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spinecheek anemonefish

Tag, You're It

Scientists have long been able to tag animals on land and follow their movements and habits. But tagging and tracking fish, like this spinecheek anemonefish,  through vast oceans is a Herculean task. Tagging fish larvae less than an inch in length had proved almost impossible. WHOI biologist Simon Thorrold, director of the Ocean Life Institute, is among the international team using TRansgenerational Isotope Labeling (TRAIL) and DNA fingerprinting to determine how fish populations disperse and connect to one another in the reefs of Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. Such information is essential for identifying critical marine habitats that should be set aside to protect fish populations that are coming under increasing pressure from fishing and habitat destruction.

(Photo by Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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