There’s a problem for scientists trying to understand why populations of southern flounder have been in such decline in the waters of the Texas Gulf.
“They live underwater,” says Benjamin Walther, assistant professor of marine science in the College of Natural Sciences. “We can’t just follow them from birth to death.
You can tag a fish with acoustic or satellite tags when it’s an adult, but typically the young are too small and fragile. So you’re missing that whole big piece of the story. And without that there are a lot of very important ecological questions we can’t answer. That’s where otolith chemistry comes in.”