TUTORIALS: Fish Stories

Science  13 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5490, pp. 227
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.227b

To learn the life histories of their slippery subjects, fisheries scientists pull out the animals' otoliths—small ear bones with microscopic growth rings. The otoliths' shape and elemental content reveal everything from a fish's species and age to its migratory wanderings. This site offers a thorough introduction to otoliths, from how the growth rings form to various analytical techniques (such as radiochemical dating and laser assays). A section for students includes directions for a high school-level otolith class project.

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