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EMU Collections Infrastructure: acquisition of equipment for generating 2D and 3D radiographic anatomical images from the scientific collections of the Department of Biology at FFCLRP, USP, Ribeirão Preto, for availability on the internet

Abstract

The value of biological collections, especially in the current context of accelerated loss of planetary biodiversity, is undoubted. Currently, given the great technological development and popularization of digital media, large databases of biological collections have been made available on the internet, which consequently exponentially increases their visibility and use. In this context, the quality and accuracy of the information contained in biological collections is of extreme importance, and the review of records is a challenge that needs to be faced to qualify the data of the collections, especially in terms of locations and coordinates, and thus enable the linking of reliable information to organisms, enabling fine-scale analyses. Another technological advance that directly affects the use of biological collections is the possibility of making high quality images available in a virtual environment both of the exterior of the biological material, using radiological inspection equipment and micro/nano tomography and computational techniques of reconstruction of 3D models, allowing the virtual dissection of anatomical parts. In view of the above, the present project aims to acquire a set of multi-user equipment for the generation of 2D radiographic images and for the reconstruction of 3D models from the scientific collections of the Department of Biology of the FFCLRP-USP, Ribeirão Preto, for use in research, teaching, and availability on the internet. More specifically, this project aims: a digital radiographic inspection system for quick access to internal anatomical information, especially of the skeleton; set of 6 computer workstations and respective software for segmenting 3D reconstructions generated by the computerized nano/micro CT-Scan; a computer workstation for storing, organizing and making available images related to specimens from the collections on the internet. In addition, we aim to open up the opportunity for specialized human training with the technical training of three TT FAPESP scholarship holders. DB/FFCLRP/USP currently houses fourteen (14) scientific collections, eleven (11) of which are dead/preserved specimen collections, which together hold more than 500,000 specimens distributed in more than 134,000 lots. Each of these collections is associated with a specific research laboratory and respective curator, supported by dedicated physical, human, and organizational infrastructure, in addition to a multi-user laboratory, the Center for Biodiversity Documentation (CDB). The CBD is structured by a Management Committee, an Equipment Manager and a User's Committee, and has a technical staff dedicated to operating and maintaining multi-user equipment (industrial tomograph (nano/micro-CT and stereomicroscope with image capture). The CDB is part of the USP Multi platform - Multiuser Equipment Centers, which makes the institution's equipment park visible and easily accessible for sharing and provides facilities for its optimized management and priority institutional maintenance, with priority use of funds such as FAPESP's institutional technical reserve, in addition to having mechanisms in place for budget transfer and for receiving external payments from the foundation of the FFCLRP. Thus, there is sufficient technical and infrastructure capacity and institutional support to guarantee the proper use of the requested EMU. This project will promote an enormous positive impact in the areas of education, research and extension promoted by intuition headquarters, including associated and complementary projects that support the present EMU project, making it possible to access information hitherto inaccessible, enabling new analyses and the generation of essential information for the advancement of quality of the research carried out. (AU)

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