Bone detection in fish stomach using stains, UV lights...

From:Melanie Caron

Greetings everyone,

We are trying to develop a protocol in order to help us detect fish
vertebrae/bone remains in Rainbow Trout stomachs for a predation study in
the Colorado River, Grand Canyon.  We now have 6000 trout stomachs
preserved in ethanol to analyze and are hoping to find a technique that
will allow us to easily detect bones in stomachs that also contain aquatic
insects, algae and detritus.
Does anyone know a staining protocol that will only stain bones (obviously
not for in vivo) and not stain other organic material?
We have tried Alizarin red but unfortunately aquatic insects also soak-up
the stain, which make this method useless for our purposes.
Are bones fluorescent to UV light or other sources of light?

Any help, suggestions, references would be greatly appreciated,

Melanie Caron

Melanie Caron
Grand Canyon Monitoring & Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2255 N. Gemini Drive, Rm 428-D
Flagstaff, AZ  86001  USA
928.556.7284 (office)
928.556.7365 (fax)

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