KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Fish biologists are using mammography
equipment to study endangered sucker fish.
Researchers say there are three species of sucker fish in the
Klamath Basin: The Lost River, the Shortnose, and the Klamath
large-scale. The Lost River and Shortnose are on the endangered
Oregon Institute of Technology students in the radiology program
are using digital X-ray machines, normally for breast exams, to
X-ray and identify the sucker fish.
"In this case, the detail that we see with soft tissue in the
breast actually enables us to image the vertebrae in the little
sucker fish. And, in that case, we're actually counting the number
of vertebrae to determine what species of sucker fish they are,"
says Debbie Caldwell with the OIT Medical Imaging Department.
By enlarging the X-rays and confirming with other markers, such as
head shape and lip size, biologists can better estimate the fish
populations. The fish range in size from 3/4 inch to 4.5 inches
This is the second year that the USFW technicians have brought
their fish samples to the OIT radiology lab. By working here, they
avoid a trip to Oregon State University.