Winter Flounder Yolk-Utilization Project

Joe Perreira and Ruth Hartling Joe Pereira of NOAA/NMFS Milford Laboratory in Connecticut shows Ruth Hartling of UMass Amherst the finer points of flounder rearing.  The NOAA facility maintains tanks circulated with fresh sea water that allow them to catch and keep female flounders in healthy condition while their ovaries mature . . .

Winter flounder from above In January or February a female winter flounder, three days from spawning, seems similar to any other flat fish until . . .
Winter flounder, side view   . . . turned on its side the gravid female shows off its 'football' shaped profile.  She is chock full of eggs that have recently hydrated creating her inflated state.

Winter flounder, milking Winter flounder, milking

Here, Jim Hughes of NOAA/NMFS Milford strips the eggs of this gravid female, providing us with the raw material to begin our study of egg yolk storage-proteins.

NOAA vessel

NOAA vessels are being used to collect winter flounder in the Long Island Sound.

NOAA boat

Joe Pereira and the vessels skipper, Captain Bob Alix, prepare to go on a collecting trip.

Why were these resources and scientists devoted to the winter flounder?

Initially, the winter flounder was identified as a potential biosensor organism for evaluating the effects of pollution on estuaries and coastal waterways such as Boston Harbor and LI Sound.  While this organism still may be valuable in this respect, the polution problems have declined in the legislatively important bodies of water.  Boston Harbor has been declared 'cleaned up'.  So, the money to develop the winter flounder vitellogenin utilization model as an environmental sensor has dried up.  C'est la Vie!

Chapter I.

Developing an assay for winter flounder vitellogenin:

Hartling, R. C., J. J. Pereira and J. G. Kunkel. (1997). Characterization of a heat-stable fraction of lipovitellin and development of an immunoassay for vitellogenin and yolk protein in the winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus). J Exp Zool 278: 156-166. PDF

Hartling R.C. and J.G. Kunkel. (1999). Developmental fate of the yolk protein lipovitellin in embryos and larvae of winter flounder, Pleuronectes americanus. J Exp Zool 284:686-95. PDF

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Page maintained by Joe Kunkel, Copyright(c) 1995. Created: 95/10/28 Updated: 2000/07/13