Swim over to the Florida Museum to see fish as you’ve never seen them before! Colorful, high-resolution images showcase the artistic wonders of modern preservation science while real specimens from the museum’s collections showcase their true size. Learn how techniques are changing in this remarkable, growing field and the ways in which natural history collections are becoming more accessible, with a video revealing two of these processes in action. Discover how the openVertebrate Thematic Collection Network (oVert), a collaborative initiative based at the museum, facilitates digital access to CT scans of thousands of specimens from around the world for free public use. iPads with scans of a lined seahorse and shovelnose sturgeon skeleton let guests take an interactive look at these underwater creatures.
- Large colorful images depict the artistic beauty in two unique processes of preserving specimens: clearing and staining and CT scanning.
Behind the Scenes
- A video of museum ichthyologist and imaging lab manager Zach Randall shows both processes and highlights their pros and cons.
- Check out more than a dozen preserved fish specimens from the museum’s collections, including a cichlid, butterfly ray and monkfish.
- The oVert initiative has produced more than 10,000 vertebrate scans that have been viewed more than a million times.
- In another common method of skeletal preparation, scientists place the skinned, dissected and dried specimen into a container with dermestid beetles that eat away the soft tissue, leaving behind just the bones.
- Scientists select skeletal preparation methods based on multiple factors, including the scientific questions being asked, rarity of the specimen, its condition and the cost of the method.
All images and videos in the Inner Beauty exhibit were provided by Florida Museum ichthyologist and imaging lab manager Zach Randall, unless otherwise credited, and CT scans were taken as part of the openVertebrate Thematic Collection Network (oVert), a multi-institutional project funded by the National Science Foundation. The exhibit was funded by oVert (NSF DBI-1701714) and an Understanding the Rules of Life award (NSF 1839915).