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Finding Nemo, and All His Relatives?

November 1, 2004

Institution researchers will spend the next three months in Papua, New Guinea tracking clownfish, the same species made popular in the animated film “Finding Nemo,” as part of population studies. The team will tag all the embryos produced by approximately 150 pairs of adult clownfish living in the reefs of Kimbe Bay, New Britian, track the dispersal of the offspring as they are initially scattered by ocean currents and then return back to the reef to find a host anenome, where they will spend their adult lives. Knowing the natal origins of fish and their migration pathways is critical to fisheries managers and their efforts to sustain economically viable stocks of various species. Clownfish have become a popular species for aquaria, but the techniques WHOI researchers have pioneered can be applied to many other species from salmon to cod.