A comparative and evolutionary approach to oxidative stress in fish: A review

Kim Birnie-Gauvin, David Costantini, Steven J. Cooke, William G. Willmore

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Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the antioxidants defences, in favour of the former. In recent years, the association between oxidative processes, environmental change and life histories has received much attention. However, most studies have focused on avian and mammalian taxonomic groups, with less attention given to fish, despite their ecological and socio-economic relevance. Here we present a review of the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence oxidative processes in fish, using a comparative and evolutionary approach. We demonstrate that oxidative stress plays a key role in shaping fish’s responses to environmental change as well as life history strategies. We focus on representative examples to compare and contrast how levels of oxidative stress respond to changes in temperature, salinity and oxygen availability. Furthermore, we describe how emerging threats (i.e. pollution) affect oxidative stress parameters in fish. Oxidative stress indicators are increasingly being used as biomarkers to understand the mechanisms of various human-induced stressors, but also to understand the
physiological consequences of how animals are distributed in space and time and influenced by different life stages. Despite the expansion of the field of ecological oxidative stress, we are only beginning to understand the complex ways in which oxidative stress may interact with both extrinsic and intrinsic factors in fish. We conclude with a research agenda for oxidative research on fish and note that there is need for further research particularly in the area of life history strategies and ecological implications of oxidative status, as this type of research has the potential to help us understand patterns and dynamics relevant to fish conservation
Original languageEnglish
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)928-942
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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