NSF Funding Awarded for the Museum Digitization Effort
The National Science Foundation has awarded support for a team that includes Biodiversity Institute researchers in ornithology and herpetology. The project, “Open Exploration of Vertebrate Diversity in 3D,” or informally, the “scan all vertebrates” project, aims to run 20,000 preserved vertebrate specimens from university and museum collections through computerized tomography, or CT scans, over the next 4 years. Scientists from the 16 participating institutions hope the oVert museum digitization effort will form the backbone of future research in fields such as developmental biology, evolution, and biomimetics. The project will cover about 80% of living vertebrate genera.
KU’s role is mainly to provide specimens from the collections to scanning facilities. Funds awarded to KU for the project will be used to pull specimens from the collections and ship them to facilities with CT scanners. Most of the money will go toward summer support for graduate students who will be completing the required work.