Stereology is the estimation of geometrical quantities. Sometimes stereology is described as a method to estimate 3D quantities from 2D information, but this is not always the case.

The term stereology was coined in 1962 at the first meeting of the International Stereological Society.
Stereological methods concern the estimation of quantitative properties of spatial materials from lower-dimensional information such as that generated by a cross-section of  the material.
– the first order stereology estimates quantities as a number, length, surface or volume,
– the second order stereology estimates the spatial organisation of objects.

With Mercator and its stereological module, the microscope becomes a user-friendly tool to obtain these measurements. All these tools are developed and verified in collaboration with Prof C.V.Howard and his team, from The University of Ulster.
The Stereology module gives you a set of convenient, unbiased and efficient tools and methods for quantification of multi-dimensional characteristics of organs, tissues and cells. With the correct sampling strategy, and depending on the orientation of the tissue to be analyzed, this add-on gives you access to a large palette of stereological tools.

See what Prof. C.V. Howard has to say about Mercator

See also the first Chapter of Unbiased Stereology


Unbiased Stereology
Three Dimensional Measurement in Microscopy
C.V. Howard & M.G. Reed

This book is a simple and practical guide to making unbiased 3-D measurements of microstructure via the microscope. It is not full of complex mathematics and is of use to biologists, toxicologists, pathologists, geologists and materials scientists. The techniques presented, which are statistical in nature, are tried and  tested, and presented in a clear didactic style. Exercises, together with detailed worked answers are provided.

The second edition, published in 2005, had three new chapters covering single object stereology, ‘Petrimetrics’, or the application of survey sampling techniques to in vitro experiments, and second order stereology for local measures of spatial organisation.

Unbiased stereology has been requested for nerve cell counts in neurotoxicology by the United States Food & Drug Administration, and is now being required by many journals as a condition of acceptance for research articles.

The book has been continuously in print since 1998 and has more than 850 citations. A  reprint of the second edition has just been released and a third edition is in progress.