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  1. F. H. C. Marriott

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0470011815.b2a06024

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

How to Cite

Marriott, F. H. C. 2005. Stereology. Encyclopedia of Biostatistics. 4.

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Sampling methods used in stereology are briefly discussed. The fundamental formulae give estimates of volume ratios for the volume of a particular phase, the area of two-dimensional structures, the length of linear features, and the number of particles. Some inference is also possible about curvature of surfaces. Estimation of the size distribution of spherical particles is described, and the extension to ellipsoidal particles, possible only in restricted cases, is discussed. The properties of tesselations, particularly the cell model and the Johnson–Mehl model for crystal growth, are described. Mathematical morphology, developed by Matheron and Serra as a system of transformations of digitized images, is a valuable technique for revealing relevant features, and stereological indices based on the modified images may be compared.


  • stereology;
  • sections and probes;
  • spatial statistics;
  • volume ratios;
  • tesselation;
  • morphology;
  • image analysis