The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 3

February 6, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


Oregon State University Mycological Collections: Type and General Collections databases

This Mycological Collections database was developed by a team of Oregon State University Professors and researchers to increase accessibility to the OSU Mycological Collection of approximately 60,000 lichenized and nonlichenized fungi. This Collection "is recognized as a global central repository for vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae and contains the world's most complete collection of hypogeous fungi. The OSU Mycological Collection is an active research and public service collection that is used by mycologists, lichenologists, plant pathologists, and forest ecologists associated with universities and state and federal agencies." As of 1996, the database contained approximately 6,000 specimens which included over 1,000 type specimens. The eventual goal is to enter all 60,000 specimens into the database, which presently "can be searched by organismal name, location, habitat or collector and provides complete label information for all type specimens in the OSU Mycological Collection." [NL]

Georgetown University Medical Center -- Protein Information Resource: RESID Database

This RESID Database website, developed by Georgetown University Medical Center's Protein Information Resource (PIR), "is a comprehensive collection of annotations and structures for protein modifications including amino-terminal, carboxyl-terminal and peptide chain cross-link, pre-, co- and post-transitional modifications." This site provides a wealth of information including IUPAC systematic chemical names, elemental formulas for the residues as they occur in peptide chains, GIF format drawings of the chemical structures, and much more. Links are provided to access information about PIR and other protein databases as well. [NL]

U.S. National Library of Medicine -- National Institutes of Health: Regional Medical Programs [pdf, jpg, QuickTime, RealOne Player]

This very comprehensive and interesting website on the Regional Medical Programs (RMP) of the 1960's and 70's was developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health. Of particular value to researchers is the archival database which "currently contains some 1,500 indexed and scanned documents, representing approximately 40,000 pages," and offers alphabetical, chronological, general, and fielded search options. This website also includes a photo gallery with good-quality images, an annotated History of Regional Medical Programs monograph by Dr. Stephen P. Strickland, an extensive bibliography and more. [NL]

European Forest Institute: Research [pdf]

This European Forest Institute (EFI) is "An independent non-governmental organization conducting European forest research." This website provides information about EFI's mission, research goals, strategies and programs. Site users can view information about on-going and completed projects in any of the four EFI research programs which include: Forest Ecology and Management, Forest Products Markets and Socio-Economics, Policy Analysis, and Forest Resources and Information. EFI also provides a search engine for locating specific research projects as well as information about how to propose an EFI project. [NL]

The International Immunogenetics Information System

Created by Marie-Paule Lefranc from Universite Monpellier, the international ImMunoGeneTics (IMGT) information system "is a high-quality integrated knowledge resource specializing in immunoglobulins (IG), T cell receptors (TR), major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and related proteins of the immune system of human and other vertebrate species." The site contains sequence databases, genome and structure databases, web resources, and other interactive tools. With hundreds, if not thousands, of alleles and genes represented in the databases, the site is a resource packed full of information. Visitors to the highly organized site can search databases by PDB code or protein name, receptor description, or gene or chain type and species. This great site will definitely be of use to researchers, students, and instructors of genetics. [JPM]

Crocodilian Biology Database [Windows Media Player, Quicktime]

While most of us are familiar with a certain crocodile hunter, you may not know about the crocodile doctor. Created by Dr. Adam Britton, a zoologist with Wildlife Management International, this site offers an incredible array of information about the 23 species of crocodiles found in the world. Links off the Crocodile Biology Database section include Evolution and Taxonomy, General Biology, Conservation, Morphology, Behaviour, and Crocodile Lore. Also, make sure to check out the Communication link off the main page to learn how to talk crocodile. Included are sound bites of crocodile threat, distress, hatching, and courtship calls. Researchers will note the news section at the main page (scroll down) which lists information on professional meetings and other interesting information. [JPM]


PBS Nature Online Lesson Plans: Cougar or Human -- Which Needs Protection? [pdf]

This PBS Nature website presents an excellent and extensive lesson plan about cougars for grades 9-12. The site contains an overview of the lesson including learning objectives as well as standards and benchmarks for life sciences, writing, thinking and reasoning, and technology. The website provides a Procedures For Teachers section which details the introductory, learning, and culminating activities that span multiple class periods. This section also lists bookmarked sites for the lesson, materials needed such as computer resources and software, and extension activities. For students, this website provides three organizing sheets that can be printed out for the Cougar Lesson. [NL]

