Lukas Theil


Effects of copper on development and behavior of green toad tadpoles

MSc Student
Advisor: Günter Gollmann

Unit for Theoretical Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology
University of Vienna


The European green toad, Bufotes viridis, is a thermophilic and synanthropic species found in various water bodies in Vienna. However, this species is considered endangered in Austria, primarily due to habitat loss. Another primary threat to all amphibians, are pollutants released through human activity. One of the main pollutants contributing to amphibian decline is the heavy metal copper, which can be found in a variety of chemical compounds. Heavy metals are generally known to be toxic for amphibians and they play a major role in the pollution of water habitats.
The focus of my work are the morphological and behavioral effects of copper on B. viridis larvae. For this purpose, the larvae are raised in copper containing environments. To determine the possible morphological effects of copper, lateral and dorsal pictures of the tadpoles are taken after certain time periods. For the analysis of the pictures, landmark-based geometric morphometrics is used.
To investigate possible behavioral effects of copper on the larvae, the swimming and exploration behavior of the tadpoles is observed and analyzed using a tracking software