Thursday May 2, 2024


Urea—the main component of human urine—plays an important role in the timing of maturation of sharks, rays and other cartilaginous fish.

A new study by researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries has found that high urea concentrations common in cartilaginous fish, particularly oviparous marine species, allow them to mature and begin to reproduce at a larger fraction of their maximal size.

The work is published in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes.

“It has long been known that cartilaginous fish are late to mature compared to bony fish but our results provide a mechanistic reason as to why this is the case,” said Melanie Warren, who led the study while completing her master’s degree at UBC.

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