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Integrative Organismal Biology


The increased use of imaging technology in biological research has drastically altered morphological studies in recent decades and allowed for the preservation of important collection specimens alongside detailed visualization of bony and soft-tissue structures. Despite the benefits associated with these newer imaging techniques, there remains a need for more "tra- ditional"methods of morphological examination in many comparative studies. In this paper, we describe the costs and benefits of the various methods of visualizing, examining, and comparing morphological structures. There are significant differences not only in the costs associated with these different methods (monetary, time, equipment, and software), but also in the degree to which specimens are destroyed. We argue not for any one particular method over another in morphological studies, but instead suggest a combination of methods is useful not only for breadth of visualization, but also for the financial and time constraints often imposed on early-career research scientists.