Fish Stymie Scientists, Facebook to the Rescue

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

If you're stuck in the jungle and you need research help fast, learned Oregon State University researchers, social networking may help, says the university:

A team of scientists in the remote Cuyuni River basin in Guyana was conducting a fish biodiversity survey recently, when they ran into a problem - they had to identify more than 5,000 specimens in less than a week in order to obtain a permit to export them back to the United States for further study.

Their solution? Why, Facebook, of course.

The researchers posted photos of about a hundred different species on their Facebook pages and alerted their friends. Within 24 hours, they had identified 90 percent of the specimens.

"I'm a scientist and many of my friends are scientists," said Brian Sidlauskas, an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at Oregon State University, who led the expedition. "The request went through this network of ichthyologists and the response was amazing.

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