Otoliths are hard structures located in the brain cavity of fish. These structures are formed by a buildup of calcium carbonate within a gelatinous matrix that produces light and dark bands similar to the growth rings in trees. The width of the bands corresponds to environmental factors such as temperature and food availability. As juvenile salmon encounter different environments in their migration to sea, they produce growth increments of varying widths and visible 'checks' corresponding to times of stress or change. The resulting pattern of band variations and check marks leave a record of fish growth and residence time in each habitat type. This information helps Puget Sound restoration by determining the importance of different habitats for the optimal health and management of different salmon populations. The USGS Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) provides otolith research findings directly to resource managers who put this information to work.