A fascination with comparative vertebrate biomechanics by a biologist with the University of Washington in Seattle and Friday Harbor has created startling and unique fish art.
Adam Summers, associate director of the UW’s Friday Harbor Lab (in the San Juan Islands in north of Puget Sound), studies the relationship between biochemical aspect of cartilage and its properties. To do so, he dyes the fish with alcian blue to reveal all the cartilage and then with alizarin red, which turns all skeletal tissue a crimson color. Summers lightly bleaches out dark pigments with hydrogen peroxide. Then the biologist photographs the specimens while they are submerged in glycerin.
Summers has used fish from the waters of/around Puget Sound and beyond. This scalyhead sculpin is a north Pacific bottom dweller, and (as evidenced by the dyes) is a bony, not cartilaginous, species. This image appears on Sport Fishing magazine’s final-page department, Last Cast, in the May issue. (This and all images in this gallery are by Adam Summers.)
Compare ths art with a photo of a living scalyhead sculpin.
Copyright © 2014 Sport Fishing Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.