This article comes from “Tide Bites”, the monthly newsletter of UW Friday Harbor Laboratories. “Scanning All Fish!”, by Adam Summers, with Kory Evans-Jackson and Malorie Hayes: read the full article at the FHL website.
Recently, FHL became home to the Karel F. Liem Bio-Imaging Center. The centerpiece of the shared research facility is a very capable micro-source CT scanner from Bruker, a model 1173. The scanner can image radio-dense tissue at resolution as fine as 5 microns, and because of variable magnification geometry it can also image specimens about the size of two grapefruits. Having the machine right down the hall from my office led to experimentation with high-speed workflow. And that led to a project called #scanAllFish. Born from a series of tweets from @fishguy_FHL, the idea is to CT-scan every species of fish and put all the data up on the web for everyone to access free of charge. We aim to democratize CT data and ensure that in this corner of vertebrate comparative morphology, access to a scanner is not a competitive advantage. The Foundations who donated the bulk of the money to buy the machine asked that it be available to anyone who is visiting FHL, free of charge. This generosity enables the #scanAllFish project. Our strategy is to offer scan time to scientists who have a large diversity of species they want scanned. They bring lots of specimens and a small team to the Labs and spend an intensive few days or weeks scanning everything they are interested in. People have come from around the country to take advantage of the offer, and in the process we have scanned over 1,200 species of fishes. You can read more about the project by searching the web for #scanAllFish — it has made a small media splash. If you’d like to help support Adam’s goal of scanning all fish, you can donate to the Karel F Liem Fish Biology Endowment which supports the Karel F. Liem Bio-Imaging Facility at FHL.