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River herring

Wee Herring

These are tiny larvae of river herring. Herring used to run up coastal streams in far great numbers in springtime, returning from the ocean to spawn in fresh water. But their populations have plummeted. Two herring species, alewives and blueback herring, are critical components of the marine food web, consumed by marine life and harvested by fishermen. To find ways to help conserve herring, WHOI biologist Joel Llopiz studies the critical larval stage in their life history, about which less is known. A key to Llopiz's research are tiny clacium carbonate stones, called otoliths, that grow from birth in the fishes' heads. (Photo by Joel Llopiz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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