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Reproductive assessment of captive adult female red drum

Assessment and classification of adult fish ovaries (female reproductive organs) can provide indications of spawning potential and dysfunction, which can help to improve captive spawning techniques. Therefore, a scientific approach is being developed to quantify the proportion of oocyte (“egg”) development stages found in ovaries of captive red drum during their reproductive cycle. This will allow scientists to precisely classify the condition of the ovary, identifying subtle effects of environmental and biological variables on ovary development and spawning.

microscopic images showing cross sections of ovaries which display as large and small circles stained purple and pink

Biopsies of the ovaries show changes in oocytes during captive development and spawning: a) early ovary development showing only primary growth (PG) oocytes; b) late ovary development showing PG and secondary growth (SG) oocytes; c) developed ovaries showing PG, SG, and mature oocytes (OM)