Seahorses: Unusual and strange parents

On Friday, September 27 at 10.30 everybody is welcome to join a guest seminar by Francisco Otero-Ferrer "Seahorses: Unusual and strange parents". It takes plce at Ravila 14b (Tartu), seminar room at 2nd floor.

Seahorses, pipefishes and their exotic cousins the sea dragons, belong to a large group of species known as the Syngnathidae – name referring to the fused jaws they all possess. Seahorses are widely distributed throughout tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world, but can be found as far north as Canada and even in the river Thames. Their unusual shape and behaviour has led to them being overexploited commercially by the traditional medicine, aquarium trade and as ornamental curios, producing a global regression of wild populations.

On the other hand, their upright posture while swimming and their prehensile tail make people not think of them as fish. However, seahorses are indeed fishes and their reproductive biology is unique among vertebrate species. Most of seahorse species are monogamous with paternal care refined to such a degree that the males actually become pregnant. With this particular reproductive behaviour, seahorses can be one of the most promising models for studying the effects of pre- and post-conception nutritional changes in reared-marine fish species.

Francisco Otero-Ferrer is a  Researcher in Marine Habitats at the Institute of Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems in Las Palmas (Spain). He obtained his PhD in marine science (University of Las Palmas), studying the reproduction and ecology of seahorses.  He also participated in several European initiatives employing these fish as biological models to study"fathers-foetal relationship". Meanwhile, he has long been involved, through research and professional activities, in multidisciplinary sectors (aquaculture, technical diving and museums) in various countries, always related to environmental management and marine sciences.

The seminar is organized by the ERA Chair of Translational Genomics at the University of Tartu (European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 668989).


Oliivika Zeiger
Project assistant
The ERA Chair of Translational Genomics
Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
Tel: +372 737 4426, +372 5345 6349