We thought we’d dig through the archives to see what we were up to in previous Novembers. Enjoy this look at “Limno in the Lab” from four years ago!
Originally posted 11/13/12 – After the spring and summer field seasons, it’s time to return to the lab to work up all the specimens collected in the field. For many grad students at the Center for Limnology, this means days, if not weeks, hunched over a circular sectioning saw and buffing wheel.
What are they doing using equipment more appropriate for a jewelry store? Cutting and polishing fish ear stones, of course.
These ear stones, or otoliths, are small disks of calcium carbonate that grow on either side of a fish’s brain. Much like the inner ear in humans, otoliths help fish hear, sense vibrations, and maintain balance and orientation. While certainly an essential little piece of anatomy for the fish, otoliths are nearly as essential to fisheries researchers. Continue reading