Posting someone else's work might seem like a slack way to produce a blog page, but I hope you'll forgive me. This is just stunning!

Enjoy the passion of Dr Adam Summers of the University of Washington as he talks about his love of clearing and staining, how it is done and what we can learn from these beautiful specimens.

Scientists clear and stain specimens for a number of reasons.  As Dr Summers states in the video "By looking at form we can understand function".  The ossification (turning to bone) of skeletal elements can be investigated by clearing and staining individuals of different ages, and of course the general structure of all the bony and cartilaginous elements provide many important characters used in taxonomic studies.

The Australian Museum ichthyology collection contains nearly 1500 cleared and stained specimens. These are used by scientists worldwide in their ichthyological research.  The video below shows Mark in the collection talking about cleared and stained fishes.