Project duration: 01.11.2013 – 30.06.2016


X-rays and tomography provide the opportunity to visualize internal structures of optically dense materials in 3D. The invention of synchrotron-X-ray-microtomography was the onset of a new era of morphological research on microscopically small animals (e.g. micro-arthropods). Analyzing such 3D-data is time consuming and technically challenging. Especially the automation of classification processes needs close cooperation of biologists and image processing experts. Using the most speciose animal group on earth (arthropods) as a model system, the network for functional morphology and systematics aims to establish and standardize measuring parameters to meet the needs of a broad range of biological research. This will be achieved by optimizing data acquisition and processing, semi-automation of data analysis (reconstruction and segmentation/classification) and the creation of an online-portal providing easy access, 3D-visualization and semi-automatic analyses of the data using cloud technologies.

Key technologies developed in ASTOR are:

  • Automatized data transfer workflows for X-ray tomography
  • Virtual analysis environment with remote access to graphically demanding applications
  • Semi-automatic segmentation of tomograms
  • Interactive 3D-web visualization of volumes



Network for functional morphology and systematics:

  • M. Heethoff
    Technical University of Darmstadt (TUD)
  • V. Heuveline
    University of Heidelberg (UHD)
  • H. Hartenstein
    Steinbuch Computing Center, KIT Karlsruhe (KA)
  • W. Mexner
    ANKA Synchrotron Radiation Source, KIT Karlsruhe (ANKA)
  • T. van de Kamp
    Institut für Photos Science and Synchron Radiation, KIT Karlsruhe (IPS)
  • A. Kopmann
    Institut for Data Processing and Electronics, KIT Karlsruhe (IPE)


Technical University Darmstadt
Schnittspahnstraße 3
64287 Darmstadt
Michael Heethoff
Project Manager
P: +49 6151 1675417


The project is funded within the BMBF programme “Research on condensed matter 2013-2016”.