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University of Washington Professor Wants to Scan Every Fish in Existence (and 3D Print a Few, Too)

by • February 4, 2016 • No Comments

Scan of a tidepool snailcomplete

Scan of a tidepool snailcomplete

If you’ve at any time stood on the shore of the ocean, especially at high tide, you may have noticed every wave carrying in an assortment of glittering completees. Silver or white, translucent or iridescent, the variety is endless, and, unless you are a marine biologist or complete tremendous, it’s unlikely which you’ve been able-bodied to select them all, or in fact any of them. There are somewhere around 30,000 various types of complete on the planet, at an estimate. I can select a few of them, but my complete ID skills are somewhat limited. I’m not too ashamed of this, as in fact scientists who have studied complete for their entire careers have difficulty telling most species apart.

Adam Summers is a professor of comparative biomechanics at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, and his goal is to turn it into a visual catalog of as most complete species as possible, so which anyone who cares to can examine them closely.

adam-summers-labc

Adam Summers [Image: University of Washington]

“I’m via a CT scanner which allows for you to visualize 3-D skeletal maps,” he said. “You see satisfactory more detail which’s amazingly significant for telling one complete of another.”

So far, he has scanned of 40 complete species and uploaded them to his page on the Open Science Framework site. He’s got a long way to go to get to 30,000, but his ambition is high – he intends to “scan ALL the completees.” The project is multipurpose. Many species of complete, particularly those in the same family, appear so much like which it’s only about not effortless to tell them apart, but by studying their skeletal forms, you can see subtle differences in structure which may not seem significant, but in fact show leading differences in how the completees interact with their environment.

Northern clingcomplete [Image: Petra Ditsche, University of Washington]

Northern clingcomplete [Image: Petra Ditsche, University of Washington]

For example, there’s the clingcomplete family. The family comes with over 150 various species, and they all, as their name suggests, cling to things. What they cling to depends on the structure of their pelvic fins, and by studying those structures, Summers can ascertain whether they are a type which clings to rocks, or urchins, or other complete. This is valuable-bodied knowledge of a research standpoint alone, but Summers and his colleagues are in addition interested in studying the structure and behavior of complete to potentially create new innovation.

“I appear for how complete stick to things, complete which burrow, and complete which wear armor,” he said. “…By scanning the clingcomplete, you can see performance on all various dimensions structures.”

The open source format of his study is a excellent way for anyone studying marine biology to augment their research, but it’s in addition a rad resource for kids and adults alike to broaden their knowledge of species diversity. Even those with little or no knowledge of complete can learn a lot – or, if nothing else, one can have a excellent time imagining a hilarious complete name-calling fight. (“Who are you callin’ a slimy sculpin, you fourfingered lipsucker?!”)

"YOU'RE a barred-chin blenny!"

“YOU’RE a barred-chin blenny!”

Summers has in addition been via a 3D printing device to turn it into enlarged printed models of his tiny completees. It is complex to study more detail in a thing so tiny, but with a 3D printing device, it’s effortless to scale a thing up of a scan so which it can be easily examined. Many scientists have been via this method to study tiny fossils and other microscopic specimens; it’s in addition a excellent way to study artifacts without risking injure to the fragile originals.

But not convinced of the relevancy of Summers’ work to your own interests? I’m willing to bet you’ve seen Finding Nemo. The movement and biology of the complete and other marine animals in the movie were largely influenced by Summers, who was contacted by Pixar while working as a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent three years working as an advisor on the movie; without his research, you may nat any time have known how well a complete with a gimpy fin can in fact swim (and only store swimming). What do you ponder of this endeavor? Discuss in the 3D Fish Species Database forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Wired Magazine]