Navigation Links
'Library of Fishes' to feature thousands of specimens from remote locations
Date:6/7/2011

The stories they could tell, these fishes that once swam the ocean deep and are now in jars and bottles.

In the 1960s and '70s, Richard Rosenblatt, a marine biologist at California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), set out on field expeditions to remote places to study the fishes of the Pacific Ocean.

During trips south to Mexican waters, Rosenblatt and other scientists retrieved hundreds of specimens of various species.

Most were incorporated into the Scripps Marine Vertebrate Collection (MVC), a fish archive used by scientists around the world.

The collections formed the basis of studies on the systematics of marine fishes by Rosenblatt and others. But due primarily to a lack of space at SIO, much of the treasure trove remained unsorted.

These and more recent collections of fishes now number more than 400 inside containers big and small.

A decade ago, the MVC moved to a new location on the SIO campus, providing the needed space to process the samples.

"Each of these containers could include a couple of different species, or dozens in some cases, but from a collection or a scientific perspective, we don't know what's in those jars," said marine biologist Phil Hastings, who took over as curator of the fish collection from Rosenblatt in 1999.

"They potentially provide new data on the diversity, distribution and abundance of fishes throughout the region, but until they are fully processed they are of limited scientific value."

He'll soon find out what's in those jars.

Thanks to an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Hastings and colleagues have begun opening the mysterious containers.

"This unique collection from historical and remote locations may hold insights into understanding biodiversity and ecosystem changes in the ocean's pelagic zone," said Anne Maglia, program director in NSF's Division of Biological Infrastructure, which awarded the grant.

A pelagic zone is any water in a sea or lake that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore.

"By rescuing and digitizing these irreplaceable specimens," Maglia said, "the data they hold will become available to researchers around the world studying systematics, biogeography, and environmental change."

Scripps graduate student Grant Galland, for example, will use the specimens to further his research on historical changes in fish communities in the Gulf of California.

Galland has conducted field work in many of the same areas as Rosenblatt's historical expeditions, and will compare how today's marine environment has changed over the past 40 years or more.

Also through the NSF award, SIO staff members will scan and post in the collection's online database catalog records and handwritten field notes made at the time specimens were gathered in the wild.

These often provide information about the habitat, environmental conditions at the time of capture, other species observed in the area, and descriptions of freshly caught fishes.

The NSF award also will allow Hastings to archive more than 27,000 fish specimens from remote areas of the ocean.

The specimens, collected by scientists working across 2,000 locations in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, were recently acquired as "orphans" from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, part of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service.

The NSF award also will boost the technological capabilities of the Marine Vertebrate Collection.

A high-tech X-ray machine will generate digital files of specimens to allow fish scientists from near and far to study detailed anatomical features, such as the number of fin rays and vertebrae and details of bone structure of the specimens.

"When [pioneer Scripps ichthyologist] Carl Hubbs made film-based radiographs here at Scripps in the 1950s, he had to wait for the film to be developed to see if the image turned out," said Hastings. "This new machine gives us that same information in about 30 seconds and at a much higher resolution."

Students will work on sorting, identifying and cataloguing fishes.

"They'll be studying not only the taxonomy of fishes," said Hastings, "but experiencing how a natural history collection works."

And, on a larger scale, how the ocean itself functions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Selected journals in Springers Chinese Library of Science join SpringerOpen
2. ASCB launches The Cell: An Image Library to inspire discovery and improve human health
3. Building a digital library for life on Earth
4. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Invests $25,000 to Support Bring Me A Books San Jose Elementary School Library Initiative
5. IEEE Launches Major Upgrade of IEEE Xplore(R) Digital Library
6. Glencoe Software to Support the ASCB Stimulus Grant to Build Virtual Image Library of the Cell
7. ASCB wins NIH stimulus grant to build virtual library of cell images for researchers and public
8. Academy Library accepted to prestigious Biodiversity Heritage Library
9. P[acman]-generated fruit fly gene library: A new research tool
10. American Library Association names NJIT prof’s Whale Music book a top ten
11. Jump in communication skills led to species explosion in electric fishes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Library of Fishes' to feature thousands of specimens from remote locations
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is ... partnership with VoicePass. By working together, ... experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different ... engines increases both security and usability. ... excitement about this new partnership. "This ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung ... global partnership that will provide end customers with a ... and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated electronic ... showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 for ... Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug Information ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ReportsnReports.com ... report to its pharmaceuticals section with historic and ... and much more. Complete report on ... pages, profiling 15 companies and supported with 261 ... http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . The Global Cell ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... their offering. The global ... billion in 2013. The market is expected to grow at a ... 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 billion in ... forecast period (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As well, new products ...
Breaking Biology Technology: