Researchers are using the GIGAmacro System to examine discoveries and conduct new entomology research in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The technology provides new methods of documenting, exploring, comparing, presenting, and sharing specimens with other researchers worldwide. The research is part of a collaborative effort between GIGAmacro, Carnegie Mellon University/Gigapan, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History, to enable new research and science through gigapixel imaging technologies. The research is led by John Rawlins, Director of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.
Below are a few examples of the research studies and images from the museum collection. The examples are chosen to illustrate new techniques for documentation, imaging samples, comparing specimens, and viewing specimens from multiple perspectives. For more information about the images and specimens, please contact Gene Cooper and/or John Rawlins at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Entomology Research: Documentation and Preservation of Specimens
Documentation of small specimens at the macro/micro level poses two major challenges: 1) having sufficient resolution to examine and study the entire specimen, and 2) having enough depth of field.
These two challenges are overcome with the GIGAmacro imaging process and the GIGAmacro Viewer. The end result is imagery that simultaneously allows researchers to view the specimen in its entirety, with all depths in focus, alongside other areas of the same specimen, or different zoom levels, or alongside another specimen altogether. This level of flexibility in viewing and detailed imagery was not possible using traditional means.
Strewn Sample Imaging
When photographed with gigapixel imaging, strewn samples are dramatically easier to analyze and examine. Documented specimens can be evaluated via online viewing, regardless of location or time of day. This allows for remote researchers and staff to analyze samples that are taken in the field and/or taken from different research labs. Results can be saved, while the reference imagery is already stored for future study. An example of a strewn sample of Bark Beetles is shown below. Using the GIGAmacro Viewer, the same sample can be simultaneously viewed at different magnifications, allowing for a high degree of detail in analyzing the larger sample.
In addition to dorsal and ventral views, specimens can be imaged from any number or combination of perspectives, and then examined in the Viewer. The example below shows how six views of the specimen can be examined at the same time in a single movable image.
Dorsal and Ventral View Comparisons
Use the Viewer to explore the front and back side of selected butterflies, below. The comparison allows researchers to study the patterns and structure of the specimens through the precisely aligned and synchronized images. Use the X-ray Tool to ‘see through’ the top image, or use the Transparency Slider to change the opacity of the entire image.