NEW JERSEY ACADEMY FOR AQUATIC SCIENCES
Scientific Interest: Gonad and gamete physiology; general reproductive biology including behaviour, embryology and growth.
Description of research: The New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences promotes the understanding, appreciation and protection of aquatic life and habitats through research, education and youth development programs. The Academy is active in species survival and conservation efforts. Research focuses on the study of the reproductive processes of aquatic animals to provide alternative means for breeding, or aquaculture. Currently a comprehensive study is being undertaken on the reproductive biology of Apogonidae, a large family of marine and mostly coral reef associated fishes. Research is in progress on the origin and direct development (lack of a planktonic dispersing larval stage) within this group and its phylogenetic significance. Other species the Academy studies are jellyfish, sea ravens, gobies, and the Bangaii cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni).
Lead researcher(s): Dr Alejandro A. Vagelli
Contact details: Director of Science & Conservation, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103. Tel:(856) 361-1026; Fax:(856) 365-3318
Research Group: Fish Reproduction
Scientific Interest: Neuroendocrinology, Growth / Reproduction Interactions
Description of Research: Research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which the hypothalamus regulates the pituitary to secrete gonadotropins. This includes the GnRH/GnRHR system, the dopamine/dopamine D2-R system and also more recently the kisspeptin/GPR54 systems. Work is also conducted on how physiological changes arise from changes in social status. Tilapia and zebrafish are used as models, as well as all the leading aquaculture species in Israel (sturgeon, carp, mullet, bass etc.). Techniques used range from cellular to molecular and biochemical. Research is also devoted to exploring the processes leading to both reproduction and growth in fish. Work focuses on the influence of the brain-pituitary-gonad axis on reproduction and how it interacts with all the stages on the fish life cycle. ELISA's have been developed for the measurement of gonadotropins and GH, based on recombinant proteins, as well as calibrated methods for the measurement of estradiol, 11-ketotestosterone and 17alpha, 20beta, dihydroxy-progesterone.
Lead Researcher(s): Berta Levavi-Sivan
Contact details: Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Department of Animal Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot. 76100 Israel. Tel (office): +972 8 9489988; Tel (lab): +972 8 9489868; Fax: +972 8 9465763.
UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, INSTITUTE OF AQUACULTURE
Research Group: Genetics and Reproduction
Country: Scotland, UK
Scientific interest: Photoperiod, pineal gland, melatonin
Description of research: The major focus of the genetics and reproduction group is on management of broodstock and production of fish as a controllable and sustainable resource. This involves studies of control of maturation and puberty, development and management of selective breeding programmes, mechanisms involved in sex differentiation and gender control, and basic research on important traits and genes. All of these areas combine use of innovative techniques in molecular biology, genomics and proteomics, with whole animal studies of physiology and function, in particular where they are relevant to commercial culture. A major thrust in recent years has been the application of this expertise to questions raised by the ever-expaning interests in new aquaculture species and species diversification, particularly with regards to marine fish. Within the reproduction team more specifically, three main fields are under investigation: reproductive physiology and photoperiodic control of reproduction and growth in marine fish (currently the main focus is on salmon, cod, trout and sea bass), molecular basis of the "photoperiodism" network, focusing on the melatonin (light cascade) and clock gene (chronobiology) systems (currently the main focus is on salmon, tilapia, catfish and cod) and genetic effects on fish performance and welfare (e.g. characterisation of triploid salmon and cod). The work is both scientific in terms of understanding the mechanisms behind the biological effects such as circadian rhythms of melatonin, clock genes, brain-pituitary-gonad axis; and applied in order to improve the production techniques for salmon, trout, sea bass, cod, Nile tilapia and catfish.
Lead researcher(s): Hervé MIGAUD, Andrew DAVIE, John TAYLOR
Contact details: University of Stirling, Institute of Aquaculture, FK94LA Stirling, UK
UNIVERSITY OF CADIZ, DEPT OF BIOLOGY, FACULTY OF MARINE & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Research Group: Fish Neuroendocrinology Group
Scientific interest: Photoperiod, pineal gland, melatonin
Description of research: Research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the perception of photoperiodic information and its propagation to central endocrine centres controlling reproduction and other rhythmic processes in fish. The characteristics of the pineal organ are analysed in seabass and sole, as well as the interaction of melatonin and pineal efferents with the main endocrine centres, and melatonin mechanisms of action via specific receptors along the brain-pituitary-gonad axis. The effects of light and thermal cycles on the development of the circadian system in sole are also being investigated.
Lead researcher(s): José A. Munoz-Cueto
Contact details: Departamento de Biologia, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cadiz, Poligono Rio San Pedro, E-11510-Puerto Real, Cadiz, Spain. Tel: +34 956 016023
NATIONAL AGRONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE (INRA) - SCRIBE
Research Group: Fish Reproduction
Scientific interest: Gamete physiology
Description of Research: The research is directed towards:
(a)Cryobiology of fish spermatozoa and embryonic cells; biotechnologies for regenerating fish genomes; development of genetic analysis tools adapted to cryoconservation and regeneration. The application of this research is orientated towards the creation and management of cryobanks for freezing fish sperm and embryos, with the aim of :(i)conserving fish genetic resources for fish farming purposes; (ii)conserving genetic resources for endangered fish species. This second objective follows an approach that considers not only the conservation of the species themselves, but also the protection and restoration of the natural environment.
