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Daily Otolith Growth Ring Validation in the California killifish, Fundulus parvipinnis

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Otoliths are a useful tool for understanding the ecology of many fish species. They can be used to identify the location, diet, and temperature conditions the organism lived in, as well as their age. This study is focused on validating the proposed daily otolith increment formation in Fundulus parvipinnis, or the California killifish. By determining the amount of time it takes for F. parvipinnis to deposit a ring on their otolith, the age of any field-captured California killifish can be calculated. From an initial population of thirty captured F. parvipinnis, individuals were sacrificed at approximately two-week intervals to compare the number of days raised in the lab and the number of rings deposited onto the otolith of the fish. During our study, Fundulus parvipinnis expressed an increased number of growth rings, but not at the levels predicted. The average time for the deposition of one ring was noticeably larger than a single day. While our experiment may not have resulted in the way we anticipated, these results still do reveal important information regarding experiments involving F. parvipinnis and their otoliths. Our results indicate a methodological change is needed regarding studying the otoliths of the California killifish. Our experiment remains preliminary and expanding this experiment to a long-term time scale would be beneficial to collect more data and strengthen results.

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Daily Otolith Growth Ring Validation in the California killifish, Fundulus parvipinnis

Otoliths are a useful tool for understanding the ecology of many fish species. They can be used to identify the location, diet, and temperature conditions the organism lived in, as well as their age. This study is focused on validating the proposed daily otolith increment formation in Fundulus parvipinnis, or the California killifish. By determining the amount of time it takes for F. parvipinnis to deposit a ring on their otolith, the age of any field-captured California killifish can be calculated. From an initial population of thirty captured F. parvipinnis, individuals were sacrificed at approximately two-week intervals to compare the number of days raised in the lab and the number of rings deposited onto the otolith of the fish. During our study, Fundulus parvipinnis expressed an increased number of growth rings, but not at the levels predicted. The average time for the deposition of one ring was noticeably larger than a single day. While our experiment may not have resulted in the way we anticipated, these results still do reveal important information regarding experiments involving F. parvipinnis and their otoliths. Our results indicate a methodological change is needed regarding studying the otoliths of the California killifish. Our experiment remains preliminary and expanding this experiment to a long-term time scale would be beneficial to collect more data and strengthen results.