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Major review of young fish research methods

Dr Starrs (left) pointing out to Dr Fulton the healthy shape of a female purple-spotted gudgeon ready to breed in an aquarium experiment after her eggs were chemically marked.

Dr Danswell Starrs recently completed a PhD through the Australian National University, supervised by Dr Chris Fulton and also TropWATER researcher Brendan Ebner. As part of his doctorate, Dr Starrs has published a number of papers centered on innovations in marking freshwater fish larvae by injecting chemical markers into mothers. The icing on the cake has been the recent publication of a comprehensive literature review of methods used to learn about the biology and ecology of young fish based on extracting information from fish ear bones.

The paper is now in early view with the prestigious journal Biological Reviews and draws on information across 476 publications including marine, estuarine and freshwater studies. Dr Starrs notes that investigating the ecology of the early life stages of fish can be notoriously difficult, and that the structure and composition of their ear bones has provided a real key to unraveling some of the mysteries of what different fish species get up to before they grow up.


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