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Simon R. Thorrold


Born in New Zealand, Simon Thorrold received his B.S. from the University of Auckland, and Ph.D. from James Cook University, North Queensland, Australia. He traveled far across the Pacific and North America, to the Caribbean Marine Research Center and Old Dominion University, Virginia. He came to WHOI in 2001, half a world from his birthplace. With this history, it is maybe not surprising that he studies travel in marine fish. Using geochemical markers, he traces dispersal, migration, and population dynamics of marine invertebrates and fish, including clownfish. He has developed methods of correlating the chemical composition of fish ear bones with the water fish live in and travel through. With much of his work in the South Pacific and Caribbean, Simon has been on many cruises, logging 1000 hours of scuba diving and 800 hours in tropical environs.

Simon Thorrold

Tracking Fish to Save Them

Tracking Fish to Save Them

For decades, the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) was one of the most sought-after fish species in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, from the Bahamas to Central America. These large, delicious fish live among coral reefs and have a breeding behavior that makes them especially vulnerable. They come together in aggregations of thousands to spawn at specific times and places, making them easy to catch—and to overfish.

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The Secret Lives of Fish

The Secret Lives of Fish

“We have found that otoliths of fish born in each of the five natal estuaries had different, unique isotope and element compositions, or “signatures.” All their lives, these fish had carried a natural tag, encoding the location where they were hatched.

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