Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 247–264 | Cite as

Effects of industrial pollution on the reproductive biology of Squalius laietanus (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae) in a Mediterranean stream (NE Iberian Peninsula)

  • Patricia Soler
  • Montserrat Solé
  • Raquel Bañón
  • Eduardo García-Galea
  • Mercè Durfort
  • Víctor Matamoros
  • Josep Maria Bayona
  • Dolors VinyolesEmail author


Mediterranean rivers are severely affected by pollutants from industry, agriculture and urban activities. In this study, we examined how industrial pollutants, many of them known to act as endocrine disruptors (EDCs), could disturb the reproduction of the Catalan chub (Squalius laietanus). The survey was conducted throughout the reproductive period of S. laietanus (from March to July 2014) downstream an industrial WWTP located in the River Ripoll (NE Iberian Peninsula). Eighty fish (28 females and 52 males) were caught by electrofishing upstream and 77 fish (33 females and 44 males) downstream a WWTP. For both sexes, the gonadosomatic index (GSI) and gonadal histology were examined and related to water chemical analysis and fish biomarkers. Female fecundity was assessed using the gravimetric method. Fish from the polluted site showed enhanced biomarker responses involved in detoxification. Also, in the polluted site, lower GSI values were attained in both sexes and females displayed lower numbers of vitellogenic oocytes. Gonadal histology showed that all maturation stages of testicles and ovaries were present at the two study sites but fish males from the polluted site had smaller diameter seminiferous tubules. Water chemical analysis confirmed greater presence of EDCs in the river downstream the industrial WWTP. The chemicals benzotriazole and benzothiazole could be partially responsible for the observed alterations in the reproductive biology of S. laietanus.


Endocrine disruption Benzotriazole Benzothiazole Gonadal histology Female fecundity Desynchronised spawning 



We thank J. Correas and E. Prats for their help at the microscopy laboratories of the University of Barcelona. Thanks also to J. D. Rodríguez-Teijeiro for the assistance and help in the field. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The authors are grateful to three anonymous reviewers and Víctor Bonet for the English review.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Renewable Marine ResourcesInstitute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and ImmunologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain

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