Katja Anttila

Cardio-physiological and epigenetic responses of rainbow trout to interacting environmental stressors

My research is focused on ecological physiology of fish and more specifically how different fish species can respond to environmental warming, eutrophication and environmental toxins (e.g. crude oil spills) and especially their interactions. The responses are studied from cellular level to population level taking account also epigenetic influences. Linked to these purposes I am also studying how the fisheries industry/aquaculture could be improved from both fish and environmental health point of view and also from production point of view.

The research is important both internationally and nationally since these environmental conditions have been shown to affect fish from tropics to arctic regions. Furthermore, the molecular bases and especially their interactions for these characters and epigenetic effects remains scarcely studied. Nationally in Baltic Sea these environmental challenges are profound. Baltic Sea is one of the most contaminated seas in the world and its temperature has been greatly influenced by climate change and it is expected to be one of the world’s seas most affected by climate change. Furthermore, 60,000 oil tankers passes through its shallow waters annually, thus, the probability for oil accident is especially high in this area. My research will, thus, produce knowledge also for fisheries purposes for making predictions with bioinformatics about distribution of the fish in different climate change and eutrophication scenarios.

The specific projects are:

Molecular basis of thermotolerance

It has been shown that cardiac function could the limiting factor of the thermotolerance in several fish species. In this project we will investigate at cardiac molecular level that which molecular factors limit the function of the heart at high temperatures. Besides heart we will also compare other tissues between individuals with high and low thermotolerance.  

Climate change, eutrophication and environmental toxins – interacting effects on molecular physiology of fish

The purpose of the project is to investigate the physiological responses of the fish to different environmental problems and especially their interactions. The focus will be on climate change, eutrophication (hypoxia/anoxia) and oil disasters. In the project we will study how the physiological tolerance levels of fish change in different kind of exposures and do the environmental problems have synergistic or antagonistic effects on the capacity of fish to tolerate the stressors. Moreover, at cellular level we will investigate which factors are connected to the possible changes in the tolerance levels. Furthermore, the epigenetic influence will be also taken into consideration.

FitSmolt– aiming for robust smolts

The purpose of this project is to investigate the ways to increase the survival rate of farmed Atlantic salmon smolts when they are transferred to sea to grow. The project will hold three different parts: 1) the physiological comparison of wild and farmed smolts, 2) could the selection for higher swimming capacity increase other physiological capacities at the same time – and increase the survival rate and 3) influence of training on different physiological capacities and thereafter on survival.



Mikko Nikinmaa –University of Turku

Anthony Farrell –University of British Columbia

Guy Claireaux Université de Bretagne Occidentale

Matti Vornanen –University of Eastern Finland

Erika EliasonUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Harald Takle –Marine Harvest ASA

Sven-Martin Jørgensen –Nofima AB

Miriam Götting –University of Turku

Ilkka Heinonen –University of Turku/University of Western Australia

Eila Seppänen - Natural Resources Institute Finland




Contact information:

Section of Animal Physiology
Department of Biology
University of Turku
FI-20014 Turku

tel: +358 2 333 5787
Email: katja.anttila[at]utu.fi



20014 Turun yliopisto, Finland
Tel. +358 29 450 5000

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