We investigate the reproductive physiology of fish, focusing on sex determination and differentiation, regulation of sperm production and male function. We characterize the internal and environmental influences on these key processes for species survival. The main lines of current research are:
- Sex determination. Study of the genetic, epigenetic and environmental influences that govern the process of sex determination and differentiation in fish.
- Environmental epigenetics. Study of the intrinsic and extrinsic influences on the establishment, inheritance and reprogramming of epigenetic marks.
- Sexual systems. Study of the selective forces that explain the distribution and evolutionary transitions between the main sexual systems found in fishes.
- Synchronization of spermatogenesis. We develop biotechnological tools to counteract the low sperm production of many cultured flatfish, which is an obstacle to in vitro fertilization methods in aquaculture.
- Molecular endocrinology of spermiogenesis. We investigate the molecular basis of spermiogenesis with the aim of increasing both sperm quantity and quality.
We use an approach that includes both classical physiology and endocrinology as well as cellular and molecular biology, genomics, epigenomics and transcriptomics. Understanding how reproduction is regulated is essential if we want to control it in aquaculture. Finally, understanding reproductive variability is also important for conservation biology.
The group has a strong international projection and has several publications in high impact journals such as Nature Communications, PNAS, PLoS Genetics and Molecular Biology and Evolution.