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The first crowdfunded study in Japan: Micro X-ray observation of a fleshy brittle star

The first non-destructive morphological observations of the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro-computed tomography

Date:
March 27, 2017
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Not only have scientists from Japan performed the first non-destructive morphological observations on the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro X-ray tomography, but they also published their research as the first study supported by crowdfunding in the Asian country. The team leader managed to raise part of the funds via Japan's pioneering crowd-funding platform academist.
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The entire body of Asteronyx loveni as seen with micro-computed tomography (?CT).
Credit: Masanori Okanishi CC-BY 4.0

Not only have scientists from Japan performed the first non-destructive morphological observations on the Fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro X-ray tomography, but they also published their research as the first study supported via crowdfunding in the Asian country.

The team leader, Dr. Masanori Okanishi, Ibaraki University, managed to raise part of the funds via Japan's pioneering crowd-funding platform academist. The study by Dr. Masanori Okanishi, Dr. Toshihiko Fujita, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Yu Maekawa and Dr. Takenori Sasaki, University of Tokyo, is now openly available in the open access journal ZooKeys.

While taxonomy is generally considered as "minor" and "basic" discipline within biology, it could be extremely strenuous for taxonomists to apply for and receive funding. Thus, Dr. Okanishi jumped to the conclusion that his planned study might have a go via crowdfunding instead.

Dr. Okanishi approached academist in April 2014, when he was a Postdoctoral researcher at Kyoto University. Titled "Taxonomy of bathyal euryalid ophiuroids," it was not long before his research project successfully raised 634,500 JPY (ca. 5,600$).

Having already stumbled across several undescribed species of the brittle star genus Asteronyx, the scientists directed the raised funds towards the genetic and morphological analysis of Asteronyx loveni.

As suggested by its common name, the fleshy brittle star (Asteronyx loveni) is covered by thick skin, making it particularly difficult for scientists to observe the body in detail without dissolving the skin. However, modern computed tomography with micrometer resolution allowed for the 3D images of skeletal ossicles and soft tissues to be constructed with no physical intervention whatsoever.

"The present case indicates that crowdfunding will increase the chances to finance the funds for researchers in those disciplines and activate the research area," conclude the authors.

The newly discovered brittle star species are yet to be published.


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Materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Massanori Okanishi, Toshihiko Fujita, Yu Maekawa, Takenori Sasaki. Non-destructive morphological observations of the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni using micro-computed tomography (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea, Euryalida). ZooKeys, 2017; 663: 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.663.11413

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "The first crowdfunded study in Japan: Micro X-ray observation of a fleshy brittle star: The first non-destructive morphological observations of the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro-computed tomography." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170327114343.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2017, March 27). The first crowdfunded study in Japan: Micro X-ray observation of a fleshy brittle star: The first non-destructive morphological observations of the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro-computed tomography. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170327114343.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "The first crowdfunded study in Japan: Micro X-ray observation of a fleshy brittle star: The first non-destructive morphological observations of the fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro-computed tomography." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170327114343.htm (accessed May 27, 2017).

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