Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


Salinity tolerance changes during larval development and metamorphosis in the summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) and other teleosts. The physiological mechanisms responsible for osmoregulation during these early stages of development are not well understood. This study characterized changes in ultrastructure, intracellular membranes and immunoreactive Na+/K+-ATPase of mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) in the gills of summer flounder during metamorphosis. Gill ultrastructure at the start of metamorphosis revealed only one type of MRC, which had weak reactivity to osmium and lacked a well-defined apical pit. In juveniles, two types of MRCs were observed: light-staining MRCs (LMRCs) with weak reactivity to osmium, and dark-staining MRCs (DMRCs) with strong reactivity to osmium and positioned adjacent to LMRCs. Compared with MRCs at the start of metamorphosis, the mitochondria of juvenile MRCs appeared smaller, with more transverse cristae and electron-dense matrices. Changes in MRCs during metamorphosis were also accompanied by increased immunoreactive Na+/K+-ATPase. These findings suggest that gill MRCs develop during the metamorphosis of summer flounder as the gill takes on an increasingly important osmoregulatory role.


Jennifer L. Specker is affiliated with the Graduate School of Oceanography.

Alex M. Schreiber is affiliated with the Department of Biological Sciences.