What the Fish? Episode 26: Fin

We here at "What the Fish?" have had a great time discussing all of our favorite fishy things in life, and we hope you have enjoyed the content we put together. We are ending "What the Fish?" on its 26th episode because that marks one year's worth of shows, and it coincides with Beth, Leo, and Matt leaving The Field Museum for other fishy adventures.

What the Fish? Episode 25: Finding Out Dory Is Venomous

Venomous animals are captivating because of the fears their toxins provoke and the potential pharmaceutical benefits their venoms contain. Most people conjure up snakes or scorpions when they think of venomous creatures, but recent scientific work has demonstrated that there are at least 15x as many species of venomous fishes than previously estimated, including the Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) that Ellen DeGeneres made famous in Finding Nemo. In fact, Dory is just one of more than 3,000 species of venomous fishes, making them more species-rich than venomous snakes and scorpions combined. Although our knowledge of venomous fishes is in its infancy, it is clear that their venoms should be regarded as a tremendous new source of pharmaceuticals because of the incredible diversity of fish venoms and their moderate levels of toxicity.  

What the Fish? Episode 24: Leaving the Sea

Within the evolutionary history of vertebrates, the transition from an aquatic environment to a terrestrial habitat significantly impacted the course of vertebrate evolution on Earth. Scientists have been studying this transition intensively from an incredible variety of angles, such as biochemistry, paleontology, functional morphology, and evolutionary relationships of these incredible creatures. In this episode we discuss some of the factors and science that influenced this incredible turning point in vertebrate evolution.

What the Fish? Episode 23: Adventures in Aquaria

While a lot of our research involves museum specimens that have long since expired, we do enjoy taking care of, breeding, and observing live fishes! In this episode we are joined by professional aquarist Steve Ehrlich to discuss the in’s and out’s of the fishkeeping and aquarist hobby. We talk about working behind the scenes at some of the best aquariums in the United States (e.g., Shedd and Birch Aquarium), how to breed and raise fishes, and secrets to maintaining a healthy aquarium at home. Whether you are a beginner looking to get started or an expert fishkeeper, we welcome you to join our fishes school!

What the Fish? Episode 21: Armchair Science

In this episode we welcome special guest Dr. Kevin Tang (Assistant Professor University of Michigan Flint) to discuss a new hypothesis that addresses a longstanding fishy paleontological mystery, the spiral-tooth whorls of the extinct cartilaginous fish species Helicoprion. From there we weave a tangled web of fieldwork parasite paranoia and encounters with large logs.

What the Fish? Episode 20: Under the Ice

On February 15, 2013 a fireball exploded over the Chelyabinsk district of Russia. The shock wave caused significant damage and injuries to many in the area. This meteor was the largest object to fall on Earth in almost 100 years, with an estimated mass of about 11,000 metric tons. On April 9, The Field Museum received several pieces of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite totaling about two pounds thanks to a generous donation from meteorite collector Terry Boudreaux.

What the Fish? Episode 19: Creatures of Light

Creatures of Light is a temporary exhibition that focuses on the incredible diversity of bioluminescent and biofluorescent organisms across the tree of life.  It explores the evolution, function, and habitats of bioluminescent and biofluorescent animals, fungi, and single-cellular life.  This 2013 exhibit will run at The Field Museum from March 7 until September 8.  The exhibit was organized by The American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with The Field Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

What the Fish? Episode 17: Release the Kraken

The recent capture of a living giant squid on video through a joint venture by scientists from Japan and the United States has captured the imagination of people worldwide, providing new insights into the biology and life history of this enigmatic creature. Cephalopod (e.g., squids, cuttlefishes) expert Janet Voight joins us to discuss this discovery, including what we know about giant squid biology so far and what these new videos can teach us about how giant squids hunt and avoid predation themselves. Of course oceanic life is more diverse than just fishes, so this episode we take some time to discuss the various invertebrate denizens of the deep, including cuttlefishes and wood-boring clams.