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Timing of the maturation transition in haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus

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The timing of maturation in haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus was examined using changes in gonad development, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH-) transcript expression profile, growth and condition of 1 year old females held under a common environment between the summer and winter solstices. The circumnuclear ring, cortical alveolus and vitellogenic oocyte stages were first observed in August, October and November, respectively. FSH- transcript levels did not change significantly until September but increased markedly thereafter in maturing fish. A combined analysis of the mean oocyte diameter of the leading cohort, histological staging and FSH- transcript profile provided evidence of a commitment to maturation by October or November. Contrary to that previously proposed for gadoid species, histological analysis of field-caught immature M. aeglefinus during the spawning season indicated that cortical alveolar, rather than circumnuclear ring, stage oocytes provided definitive evidence of maturation. A decrease in relative liver size following the summer solstice suggested a possible link between energy status and maturation.

Keywords: follicle stimulating hormone; histology; maturation decision; oocyte development

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02739.x

Affiliations: Marine Scotland, Marine Laboratory, P.O. Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, Scotland, U.K.

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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