(b)Genomic analysis of oocyte maturation and egg quality in fish; understanding the molecular mechanisms triggering oocyte/follicle competence acquisition and egg quality. The effects of endocrine disrupters on oocyte maturation and egg quality are also being studied. This research has important practical applications to the fish farming industry: (i)synchronising egg production during the reproductive season in order to obtain homogenous cohorts of fry; (ii)obtaining eggs out of the reproductive season, to ensure a regular supply of fry throughout the year; (iii)controlling egg quality in all types of farming conditions.
Lead Researcher(s): (a)Cathérine LABBE, Pierre-Yves LE BAIL; (b)Julien BOBE
Contact Details: INRA-SCRIBE, Campus Scientifique de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes cedex.
Institute Website: http://w3.rennes.inra.fr/scribe
POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF MARCHE (UNIVPM); MARINE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT (DISMAR)
Research Group: Reproduction & Developmental Biology
Scientific Interest: Gonad physiology
Description of Research: The group is working towards improving understanding and knowledge of (a)gamete quality in teleosts, (b)reproductive endocrinology and physiology of fish, (c)development of new technologies for environmentally-friendly aquaculture, and (d)reproductive toxicology to monitor environmental risks. (a)In terms of gametes, the quality of eggs and sperm may be affected by chemical and physical factors (meteorological and oceanographical parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, oxygen, carbon dioxide etc.), as well as by anthropogenic factors. The global changes in marine species may have dramatic effects on fecundity, fish biomass and biodiversity of the most economically relevant species. The quality of gametes can be evaluated by molecular, cellular and morphological tools. These results may be used as an early warning signal to avoid the collapse of resources and to improve their future management. (b)Research into the reproductive endocrinology and physiology of fish is directed towards improved knowledge for the selection of new species for aquaculture, including tropical fish for the aquarium trade and for the purposes of restocking endangered species into their natural habitat. (c)Development of new biotechnologies for environmentally-friendly aquaculture is concerned with natural products displaying immuno-modulatory activity, probiotics and prebiotics. Their properties are identified by biological tests, commercial feed additives developed, administration protocols optimised and fish welfare taken into account (improvement of stress tolerance, growth, food intake and health status). (d)One of the goals of reproductive toxicology research is to develop biomarkers to determine how contaminants alter the health of wild populations. In order to evaluate if remedial action reduces the toxic effects of exposure to mixtures of contaminants, a wide spectrum of reproductive aspects (endocrinology, immunity, genotoxicology) are studied using a genomic and proteomic approach on various marine fish models (Sparus aurata, Solea solea, Fundulus heteroclitus, Danio rerio).
Lead Researcher: Oliana Carnevali
Contact Details: Universita Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy
HELLENIC CENTRE FOR MARINE RESEARCH, INSTITUTE OF AQUACULTURE
Research Group: Reproductive biology
Scientific Interest: Gamete physiology, gonad physiology, endocrinology
Description of research: The study of reproductive biology and endocrinology in finfish. The identification of reproductive dysfunctions occuring in male and female brood fish in captivity. The development of pharmacological methods for the control of reproduction, induction of spawning and improvement of sperm quality in commercially important cultured fish. A major application of this research is the development of controlled-release delivery systems (implants) for agonists of the neuropeptide gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRHa). Species of interest include the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), shi drum (umibrina cirrosa), dusky grouper (Epiniephelus marginatus), greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili) and atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus).
Lead researcher(s): Constantinos C. MYLONAS
Contact details: Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Aquaculture, Ex US Military Base of Gournes, PO Box 2214, Iraklion, Crete 71003.
NOAA, NORTHWEST FISHERIES SCIENCE CENTER
Research Group: Physiology Team (integrative fish biology program)
Scientific Interest: Neuroendocrinology, growth / reproduction interactions
Description of research: Research projects include both basic and applied studies on the endocrine control of reproduction in fish, primarily salmon. Main interests are the physiology of gonadotropins, mechanisms of puberty in fish, and how growth and environmental factors influence the age of sexual maturity. Under the captive broodstock research project, research is conducted on how growth at various points in the life cycle influences the age of sexual maturation, fecundity, egg size and gamete viability. The goal of this research is to develop diets and growth regimes that allow for better control of the age of maturation in captively-reared fish. How rearing temperature influences the seasonal timing of spawning is also being investigated, in order to develop methods to advance spawning time in captively reared fish, which are delayed from wild fish. Molecular studies are also being conducted to better understand regulation of hormone receptors, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone and gonadotropin receptors.
Lead researcher(s): Penny SWANSON
Contact details: NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, 2725 Montlake Blvd East, Seattle, WA, USA.
TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF MARINE SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, DEPT OF MARINE BIOSCIENCES
Research Group: Fish physiology
Scientific Interest: Gamete physiology, gonad physiology
Description of research: Development of surrogate broodstock technology in fish by germ cell transplantation; one of the final objectives of this study is to make surrogate mackerel recipients produce bluefin tuna gametes. Cryopreservation of fish germ cells; since there is no cryopreservation technique for fish eggs and embryos currently available, this will be a breakthrough for preservation of fish genetic resources. In vitro culture of fish germ cells in order to use them as an alternative to ES cells. Analysis of endocrine control of fish germ cell proliferation and differentiation.
Lead researcher(s): Goro YOSHIZAKI
Contact details: Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology, Dept of Marine Biosciences, 4-5-7 Konan, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 108-8477 Japan.