Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research


Dissolved oxygen levels in aquatic systems have decreased because of temperature increases caused by climate change, which in turn has affected ecosystems and wildlife. Many physiological processes in aquatic organisms require a certain dissolved-oxygen range, and decreasing levels can compromise proper functioning. Previous studies have linked muscle performance to dissolved oxygen levels in a variety of aquatic species, but less research has been dedicated to amphibians. Because many amphibians engage in cutaneous respiration, especially when dwelling in aquatic habitats, dissolved oxygen levels may have a significant impact on muscle performance in this taxon. This experiment investigated the effects of dissolved oxygen and time in vitro on frog skeletal muscle contractile force and fatigue. Results did not vary significantly when dissolved oxygen was altered, but fatigue and contractile force experiments did correlate with time in vitro. Although we did not find an effect of dissolved oxygen levels on muscle characteristics in vitro, a better understanding of the effects of dissolved oxygen on muscle performance, particularly in vivo, could be beneficial as climate change alters the oxygen content of aquatic systems, with the potential to affect physiology and behavior. Keywords: cutaneous respiration, dissolved oxygen, contractile force, fatigue, in vitro