How Does a Fish Get Its Shape? Students Explore Smithsonian National Fish Collection to Find Answers

Student Angelly Tovar, Professor Peter Wainwright and student Victoria Susman hold fish skulls in the Wainwright Lab.. David Slipher/UC Davis
Student Angelly Tovar, Professor Peter Wainwright and student Victoria Susman hold fish skulls in the Wainwright Lab. Photo Credit: David Slipher/UC Davis

For the past three summers, Peter Wainwright, his graduate students and a select number of undergraduates have journeyed to the National Museum of Natural History’s Museum Support Center, located just outside of Washington D.C., to collect data from preserved specimens in the National Fish Collection. In total, the team, working in conjunction with Assistant Professor Samantha Price of Clemson University, generated a dataset on 6,000 species and 16,000 individual specimens. The collection efforts were supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.