Citation Brooker A, Shinn A & Bron J (2012) Use of laser scanning confocal microscopy for morphological taxonomy and the potential for digital type specimens (e-types). Aquatic Biology, 14 (2), pp. 165-173. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00389
Abstract The use of laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) for creating taxonomic descriptions of copepods is investigated. A new technique is described, which employs a contour filter to process digital LSCM images, allowing taxonomic information to be quickly and accurately distilled into a simple illustration. LSCM allows the imaging of whole specimens, which can be rotated and viewed from any angle -- a major benefit over light microscopy. Using this technique, it is suggested that taxonomic descriptions can be rapidly produced in a fraction of the time required to produce similar descriptions using traditional light microscopy and hand drawing techniques. Good staining of specimens is, however, essential to produce accurate descriptions and more research is required in this area. The use of LSCM for morphological taxonomy shows great potential, not only for producing taxonomic descriptions, but also providing a complementary adjunct to traditional type specimens in the form of 3D digital 'e-types' deposited in recognised international databases.