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DigiMorph Contributer Profile

David L. Dufeau
Graduate Student
The University of Texas at Austin

About Me

At the time of this project, I was finishing my Bachelors of Science degree in Geological Sciences, and frantically preparing to apply for enrollment in graduate school. More broadly, my greatest aspirations are to become the best morphologist, and phylogenetic systematist that I possibly can. This project is just one small step in the direction of that goal. Other small steps I have taken towards this goal include the following:

  • Author of Avian Cranial Anatomy, a software title premiered at the Center for Instructional Technologies Multimedia Lab's inaugrial multimedia showcase. This title is currently being revised for use in the Department of Zoology's Comparative Anatomy courses.
  • Presentation of a poster at the 1997 National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR '97). The title of the poster was Virtual Reality and Multimedia in Evolutionary Biology. The poster dealt with the advantages of electronic presentation of analytical results of evolutionary studies. This poster also detailed the limitations of the print media in this regard.
  • Nomination and induction to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
  • Fieldwork in Wyoming, and the vertebrate paleontology collections of the University of Wyoming.
  • Countless hours spent in the Vertebrate Paleontology collections of the Texas Memorial Museum.

Although I am very interested avian anatomy, my primary interest is Phylogenetic Systematics. This is a methodology by which morphological characters of fossil and living organisms are compared in a way that allows the worker to make inferences about where these characters are derived in the history of a given lineage. These derived characters are then tested for patterns that yield insight to the phylogeny, or evolutionary pathway a lineage of organisms is most likely to have taken.

As with many investigations, there is often a correlation between the amount of carefully obtained data, and the resolution of the analytical results. I hope to use CT technologies to the best advantage of this purpose. A volumetric data set is an invaluable source of information for workers scoring morphological characters for phylogenetic analyses.

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