Concord Consortium: Biologica [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime]

This well-designed, interactive website features BioLogica, "a hypermodel for teaching high school genetics" that was developed over a four-year period "with support from the National Science Foundation." The site allows the user to try out two Sample Web Labs, and to interact with colorful, artsy 3D models that "show cell structure and function, as well as DNA molecular structure and assembly." Site visitors can download a full version of the Web Lab activities and the BioLogica engine, which are compatible with Macintosh and Windows operating systems. The BioLogica site also contains eesearch results based on studies at six public high schools during the 2000-2001 academic year. [NL]

Beastly Garden of Wordy Delights [pdf]

Have you ever encountered a bloat of hippos or a charm of finches? This entertaining website, created by researcher and educator Melissa Kaplan, provides various descriptive terms for an extensive list of animals. Part 1 of the site contains plurals, collective nouns, and words for sounds, gender, and offspring. For example, a female kangaroo is a flyer, and a young swan is cygnet. Part 2 offers Animal Adjectives like apian for a bee and pavonine for peacocks. This Part also includes a short section on herp riddles and jokes. This site connects to a diverse array of other information areas as well with headings such as Amphibians, Parent / Teacher, Veterinarians, Conservation, and For Kids. [NL]

University of California -- Santa Cruz: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Behavioral Ecology

This website presents a Behavioral Ecology course developed by Dr. Barry Sinervo, Professor of Biology at UC-Santa Cruz. This site is well-organized and contains a Syllabus with links to a semester's worth of Lectures on subjects such as Genes and Behavior, Natural and Sexual Selection, and Learning and Cognition. The Syllabus also includes links to corresponding Study Questions for each Lecture. This website links to information about related projects and courses such as Lizardland and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. [NL]

NASA Earth Observatory Mission: Biomes

This fun, interactive website was designed by NASA's earth observatory to introduce students to the Earth's Biomes. A biome, as defined by the site, is "a community of plants and animals living together in a certain kind of climate." This website provides links to seven different biomes that students can learn about including coniferous forests, grasslands, and tundras. Each separate biome page contains a brief general description as well as basic information about characteristics such as Temperature, Vegetation, and Location. The biome pages also link to a Vocabulary page, a handy Metric Converter, and a Teacher Resource section that includes Goals, Outcomes, National Standards, and Extension Ideas. This website also offers interactive biome graphing and planting activities. [NL] Aquarium Terrarium,1120,67-8396,00.html

This webpage features a short, simple Aquarium Terrarium activity developed by former high-school teacher Rita Richardson. This Science activity is designed for students eight years of age and up, and provides a list of Materials needed, and Instructions for assembling the Terrarium. Rita recommends about 2 to 3 hours to complete the Terrarium, and offers a couple of short suggestions for Follow up projects. The webpage also provides Related Links to other short activities as well as options to E-mail or print this activity article. [NL]


Armadillo Online!

Are armadillos mammals? Find the answer to this question and many more at Armadillo Online!, a comprehensive armadillo website created by Joshua Nixon, a doctoral student in Zoology at Michigan State University. Nixon's site contains biological information on all twenty species of armadillo as well as photos of eight species. This website also includes a short Natural History article, "a short description of the scientific and medical research uses of the armadillo," a Fact File page, and more. Links to other armadillo information websites are provided as well. [NL]

Texas A&M University System Extension: Toxic Plant Database [Java 3D]

The Toxic Plant Database was developed by a team of Professors working through Texas Cooperative Extension, a division of the Texas A&M University System. Although the database focuses on toxic plants in Texas, many of the plants are found in other states as well as Mexico. This is a well-organized website containing pictures, maps, plant descriptions, information on the toxic agent, symptoms of poisoning, habitat, distribution, and "Integrated Toxic Plant Management for each toxic plant." Site users may search this extensive listing of Toxic Plants by the following categories: Common or Scientific Name, Region, Symptom, Livestock, or Plant Images. This site also links to a glossary of relevant terms. [NL]

