Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

James Vonesh


Closely related species at the same trophic level are often considered to be ecologically equivalent. However, it is clear that individuals species can have unique functional roles that drive community and ecosystem processes. In this study we examine the growth responses of two Neotropical hylid tadpole species, Agalychnis callidryas and Dendropsophus ebraccatus, to intraspecific and interspecific competition. We also look at density-dependent effects of each on phytoplankton, periphyton and zooplankton, as well as their responses to a caged dragonfly predator through ontogeny. Intraspecific competition affected both species similarly, and their effects on resources were qualitatively similar but quantitatively different. Predators affected resource levels and interspecific competition. Predator effects on tadpole size varied in both magnitude and direction through ontogeny for both species. This study shows that closely related species at the same trophic level can have different ecological roles and that tadpoles are more functionally unique than previously thought.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011

Included in

Biology Commons