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Gamete and embryo cryobanking for the preservation of threatened endemic fish

Project description

Cryobank helps conserve Portugal's threatened freshwater fish species

Of the 26 native species of Portuguese freshwater fish, around 70 % are under threat due to habitat loss, water quality deterioration, invasive species, and climate change. The EU-funded CRYO-FISH project will address this challenge by improving knowledge of the reproductive biology of endemic freshwater fish, assessing for the first time gamete quality throughout the breeding season and revealing unknown aspects of the breeding cycle of endangered cyprinids. Researchers will develop novel techniques for gamete assay and protocols for cryopreservation with the purpose of creating a genetic resource bank for biodiversity preservation. The collated data will create understanding of the correct timing for collecting gametes and how to manage them to assure artificial propagation of species in captivity.

Objective

Populations of fish species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula have been declining since the mid-20th century due to several factors such as habitat loss, water quality deterioration or presence of alien fish species. Furthermore, with the tendency for global warming, the typical summer droughts in Iberia are expected to become more intense and extended in time, so this fact could pose an additional extinction risk factor for the native fish. In this regard, from the 26 native species of the Portuguese freshwater fish, around 70% are already under threat according to the IUCN.
Cryo-Fish will progress on basic knowledge of the reproductive biology of endemic freshwater ichthyofauna, assessing for the first-time gamete quality throughout the breeding season. New techniques for gamete assay and protocols for cryopreservation will the purpose of creating a genetic resource bank for biodiversity preservation. From the point of view of basic research, Cryo-Gamete is going to reveal unknown aspects of breeding cycle of the most endangered cyprinids, providing data that will help ex situ conservation captivity programs. The data that will be systematically collected and analysed will create knowledge on the right timing to collect gametes and how to manage them to assure artificial propagation of species in captivity. On the other hand, this proposal wishes to lay the groundwork for making a genetic resource bank of the most endangered fish species at national level. In this regard, new gamete cryopreservation protocols will be designed for the project goal species, being possible to have a wild-phenotypic backup of each population. Finally, Cryo-Fish is going to approach a novel technique located on the frontier of scientific knowledge: fish embryo cryopreservation. This technique will be addressed based on a laser gold nanotechnology, and it will be applied for the first time in freshwater endangered species within the topic of preserving biodiversity.

Call for proposal

H2020-WF-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-WF-03-2020

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Coordinator

CENTRO DE CIENCIAS DO MAR DO ALGARVE
Net EU contribution
€ 147 815,04
Address
Universidade do algarve
8005-139 Faro
Portugal

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Region
Continente Algarve Algarve
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00