Pesticides can be important conservation tool, but they could have unintended impacts on amphibians. The commercial glyphosate-based herbicide Accord is approved for use in wetlands and ponds because it is designed to be safer to aquatic wildlife than other herbicide formulations (e.g., Roundup or Atrazine); however, field experiments are needed to determine whether there are direct, indirect, or sublethal effects on amphibians or effects on wetland community structure. We conducted a replicated field experiment in constructed ponds to test for both the effects of Accord and predator (Tiger Salamanders, Ambystoma tigrinum) density on amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. Herbicide treatment had significant density-dependent effects on Tiger Salamander growth, development, and survival. The survival of anurans and aquatic invertebrates was also affected by herbicide treatment and predator density. At certain Tiger Salamander densities, the community structure was altered such that some species became more common with herbicide treatment, whereas others became less common. Behavior assays of salamander larvae suggest that herbicide treatment alters predator-prey relationships in the experimental pond communities. These results suggest that competition and predation may mediate indirect effects of this herbicide on the aquatic fauna. We conclude that exposure to Accord poses less of a risk to the ecology of amphibians than do other formulations of glyphosate-based herbicides.
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