Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sea Urchins on Digimorph! A new way of looking at sea urchins!

Dr. Alexander Ziegler at the Freie Universitaet Berlin was kind enough to make this very interesting website known to me.

Basically, the Digital Morphology website at the University of Texas at Austin is an NSF-funded digital library of digital morphology and high-resolution X-ray tomography of various animal specimens.

Mostly vertebrates-dinosaurs, fish and such..but there is a significant representation of echinoderms, including Nine sea urchins and one starfish (which is Asterias forbesi misidentified as Pisaster sp.)
Let's take a look!
The website includes crisp, still images, but also many 3D tomographic "slice" animations (formatted as Quicktime movies), some of them show cross-sections through the body wall and cut-aways illustrating internal structures such as the jaw .
You also get some pretty cool 3-D movies that show the critters in astonishing detail in full rotation like so:

But, go see some of these movies for yourself (click on the right side selections for 3D slices, etc.):

The "green sea urchin", Psammechinus miliaris

The "little burrowing urchin" Echinoneus cyclostomus.

The "globe urchin" Mespilia globulus.

The "heart urchin" Moira atropos.

.....and the starfish Asterias forbesi...


Kevin Zelnio said...

Extremely way awesomely cool! Can I digimorph my kids?

Anonymous said...

I'm doing a project on the sea urchin this may be very usesful!