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Proceedings Paper

Structures, structural hierarchy, and function in sea urchin spines
Author(s): S. R. Stock; T. A. Ebert; K. Ignatiev; F. De Carlo
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Paper Abstract

Sea urchin spines protect the animal's body from predators and from the effect of high energy environments. The spines of urchins from different orders, families and genera have very different sizes, morphologies and microarchitectures, and the different designs of sea urchin spines reveal much about the design space available for functional biogenic calcite-based structures. The 3D microarchitecture of primary spines of a number of sea urchins was studied with synchrotron microCT and reconstructed with 5 μm or smaller voxels (volume elements), and similarities and differences were determined in order to better understand the design space. Hollow spines from different genera of the family Diadematidae, order Diadematoida, are one type of solution, but significant differences were observed within this phylogenic subset. Spines from members of order Echinoidea, family Toxopneustidae, employ a very different strategy, one that emphasizes interconnected trabeculae to a greater degree than do the diadematids. Numerical data for some 3D structural characteristics are presented, data that would be impractical to obtain by methods other than microCT.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 2006
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 6318, Developments in X-Ray Tomography V, 63180A (7 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.679548
Show Author Affiliations
S. R. Stock, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Univ. (United States)
T. A. Ebert, Oregon State Univ. (United States)
K. Ignatiev, Northwestern Univ. (United States)
F. De Carlo, Argonne National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6318:
Developments in X-Ray Tomography V
Ulrich Bonse, Editor(s)

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