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A new paper reveals that the iconic abundance of fishes on reefs is fueled by an unlikely source: tiny, bottom-dwelling reef fishes.

Female scuba diver smiling at the camera under the sea

Katherine Maslenikov, Collections Manager for the Burke's Ichthyology Collection, helps with underwater fieldwork in Roatan, Honduras.

Monacanthus ciliatus, fringed filefish

Burke Museum scientists leading effort to create a digital encyclopedia of 3D vertebrate specimens. 

A new species of goby was discovered while being chased by an invasive lionfish outside of Curacao.


Researchers are uncovering new insights about the early stages of life for several Puget Sound fishes.

open cabinet in the fish collection displaying thousands of preserved fish specimens

From preservation processes to cutting-edge research—the Burke Museum fish collection is a fascinating place to visit!

This collection is comprised of roughly 2.4 million pairs of fish otoliths, representing 83 species in 41 genera and 17 families.

Ichthyology specimens

The Burke’s Ichthyology Collection includes more than 11 million specimens, including adults, juveniles, larvae, eggs, skeletons, tissues, otoliths and scales. Roughly 98% of the Ichthyology Collection is cataloged, databased and available to search.

Ted Pietsch in the Burke fish collections.

Ted Pietsch retired in July after 37 years as Burke Museum curator of fishes and professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

An illustration of the longfin sculpin (Jordania zonope)

In total, 253 fish species have been recorded in the Salish Sea, and that’s about 14 percent more than in the last count.

A deep-sea anglerfish

You thought you had a quirky feature? You’ve got nothing on these fish!

Himantolophus stewarti described by Ted as new to science in 2011.

That’s a face only a mother could love!… Or maybe a scientist.


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