2021 Oct/14

Research for Society

UCV could save the nacra from its extinction  

The Institute of Environment and Marine Science (IMEDMAR-UCV) of the UCV, has a new research project to save from its extinction the ‘nacras’ (Pinna nobilis and Pinna rudis), important species for the health of the Mediterranean Sea because they act as water filters.  

The project is called ‘Use of reproductive neuropeptides to induce gonadal maturation and the spawning of Pinna nobilis and Pinna rudis in captive conditions (NeuPinna Project)’ led by José R. García March, principal investigator, José Tena (director of IMEDMAR-UCV), Nikoleta Ntalamagka and Pablo J. Sanchís.  

IMEDMAR-UCV have been working for several years for the survival of the nacra, especially since the episodes of mass mortality in 2016. This project is part of the UCV aim to achieve the reproduction of the nacra in captivity, a complicated process because the nacra is a ‘very long-lived’ specie –up to twenty years- and their larvae have ‘very little survival’, according to García March. 

ARTIFICIALLY SYNTHESIZE NEUROPEPTIDES OF THE NACRA 

The researchers will use reproductive neuropeptides (small molecules, formed by the union of three or more amino acids, which show action on the nervous system) in the maturation process to induce gonadal maturation and placement in captive conditions.  

García March points out that reproductive neuropeptides have worked well with other species, so they will apply it to nacra. Then they will analyze the results and, through their genetic sequence, the neuropeptides of the nacra itself will be artificially synthesized.  

The project has the support of the Ministry of Ecology Transition and Demographic Aim, through the Foundation of Biodiversity, within a call for research grants for the conservation of marine biodiversity in Spain.