Masters Research Project
Alpha taxonomy forms the basis of most biological studies and is critical in monitoring pests and vector borne illnesses. It is a discipline that includes the description of new species, placement in a classification, and the production of insect identification keys.
My project is the creation of an application that employs three-dimensional models as part of a digital identification key and compartive morphology viewer. I will be creating high fidelity models of the genitalia (a structure rich in key characters) of several genera of the Tanyderidae family to begin with and will design the project to accommodate any order or even phylum in the future. It will serve as a proof of concept that will demonstrate the potential of this media format to the taxonomy community
Dichotomous and multi-access keys are the standard methods for identifying specimens, however they can be difficult to use and quite time consuming in some cases. This feature of my project aims to streamline the identification process by using a more intuitive version of the multi-access interface combined with interactive 3D models to improve the identification experience.
Obtaining and preparing specimens for dissection can be a major obstacle when learning morphology or creating phylogenies. This aspect of my project is built to assist taxonomists by providing highly accurate models based off multiple specimens to reduce the impact of artifacts and natural variations along with the tools to digitally dissect and annotate them.