The Life History Service brings together in one space all the necessary equipment to analyze life history parameters -mainly in fish- as well as expert staff, skilled in the different offered techniques.
The Life History Service revolves around four key areas:

  • Histology: production of histology blocks and tissue slides, stained or not. It is specialized in paraffin sectioning of fish gonads (3.5 microns) and routine staining with hematoxylin-eosin. Embedding and cut in resin and other stains are also offered on-demand. The histology lab is equipped with a Leica TP 1020 processor, Leica EG 1160 embedder, Leica RM 2155 microtome and Leica XL Autostainer, two Memmert stoves, fume hoods, two chemical storage cabinets and chemical warehouse for formalin-fixed tissues storage and tissue bank.
  • Bioenergetics: quantification of energy (calories or kilojoules) of several tissues of marine organisms by calorimetric method. Estimation of the quality of fish eggs by calorimetry or dry weight. The laboratory is equipped with a 6300 Parr calorimeter analytical scale, two Memmert and one Selecta stoves.
  • Reproductive Parameters: estimation of fish reproductive parameters. It is specialized in microscopic sex determination, maturation, sexual cycle, reproductive strategy and determination of fecundity (by gravimetric or stereological method). The laboratory is equipped with a stereo microscope Leica Z6 APOA with Leica DFC490 digital camera, an optical microscope with motorized stage AMD Leica and Leica DFC320 digital camera, a fluorescence microscope Leica DM 5500B with motorized stage and Leica digital camera DFC310FX.
  • Sclerochronology: determination of the annual age and daily growth in fish otoliths and other hard structures, roasted, burnt or natural, in the whole structure as well as in sections. Sclerochronology lab is equipped with two Leica MZ6 stereo microscopes with digital cameras Leica IC80HD and DFC290HD, a stereo microscope Leica EZ4 HD, a Leica M205C  with digital camera MC190, a fluorescence microscope Leica DM 5500B with motorized stage and Leica digital cameras DFC310FX and DMC4500, a precision sectioning saw Buehler ISOMET 1000 and a twin grinder polisher Buehler MetaServ 250.
  • Image Analysis: measurement, quantification and analysis of structures from histological sections of fish gonads, estimation of fecundity by the auto-diametric method. Dendrochronology studies in fish otoliths. Generation of multifocus images. Generation of microscopic high resolution tiled images. Fluorescence images processing. The service is equipped with Leica Q-Win v 3.4 software, LAS and LASX (Modules: Macro Editor, Advanced Analysis, Store and Recall, Multistep, Macro runner, Interactive measurement, Live measurement, Live Image Builder XYZ, Multifocus and Extended annotation), Govocitos v2.1, AnalySIS, COFECHA and ARSTAN.


The Life History Service offers the collection, processing and analysis of samples as well as the facilities to be the customers themselves who process the samples, always in strict compliance with the use regulations of the service.

The way used for this service to set the contractual relationships with customers is the Assay Application Form. If there were specific requirements, must be specified in the Application Form. The Assay Application Forms may be downloaded directly from the website, assay application form or requested by email to Applications must be sent, fully filled in, signed and scanned, by email to the address shl@iim.csic.esApplications will be handled in strict order of arrival. Once the application is received, a communication with the estimated time to hand the results over to the customer, will be sent.

You can request extra advice on the collection and preservation of samples as well as the techniques and appropriate methods for estimating the parameters required in each case.

The Life History Service offers special prices for customers who have contractual relationship with the CSIC. Check prices on the following link, prices.

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