Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-1-2023

Document Type



Horner, A. 2023. The Effect of Calcium Supplementation on Amphibian Health. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


Copyright Abigail Horner 2023.


Calcium in its ionic form is vital to the growth and homeostasis of reptiles. Reptiles need a Calcium carbonate supplement and adequate D3 to assimilate the calcium into the many systems and processes needed to survive (Stiffler, 1996). Without proper UVB to provide D3 or calcium supplement, bone, muscle, and metabolism are altered (Mader, 2006). Amphibians, however, have little documentation regarding the necessity of a combination of calcium and D3 in a similar concentration or means of delivery as seen in reptiles. Results of previous studies analyzing the bone density, bloodwork, and overall growth provided varying results. Whether this is the result of different life stages, difference in physiology between amphibia species, or human error is still to be explored. In Fall 2019 to Spring 2021, an experiment was conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln using Ambystoma mavortium as a model species. This experiment showed that in the given environment, the model species was able to thrive with or without calcium or UVB.