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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Crepet, William [1], Nixon, Kevin [2], Riccio, Mark [3], Gandolfo, Maria [4], Daghlian, Charles [5], Grimaldi, David [6].

An emerging potentially cost effective technology for imaging botanical specimens.

Studying structure in certain kinds of fossils can be problematical due to the mode of preservation or rarity of specimens. For example, silica petrifactions require laborious and information wasting sectioning methods or risky hydrofluoric acid peel techniques. And, fossils preserved in amber, while visually spectacular, can be difficult to study in a non destructive fashion. Other kinds of fossils, if rare enough, also raise the difficulty of destroying key specimens in order to obtain valuable structural information. While representative organs of extant plants are either not rare or less uncommon, availability can be an issue in certain taxa. Even commonly available taxa may have organs with structural features that make conventional preparations difficult or time consuming. One way around some of these issues has been found in synchrotron based imaging methods. Yet such approaches, while effective, are expensive and availability is restricted to a handful of institutions. In contrast, a new technology—XXX computed tomography (XXX-CT) with spatial resolution of 1um-25 um, is becoming available that may greatly expedite studies of anatomy and morphology in living and fossil specimens for which previous investigatory techniques have been inadequate, time consuming, or prohibitively expensive. We herein present XXX-CT analyses of a selection of modern and fossil specimens in various modes of preservation to illustrate the potential this technique. Included examples of amber preserved fossil flowers of Turonian (Cretaceous) age from New Jersey USA reveal details of Fagalean diversity early in the history of the order. The availability of XXX computed tomography may signal a sea change in how morphology and anatomy are studied and may provide valuable new structural comparative data to complement and perhaps balance the masses of valuable data now available on gene sequences that are predominantly used in phylogeny reconstruction.

Broader Impacts:
This methology has potentially significant applications in education and public outreach.

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1 - Cornell University, L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Department of Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
2 - Cornell University, L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Department of Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library, Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA
3 - Cornell University, Department of BioMedical Sciences, Weill Hall B48, Ithaca, NY, 14853
4 - Cornell University, L.H. Baliey Hortorium, Department of Plant Biology, 410 Mann Library, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
5 - Dartmouth Medical School, Department of Pathology, 7605 Remsen Hall, Hanover, NH, 03755
6 - American Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology, New York, NY, 10024

XXX-CT scan
sea change.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 32
Location: 555A/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: 32004
Abstract ID:813

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