Animal Morphology and Toxicology

Principal Investigator:
Eduardo Rocha

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

Publications Highlights

Alves, RF, Lopes C, Rocha E, Madureira TV (2023) A step forward in the characterization of primary brown trout hepatocytic spheroids as experimental models. Animals 13(14), 2277.

Lobo-da-Cunha A, Alves Â, Rodrigues A (2023). Gill histology and ultrastructure in Aplysia depilans (Mollusca, Euopisthobranchia). Journal of Morphology 284(3):e21562.  

Lobo-da-Cunha A, Alves Â, Oliveira E, Calado G (2021). Functional morphology of the glandular esophageal pouches of chitons (Mollusca, Polyplacophora). Journal of Morphology 282(3):355-367.  

Pereira IL, Lopes C, Rocha E, Madureira TV (2022). Establishing brown trout primary hepatocyte spheroids as a new experimental model – Testing the effects of 5α-dihydrotestosterone on lipid pathways. Aquatic Toxicology 253:106331.  

Rocha MJ, Rocha E (2023) Chemical monitoring and risk assessment of 56 pesticides in the Ave River and adjoining Atlantic coastline (Iberian Peninsula, Portugal). Marine Pollution Bulletin 190: 114884.

Santos D, Rocha E, Malhão F, Lopes C, Gonçalves JF, Madureira TV (2021) Multi-Parametric Portfolio to Assess the Fitness and Gonadal Maturation in Four Key Reproductive Phases of Brown Trout. Animals. 11: 1290.  

Seabra R, Malhão F, Costa C, Correia A, Kijjoa A, Rocha E (2023) Effects and mechanisms of action of marine-derived preussin against the TNBC cell line MDA-MB-231 in 2D and 3D cultures. Marine Drugs 21(3), 166.