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January 24, 2013
Fish Facts: What's an Otolith? - 0
by Todd Kuhn
A fish's ear bone, or otolith, lets them orient themselves (relative to their surroundings) in water. Think of the otolith as somewhat of a compass for them. Within these ear bones, growth rings form, much like those of trees.
Through analysis of these rings, researchers can compare current fishes growth rates against those of the historical archives. By linking these growth rates to historical climate data, researchers can determine how climate change and environmental conditions impact commercially-important species.