The laboratory contains a set of preserved collections of threespine stickleback from more than 100 Alaska lakes and streams, and from several British Columbia lakes as well. The Alaska collection, totaling nearly 250,000 specimens in more than 1,500 samples, is a valuable archive for several of our research foci:
- Studies of the evolution of female reproductive traits, especially egg size and clutch size; to date, Clark students have accumulated egg size data from more than 10,000 of the preserved females, for example.
- Investigations into evolution of body shape and size.
- Evolution of armor structures relating to predatory fish.
- Conservation – the archive is an invaluable record of the status of the stickleback in each lake through time, with many of our time series for individual lakes spanning more than 15 years.
Eventually, the entire set of collections will likely be transferred to the new Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska. This museum houses collections and artifacts documenting all major aspects of Alaskan culture, geography, and biology.