Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

Biological Bulletin






Aquaporins play distinct roles for water transport in fishes as they do in mammals—both at the cellular, organ, and organismal levels. However, with over 32,000 known species of fishes inhabiting almost every aquatic environment, from tidal pools, small mountain streams, to the oceans and extreme salty desert lakes, the challenge to obtain consensus as well as specific knowledge about aquaporin physiology in these vertebrate clades is overwhelming. Because the integumental surfaces of these animals are in intimate contact with the surrounding milieu, passive water loss and uptake represent two of the major osmoregulatory challenges that need compensation. However, neither obligatory nor regulatory water transport nor their mechanisms have been elucidated to the same degree as, for example, ion transport in fishes. Currently fewer than 60 papers address fish aquaporins. Most of these papers identify “what is present” and describe tissue expression patterns in various teleosts. The agnathans, chondrichthyans, and functionality of fish aquaporins generally have received little attention. This review emphasizes the functional physiology of aquaporins in fishes, focusing on transepithelial water transport in osmoregulatory organs in euryhaline species – primarily teleosts, but covering other taxonomic groups as well. Most current knowledge comes from teleosts, and there is a strong need for related information on older fish clades. Our survey aims to stimulate new, original research in this area and to bring together new collaborations across disciplines.


© 2015 by Marine Biological Laboratory. Authors are allowed to post a copy of their article on their non-commercial institutional repository following a twelve (12) month embargo period. Article obtained from Biological Bulletin.