open access publication

Preprint, 2023

Rise of the Cybercrabs: how digital cloning in an integrated taxonomic framework can support deep-sea exploration

In: bioRxiv, Page 2023.03.16.532964, 10.1101/2023.03.16.532964

Contributors (6)

Reynaud, Emmanuel Georges (0000-0003-1502-661X) [1] Gutierrez-Heredia, Luis (0000-0002-9380-8900) [1] Garbett, Amy P (0000-0001-5277-0451) [2] Horn, Esben [3] Carlsson, Jens [1] Collins, Patrick Colman (Corresponding author) [2]


  1. [1] University College Dublin
  2. [NORA names: Ireland; Europe, EU; OECD]
  3. [2] Queen's University Belfast
  4. [NORA names: United Kingdom; Europe, Non-EU; OECD]
  5. [3] TONS ApS, Ved Slusen 34,2300 Kbh. S., Denmark


ABSTRACT Taxonomy has been a labour-intensive field of expertise based on hours of manual work and lengthy comments that are mainly bound to books and publications on a two-dimensional world. But every species described is a three-dimensional organism that needs to be seen, manipulated to be fully understood in its native shape. Nowadays, digital technology allows us to transform everyone in an avatar or a digital clone with ease, but collections do not provide many type specimens in a digital format. Here we present a simple approach used to study a specific deep-sea crab Segonzacia mesatlantica and provide online digital taxonomy across four repository sites. This offers the possibility to describe, exchange digitally and analyse specimens in its full 3D, establish their taxonomy and share them widely on online databases as well as physically by additive manufacturing to duplicate them in collections and outreach activities. Using an integrated taxonomic approach that included the use of 3D type specimens and molecular barcoding we provide evidence that the genus Segonzacia may be more diverse than previously understood


Abstract, Segonzacia mesatlantica, activity, additive manufacturing, analyse, approach, avatar, barcoding, book, clones, cloning, collection, comments, database, deep-sea exploration, digital clones, digital cloning, digital format, digital taxonomy, digital technologies, ease, evidence, exchange, expertise, exploration, field, format, framework, full 3D, hours, labour-intensive field, lengthy comments, manual work, manufacturing, molecular barcoding, native shape, online databases, organisms, outreach activities, possibility, publications, repository site, rise, shape, simple approach, sites, species, specimens, taxonomic approach, taxonomic framework, taxonomy, technology, three-dimensional organisms, two-dimensional world, type specimens, use, work, world


  • Science Foundation Ireland
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • National Geographic Society