Sitting with Dr. William L. FinkWELCOME TO OPEFE ARCHIVES

 

Visiting Dr. William L. Fink, University of Michigan

June 2006

 

 

 

 

Few people have had such an impact on my life as this scientist and gentleman. He gave my family and me a tour of his laboratory, The Neotropical Division at the University of Michigan during a recent visit. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of specimens in bottles, he also took special pains to educate my son Mario and teach him about the mysteries of fish collection and why Comparative Anatomy is such a fascinating career in ichthyology. We spent hours going through 2 story high shelves, while Bill told us something about each specimen that caught our eyes.

 

Of course, I examined hundreds of bottles containing piranhas in preservative including some over 100 year old specimens in formalin. A few were in huge trunks! I also saw bottles labeled as being from Brian Scott (TFH) which had quite a few P. nattereri from Peru often commonly called Super Reds. Below are a few photos out of many we took showing the interior of his work area. I had some difficulty in properly identifying some of the specimens and Fink intimated that he and Dr. Antonio Machado had laid out many specimens supposedly of the same species together with the same problems. There is so much diversity in these fish species.

 

INSIDE UMMZ

LABORATORY PHOTO

LABORATORY PHOTO

LABORATORY PHOTO

COMPUTER FOR NEODAT

EXAMINATION TABLE

Thousands of bottles of fish in formalin in several large rooms. NEODAT computer (4GB).  Lab table used for examining specimens.

 

S MANUELI

HOLOTYPE S HASTATUS

UNDESCRIBED PIRANHAS

NAMEPLATE DR. WILLIAM L. FINK

SAYING OUR GOODBYES

Large S. manueli (14 inch SL), S. hastatus (holotype)... Giant trunkful of undescribed species from Dr. M. Goulding... Dr. Fink door plaque... Posing with the professor.

 

 

S. serrulatus specimens PRESERVEDUnless you see the huge collection of piranhas with your own eyes, you cannot come to appreciate how much we need to learn what those problems are. Certainly, piranha identification is going to be a huge undertaking that may not happen in my lifetime and for sure one person will not be able to do it without the proper training in that field.

 

From the deepest of my heart, I remain grateful to Dr. Fink for taking the time to give us this tour. I sincerely hope that one day we can meet again for more time than I had to visit due to my travel itinerary constraints.

 

 

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