Inside Insight: Clearing and Staining Fish

Biomechanists use many high-tech tools such as MRI or CT scanning to visualize the connective tissues of specimens. But for Adam Summers of the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs, none of these methods provide the inspiration that clearing and staining does. Using a cocktail of chemicals, clearing and staining turns soft tissues transparent, while tinting bones and cartilage bright red and blue. Preparing gobies, stingrays, and sharks in this manner has revealed to Summers critical data while allowing him—and us—to appreciate the beauty of each fish’s form.


Produced by Luke Groskin
Filmed by Ryan Hawk
Music by Audio Network
Additional Photos by Adam Summers

Meet the Producer

About Luke Groskin

Luke Groskin is Science Friday’s video producer. He’s on a mission to make you love spiders and other odd creatures.