The EB program area acquired a Visionary Digital BK Plus Lab System in January 2009. Since this time, both faculty and students of the SDSU EB Program Area have used the BK+ system in a variety of ways to support our research and teaching mission. Research examples include imaging to accelerate our specimen-based systematics and evolutionary research, as we use the system to digitally document specimens (and their parts), with emphasis on variation among specimens. We’ve been amazed at the versatility of the system, imaging specimens of all shapes and sizes, from the very large (e.g., herbarium sheets) to the very small (e.g., arachnid parts less than one mm).
We are also using the BK+ to support Biodiversity informatics, porting high-quality images of both live and preserved specimens to the Internet to facilitate learning by all. One goal is to help increase access to our extensive specimen collections via digital images. Finally, we are using the BK+ directly in undergraduate student education undergraduates are involved in imaging for research purposes (e.g., these images of tiny plant fruits), faculty are using the system to create better learning materials for organismal classes (e.g., digital specimen libraries, images for lab manuals, etc.), and undergraduates are involved in class assignments involving “hands on” imaging. The BK+ has been a great research and educational tool thus far, and we hope to continue to extend the use of the system in the future.
If you are interested in using this system, please contact Dr. Marshal Hedin.