PBS-Nova: Dogs And More Dogs

This Nova website, designed to accompany a television Feature Program on the world of Dogs, asks "How and why did man's best friend evolve from wolves, and why are dogs so remarkably diverse today?" The site showcases a slide show on working dogs and an interactive matching game entitled, Dogs Around the World. Also included at this website are a Teacher's Guide, a Links and Books page, and an Inquiry Article about Dog diversity. Additionally, this site links to the TV program transcript and to a recent " discussion with biologist and dog expert Ray Coppinger." [NL]


Childbirth.Org is a resource website developed and maintained by a group of childbirth experts including registered nurses, midwives, doulas, a certified childbirth educator, and a lactation consultant. This website provides links to a wealth of information and resources regarding many aspects of childbirth. An extensive range of topics are listed at the site including birth plans, feeding your baby, monitoring, postpartum, episiotomy, fertility, health, and many more. Childbirth.Org also provides an interactive Ask the Pros: Questions and Answers service. [NL]

Rochester Institute of Technology: Galapagos

This excellent site on the Galapagos Islands was developed by Dr. Robert Rothman, Biological Sciences Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The site includes an informative Natural History section with features such as Formation of the Islands, Sea Birds, and Charles Darwin and the Galapagos Islands. Some of the Contents in the Natural History section are still evolving. Additionally, this website offers a slide show including historical paintings and many photos from RIT Galapagos Expeditions. This site also provides extensive Reading and Links lists covering many different Galapagos-related topics. [NL]

PBS Online -- American Experience: Influenza 1918

This PBS American Experience website provides supplementary information, materials, and resources for Influenza 1918, a film about "the worst epidemic in American history." Site users can access both a Program Description and Transcript for the film as well as Audio Interviews and a Bibliography of related books and websites. This site offers Special Features including a Letter penned by a doctor in 1918, and an article about modern day flu forecasting scientists. Additionally, this website provides a month-by-month timeline and map depicting geographic and temporal distribution of the flu spread. For educators, a short teacher's guide is also available. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Animal Tracks

1. Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den
2. University of New Mexico: Identifying and Preserving Wildlife Tracks
3. The Virtual Cub Scout Leader's Handbook-Tracking and Stalking North American Wildlife: A Cyber-guide for Scouts and Scouters
4. Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center: Animal Signs
5. Princeton University: Outdoor Action Guide to Animal Tracking
6. A Naturalist's World: How BIG is that Track: Measuring Footprints Correctly
7. Tom Brown's Tracker School: Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival
8. Wilderness Awareness School

For those of us living in Northern climates, when winter snow covers the landscape it provides great conditions to search for animal tracks. The following websites provide an abundance of information and resources about the ancient art of animal tracking.

The first site(1 ), Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, is an excellent comprehensive "online field guide to tracks and tracking." The site includes animal track images, photos, as well as information about mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, amphibians, and other tracking resources. The second site (2), is an article by Jon C. Boren, Extension Wildlife Specialist and Byron D. Wright, Agricultural Specialist both from the University of New Mexico entitled Identifying and Preserving Wildlife Tracks. The third site (3), on Tracking and Stalking Wildlife, comes from The Virtual Cub Scout Leader's Handbook and provides short information pages on a variety on animals including photos and images of tracks. The fourth site (4) is a well-organized lesson plan with activities on Animal Signs from Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. The fifth site (5) is the Outdoor Action Guide to Animal Tracking by Rick Curtis of Princeton University. This website provides solid and detailed information on many aspects of animal tracking including parts of a track, pattern classification, aging tracks, and more. The sixth site (6) is an article by veteran tracker Jim Halfpenny, Ph.D. about how to determine the accurate track size for an animal. Site visitors can link from this article to the homepage for A Naturalist's World which has information about tracking classes offered in various North American locations. For anyone interested in developing their animal tracking skills, the final two websites also offer courses from very experienced trackers in different regions of North America. The seventh site (7), Tom Brown's Tracker School is the largest school of its kind with locations in New Jersey, California, and Florida. The eighth site, (8) Wilderness Awareness School is located in Washington but offers courses in other regions as well. This website also provides an extensive list of links for many other tracking resources. [NL]

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From The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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