Researcher in fish toxicology sets a unique record

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Chennai, Dec 10 (UNI) Seeli Balaji, a researcher in fish toxicology has collected otoliths, a small structure behind the eye of fish, from 92 species found in the sea water in the coasts in and around Chennai city, a feat that would bring her closer to her dream of getting into the Guinness Books of Records.

Exhibiting her impressive collection, along with scientific details and photographic enlargements of microscopic images of the otolith at Vel's Science College here, Ms Balaji told UNI here today that no one has so far collected so many otoliths.

''This record does not exist in the books. I am attempting to achieve a completely new record'', she said.

''The otolith is a fascinating part of the fish ear. It is a calcareous structure found just below the brain. It not only helps the fish to hear, but also acts as a balancing organ.

What would be of interest to scientists is the fact that just like the rings on the trunk of a tree can tell its age, the otolith also has rings which indicate the age of these fish, characteristics of the fish'', she explained.

''I have been collecting them from 1996'', she said adding ''it is a very difficult task to collect from different species of fish within ten years''.

Ms. Balaji said her interest in fish began accidentally when she worked on a fisheries-related project for her undergraduate studies.


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