Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM
THE SCIENCE AND ART OF FORAMINIFERA
Unprecedented advances in the creation and manipulation of high-resolution 3D-images lead to new ways of analysing data and teaching in many fields of science. These images not only revolutionize science, but also help to involve non-major students in the sciences, to communicate science to the broader community, and to integrate science and art. X-ray tomography provides raw images used to create the 3D-models, and to show the outside shape of an object as well as its internal structure in detail. The basic information needs to be processed in a specialised software package in order to generate the 3D model, extract the scientific information, and create video documentation to visualise the models. The videos can be used for display and communication of science, but are not easily manipulated by the user. Recently, however, it has become possible to convert the 3D-model (with loss of resolution) into a pdf file which can be widely accessed and used (1). The models in the 3D-pdf files can be rotated and enlarged, the external and internal structure of the object evaluated, and tomographic images (cross sections) generated. The availability of such 3D-pdf files can greatly assist or even transform instruction of any topic in which 3D structure of objects should be understood (e.g., many fields of geoscience). As examples of images obtained by synchrotron radiation X-ray tomography at the Tomographic Microscopy and Coherent Radiology Experiments beamline at the Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland), we show 3D models of benthic and planktic foraminifera (including pdfs). The models allow us to obtain information on test formation (e.g., mode of reproduction, rate of growth of chambers, porosity of the wall, or formation of lamellae in the wall) and evaluate preservation before trace element and isotopic analysis (2). In addition, we show that 3D images are stunningly beautiful and may be used in artistic endeavors and displays of museum specimens.
1. Lautenschlager, S., 2013. Palaeontology in the third dimension. Palaeontol. Z., doi 10.1007/s12542-013-0184-2
2. Foster, L. C., Schmidt, D. N., Thomas, E., Arndt, S., and Ridgwell, A., 2013. Surviving rapid climate change in the deep-sea during the Paleogene hyperthermals. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 110: 9273-9276, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1300579110