IMPRESS – Improved production strategies for endangered freshwater species

Comparison of sperm motility subpopulation structure among wild anadromous and farmed male Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) parr using a CASA system

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is an endangered freshwater species that needs help to recover its wild stocks. However, the priority in aquaculture is to obtain successful fertilisation and genetic variability to secure the revival of the species. The aims of the present work were to study sperm subpopulation structure and motility patterns in wild anadromous males and farmed male Atlantic salmon parr. Salmon sperm samples were collected from wild anadromous salmon (WS) and two generations of farmed parr males. Sperm samples were collected from sexually mature males and sperm motility was analysed at different times after activation (5 and 35 s).

Differences among the three groups were analysed using statistical techniques based on Cluster analysis the Bayesian method. Atlantic salmon were found to have three sperm subpopulations, and the spermatozoa in ejaculates of mature farmed parr males had a higher velocity and larger size than those of WS males. This could be an adaptation to high sperm competition because salmonid species are naturally adapted to this process. Motility analysis enables us to identify sperm subpopulations, and it may be useful to correlate these sperm subpopulations with fertilisation ability to test whether faster-swimming spermatozoa have a higher probability of success.

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