Biological Imaging & Functional Morphology
Our imaging research deals with initially visualizing newly discovered species, quantifying morphological variation, and reconstructing lost phenotypes. While some of these projects involve traditional methods such as light microscopy, alternative imaging techniques offer highly informative new avenues for data collection. Through X-ray computed tomography (CT-scanning), it is possible to create three-dimensional reconstructions of specimens from several hundred individual 2D X-ray images. The resulting reconstructions provide improved visibility of external structures and internal tissue (including in some amber fossil specimens). Certain specimens also lend themselves well to laser confocal microscopy, a process that yields high depth detail, something that is often prohibitive in light microscope scenarios. We are especially interested in blending all available imaging resources to extract the maximum amount of information from long-extinct organisms.
Much of this work is done at the American Museum of Natural History Microscopy and Imaging Facility, however we have also utilized a powerful imaging beam line at the Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Photon Source and microCT instruments at the Cornell University Biotechnology Imaging Center.