Scales, Slime and Dragon(fly) Wings? Investigating the Surfaces of Organisms

Post provided by Dylan Wainwright

Our recent Methods in Ecology and Evolution paper – ‘Imaging biological surface topography in situ and in vivo shows how to use gel-based profilometry to image various biological surfaces. To start you need to press a gel into a surface of interest. The bottom surface of the gel is coated in a paint to create an impression of the surface that has standard optical properties (not clear, shiny, or coloured). Then lights are shone on the gel at different angles and photographs are taken at six different lighting angles. These photographs allow us to study the surface in incredible detail. The following images give more information on how we can do this and the benefits of it.

To find out more, read our Methods in Ecology and Evolution article ‘Imaging biological surface topography in situ and in vivo’. And to find out more about Dylan’s research, visit his website.

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