The Animal Morphology and Toxicology team is dedicated to fundamental and applied research (from gene to organism) of the morphology and physiology of fish and aquatic invertebrates, including species relevant to aquaculture and fishing. Fostering the “4R” principle in animal welfare, we apply and refine in vitro cultures with primary cells, tissue slices and cell lines for physiology and toxicology. In fish, the hypothalamic-pituitary-liver-gonadal axis and blood plasma are the primary target systems and matrices. The results of our research lay the grounds for sustainable exploitation of species for human consumption, ornamental aims and as sources for the blue bioeconomy and biomedical research. The team investigates causes and mechanisms of some reproductive, metabolic and endocrine dysfunctions in fish, with impacts on their growth, fitness and population sustainability. Some studies focus on interactions with abiotic factors, investigating how they influence normal morphology and physiology, pathogenesis, and cellular and organic manifestations of adaptations and dysfunctions. We also examine changes in the morphology and physiology of the studied species in the presence of certain types of pollutants in inorganic and organic matrices (in wild, production or captured species), with potential impacts on animal and human health.
Animal Morphology and Toxicology Co-PI: Maria João Rocha