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
|Contact: Cheryl Dybas|
National Science Foundation