Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




The objective of this study was to examine the effects of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles on egg, larva, and adult rough-skinned newts, Taricha granulosa. To date, little research has been done to investigate the potentially detrimental effects of nanoparticles on amphibians, especially salamanders and newts (caudates). Chronic toxicity was tested on eggs and larvae, and acute toxicity was tested on eggs, larvae, and adults. For eggs, chronic exposure to ZnO nanoparticles caused higher mortality at 10.0 and 100.0 mg/L compared to 0.0, 0.1, and 1.0 mg/L. When given an acute exposure (24h) to nanoparticles at a late incubation stage, nanoparticles caused larvae to hatch five days early, at a decreased developmental stage and smaller size compared to the control. Chronic and acute exposure of larvae increased mortality up to 75% at both 10 and 100.0 mg/L, and exhibited sublethal effects, most dramatically, severe gill degradation. These results suggest nanoparticles can have lethal and sublethal effects on all life stages of amphibians. For the first time to our knowledge caudates are shown to be vulnerable to nanoparticle toxicity. Considering the paucity of data on this relatively new environmental contaminant, the use of nanoparticles and their potential effects need to be recognized as these substances become increasingly prevalent in the environment.

Included in

Biology Commons



Faculty Mentor

Susannah French

Departmental Honors Advisor

Kim Sullivan