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.
  • Spatial Ecology with acoustic telemetry: All aspects of the biology and ecology of animal species develop in space. Therefore, the study of spatial patterns in ecological processes is vital to achieve efficient and sustainable management of resources, as well as incorporating the spatial and behavioral component into the ecosystem approach to the evaluation and management of fisheries. This service has the necessary equipment and knowledge to develop these studies in marine organisms through acoustic telemetry techniques.


The Life History Service offers both the collection, processing and analysis of the samples as well as the facilities so that the clients themselves process their samples, always under strict compliance with the rules of use of the service. The form used by this service to specify the contractual relations with its clients are the requests form and sent to the email If there is any specific requirement, it must be specified in that request. Trial applications will be met in strict order of arrival. Once the request is received, the estimated time for sending the results will be sent to the client. You can request prior advice on the extraction and preservation of the samples as well as the most appropriate techniques and methods for estimating the parameters required in each case. The Life History Service offers special prices for clients who have a contractual relationship with the CSIC. More information in the CSIC scientific-technical services catalog.

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