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B. An Online Digital Fish Library

Narrator: This is Science Today. One of the world's most valuable natural history collections the Scripps Marine Vertebrate Collection at the University of California, San Diego has gone digital. Project director Lawrence Frank, a professor of radiology, says they're using MRI technology to create a high-resolution, 3-D online catalog of preserved fishes, which will allow anyone with Internet access to examine fish as never before.

Frank: MRI uses very large magnetic fields to image the water in the body or in tissues, and because it's imaging water it has the advantage of being able to look at soft tissues. So, in this project, MRI allows us to get a complete 3-D data set of the internal organs of the fish.

Narrator: One of the goals of the Digital Fish Library is to develop special coils to accommodate the fact that fish come in wide variety of odd shapes.

Frank: Once the fish is put into the middle of the coil and secured, it's put into the MRI scanner, where then the imaging proceeds.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.