DiceCT allows visualization of organismal soft-tissue cheaply and non-destructively, thus giving comparative biologists a new toolkit for assessing morphological variation. Comparative morphologists primarily use museum collections to visualize features across a wide range of species, but the consequences of preparation and storage are not well understood. We report soft-tissue shrinkage in the brains and eyes of five bat species from museum collections and compare this to shrinkage found in specimens of six freshly-collected species. Although the magnitude of shrinkage in the museum specimens did not increase over four weeks of stain time in iodine, the brains and eyes of museum specimens shrank considerably prior to placement in iodine in comparison with field-collected specimens. While the cause of shrinkage in these specimens remains unknown, we caution against study designs that combine fresh and museum specimens.
Read more about using diceCT with museum specimens at Microscopy & Microanalysis!