Our lab space includes a computer/specimen lab, an acid digestion lab, a preparation lab, and a digital imaging lab.
• Leica MZ75 microscopes with V-Lux fibreoptic ring illumination
• live insect tweezers from Fine Science Tools
Our workhorse software includes:
• Bookends (Sonny Software) - literature database
• FileMaker Pro Advanced - trilobite database
• Zerene Stacker - macro stacking
• Photoshop/Bridge - image processing and plate construction
• OmniGraffle Pro, Illustrator - charts and line art
• DataGraph - graphs, bar charts, etc
• Mellel - manuscript preparation
• Bean, PopChar, iKey, Typinator - general text utilities
• TNT, Winclada, Paup*, MacClade, TreeRot - phylogenetic analysis
• Statview, Diversity, PC-ORD - multivariate statistics, ecological analysis
Our entire research program lives online, using the 200 GB option of Dropbox. In this way, everything we do is synced across all of our computers and we don't have to worry about exchanging files, which version is current, who has done what, etc. We also use the "packrat" option of Dropbox, which backs up all versions of all files from their creation.
Acid Digestion Lab
We have capacity to run about 40 10L samples concurrently. Each typically contains 2-4 kg of rock. 1L of acid dissolves about 0.5 kg of rock and takes about 4 hours to fully react, depending on the carbonate content of the rock.
Samples are sieved in stainless steel sieves, dried in four mechanical convection ovens, and transferred to labelled snap-cap vials for subsequent lab work.
The prep lab has:
• a large air compressor
• a Crystal Mark air abrasive unit
• a variety of small pneumatic tools (Chicago Pneumatic, Aro Scribe, PaleoTools)
• a dust cabinet
• an extraction and filtration unit
• a Leica dissecting microscope on a boom stand.
Digital Imaging Lab
The digital imaging lab has:
• a HEPA filtered enclosure with a gas line for ammonium chloride sublimation and coating
• a Leitz Aristophot system with Milar and Summar lenses coupled to a digital camera body
• a StackShot macro rail with a Canon 50D camera, 100 mm macro lens, and an MP-E 65 mm macro lens
• a Visionary Digital BK Lab System with a Canon 7D camera
All of the US type and figured specimens we produce are permanently housed in the UI Paleontology Repository, a full-time staffed museum collections facility. The Repository is a locus for intern, directed study, volunteer, and outreach activity in the museum studies and paleontology programs. It houses one of the most significant university paleontological type collections in the United States. Its web site is: