The Atlantic

Who's Peeing in the Global Pool?

A giant database of the underwater excretions of fish, frogs, and other creatures could help scientists understand the effects of fishing and climate change.
Source: Ian Wade Photography / Getty

Compiling more than 10,000 lines of data on the waste products of aquatic animals, from lake trout to pond insects to ocean shellfish, was more time-consuming than the ecologist Michael Vanni expected. But he didn’t mind. “I love data on fish pee,” he says.

Vanni, of Miami University in Ohio, and his coauthor, Peter McIntyre, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, had plunged into the project for their own research. But they soon realized the giant dataset they put together could be a resource for other scientists

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