High-resolution computed tomography reconstructions of invertebrate burrow systems

Rachel Hale, Richard Boardman, Mark N. Mavrogordato, Ian Sinclair, Trevor J. Tolhurst, Martin Solan

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The architecture of biogenic structures can be highly influential in determining species contributions to major soil and sediment processes, but detailed 3-D characterisations are rare and descriptors of form and complexity are lacking. Here we provide replicate high-resolution micro-focus computed tomography (μ-CT) data for the complete burrow systems of three co-occurring, but functionally contrasting, sediment-dwelling inter-tidal invertebrates assembled alone, and in combination, in representative model aquaria. These data (≤2,000 raw image slices aquarium−1, isotropic voxel resolution, 81 μm) provide reference models that can be used for the development of novel structural analysis routines that will be of value within the fields of ecology, pedology, geomorphology, palaeobiology, ichnology and mechanical engineering. We also envisage opportunity for those investigating transport networks, vascular systems, plant rooting systems, neuron connectivity patterns, or those developing image analysis or statistics related to pattern or shape recognition. The dataset will allow investigators to develop or test novel methodology and ideas without the need to generate a complete three-dimensional computation of exemplar architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150052
JournalScientific Data
Early online date21 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • 3-D reconstruction
  • Animal behaviour
  • Biooceanography
  • Ecosystem ecology

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