we review the current literature utilizing mesocosms for ecotoxicology, evaluate the role that mesocosm studies could play in ecotoxicology, and suggest future research directions. Mesocosms are advantageous relative to other experimental systems because treatments are easily replicated, multiple environmental factors can be manipulated, food webs can be established, direct and indirect effects can be examined, and contamination effects can be evaluated. This allows for the examination of contaminant effects on multiple trophic and taxonomic levels in an ecologically relevant context. Standard guidelines for mesocosm testing with amphibians should be created to aid new researchers, make studies more comparable, and facilitate risk assessment.


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