Maturing eels break down their skeleton to fuel reproduction

To reach their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea, European eels migrate several thousand kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean. The fish undergo drastic changes on their way: they stop feeding, shrink their guts, and break down their skeletons to fuel reproduction. An international research team around Marko Freese, Larissa Rizzo, and Markus Brinkmann now discovered that this process also leads to the transfer of a number of potentially toxic metals – cadmium, copper, manganese, and mercury – from bones and soft tissues to the ovaries of gravid silver eels, suggesting that these metals might hamper the reproductive success of this critically endangered species.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft