Winter Flounder Yolk-Utilization Project
||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 . . .
||In January or February a female winter flounder, three days from spawning,
seems similar to any other flat fish until . . .
|| . . . 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.
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 vessels are being used to collect winter flounder in
the Long Island Sound.
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!
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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