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Ángel García-López, María I Sánchez-Amaya, Charles R Tyler and Francisco Prat

Unilateral ovariectomy (ULO) was performed in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) during late pre-vitellogenesis/early vitellogenesis. Plasma steroid levels and the expression of a suite of potential oogenesis-relevant genes in the ovary, brain, and pituitary were evaluated with the aim of understanding their involvement in the compensatory oocyte development occurring within the remaining ovarian lobe. After 69 days of surgery the remaining ovarian lobe in ULO fish was gravimetrically equivalent to an intact-paired ovary of sham operated, control fish. This compensatory ovarian growth was based on an increased number of early perinucleolar oocytes and mid-late stage vitellogenic follicles without an apparent recruitment of primary oocytes into the secondary growth phase. Plasma steroid levels were similar in ULO and control females at all time points analyzed, suggesting an increased steroid production of the remaining ovarian lobe in hemi-castrated females. Results of the gene expression survey conducted indicate that the signaling pathways mediated by Fsh and Gnrh1 constitute the central axes orchestrating the observed ovarian compensatory growth. In addition, steroid receptors, Star protein, Igfs, and members of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily including anti-Mullerian hormone and bone morphogenetic protein 4 were identified as potentially relevant players within this process, although their specific actions and interactions remain to be established. Our results demonstrate that ULO provides an excellent in vivo model for elucidating the interconnected endocrine and molecular mechanisms controlling oocyte development in European sea bass.

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Lucinda C Aulsebrook, Michael G Bertram, Jake M Martin, Anne E Aulsebrook, Tomas Brodin, Jonathan P Evans, Matthew D Hall, Moira K O’Bryan, Andrew J Pask, Charles R Tyler and Bob B M Wong

Environmental pollution is an increasing problem for wildlife globally. Animals are confronted with many different forms of pollution, including chemicals, light, noise, and heat, and these can disrupt critical biological processes such as reproduction. Impacts on reproductive processes can dramatically reduce the number and quality of offspring produced by exposed individuals, and this can have further repercussions on the ecology and evolution of affected populations. Here, we illustrate how environmental pollutants can affect various components of reproduction in wildlife, including direct impacts on reproductive physiology and development, consequences for gamete quality and function, as well as effects on sexual communication, sexual selection, and parental care. We follow with a discussion of the broader ecological and evolutionary consequences of these effects on reproduction and suggest future directions that may enable us to better understand and address the effects of environmental pollution.