Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


Gregor Cailliet


gill, ILCM, remodeling

Subject Areas



In this thesis, the phenomenon of gill remodeling discovered in several species of fish is explored. Gill remodeling is achieved through an increase or decrease in cells within the interlamellar space, termed the interlamellar cell mass (ILCM). The effect of the ILCM on flow is explored using a theoretical model gill section. The model gill section was compared in three states: full ILCM, half ILCM, and clear (no ILCM). Differences in surface area, total flow, flow velocities, oxygen uptake, and available oxygen were compared between the three conditions. All parameters were distinctly larger for the model without the ILCM indicating that the ILCM is a significant barrier to flow and oxygen uptake.

The ability of mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, to remodel its gills was explored experimentally through manipulation of temperature and salinity. Gambusia affinis were placed in aquaria that varied in temperature from 8°C to 26°C or in salinity from 0 psu to 20 psu. The ability of G. affinis to remodel its gills in response to temperature changes was confirmed. G. affinis had significantly larger respiratory surface area at the highest temperature due to a reduced ILCM and a significantly lower respiratory surface area at the lowest temperature due to an increase in the ILCM. Salinity was not shown to be a significant trigger of gill remodeling.