A scan of the spotfin hatchetfish (Thoracocorax stellatus).
A scan of the spotfin hatchetfish (Thoracocorax stellatus).

Nearly 25,000 species of fish live on our planet, and a University of Washington professor wants to scan and digitize them all.

That means each species will soon have a high-resolution, 3-D visual replica online, available to all and downloadable for free. Scientists, teachers, students and amateur ichthyologists will be able to look at the fine details of a smoothhead sculpin’s skeleton, or 3-D print an exact replica of an Arctic alligatorfish.

“These scans are transforming the way we think about 3-D data and accessibility,” said Adam Summers, a UW professor of biology and aquatic and fishery sciences who is spearheading the project.

The CT scanner used in the project was purchased with the support of the UW College of the Environment and private donations. The scanner is available free of charge to researchers and students at Friday Harbor Laboratories as part of the Karel F. Liem Bioimaging Facility. Contact Adam Summers for more information.

Read more at UW Today »