Comparison of micro-CT scanning and traditional dissections for cirrate octopods

Presenting Author: Morag Taite

Authors: Morag Taite [1], Jim Drewrey [2], Jonathan Ablett [3] and Louise Allcock[1]

1. School of Natural Sciences and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
2. Marine Scotland, Aberdeen, Scotland.
3. Division of Invertebrates, Natural History Museum, London, UK

Comparison of micro – CT scanning and traditional dissections for cirrate octopods

Computed tomography (CT) scanning allows for accurate 3D imaging of specimens and their internal structures in a non – invasive, non – destructive manner, which is particularly important for precious specimens, i.e. type specimens or for rare or difficult sample specimens such as cirrate octopods.
When successful, micro – CT scans of specimens allow for the identification of characters without the need for dissections. We aim to compare the information gained from micro – CT scans of cirrate specimens to that of traditional dissections with regards to the time and effort required to process a sample and the information gained on the position and size of organs. Twenty – two cirrate specimens were CT scanned at the Imagine Centre in the Natural History Museum of London. Visualisation of the CT scans and three – dimensional renderings of the internal organs were obtained using manual segmentation. Of the 22 specimens, we succeeded in obtaining usable micro – CT scans from only eight specimens, due to issues with specimen preservation, the resolution of the CT scans and movement of specimens during scans. Therefore, careful consideration must be taken when choosing micro – CT scans over traditional dissections, due to the limitations of this method. Depending on the objectives, one method may be more informative than the other, for example as micro – CT scanning allows for visualisation of the organs in as natural state as possible it may help determine the function of an organ and the exact shape, volume and position. However, traditional dissections are more useful for visualisation of small characters, i.e. the optic nerve in cirrates.

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