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Robot submarine patrols Lake Michigan for climate-change study
Date:6/15/2010

liths, or "ear stones," tiny calcium carbonate structures that grow in the larva. Because the structures grow in layers as the fish age, they possess rings similar to those in trees that can be analyzed under a microscope to gauge the age and growth characteristics of the larvae.

"For example, the distance between growth rings reveals how well they grew in certain periods," Höök said. "We're also looking at the larval diets - what and how much they are eating. There is some consensus that the survival of larval fish has a large impact on the survival of the entire populations of fish species."

The scientists also study larval growth and health by analyzing the ratio of genetic material RNA to DNA.

"In a cell, you have a fixed quantity of DNA, but the amount of RNA changes over time, depending on how much protein the organism is making," Höök said. "If there is a lot of protein synthesis going on, there is a lot of RNA and the larvae are growing well."

Research findings will detail the distribution, growth and survival of young fish. Two graduate students are working with Troy and Höök on the project, which is funded by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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