The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 5

March 5, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


Okhotskia: International Kuril Island Project

This website presents the International Kuril Island Project (IKIP), "an international collaboration of American, Russian, and Japanese scientists to survey the plants, insects, spiders, freshwater and terrestrial mollusks, freshwater fishes, amphibians, and reptiles of the Kuril Archipelago." The website was developed primarily "to provide easy access to project results and databases, both for participants and other interested scientists." Site visitors can link to the project proposal -- submitted by the University of Washington, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Hokkaido University -- to view text and images describing project Objectives, Rationale and Scope, Anticipated Future Research, and more. Links are also provided to project Results (including IKIP databases, publications, and presentations) and Island Info including sections on Vascular Plants, Stoneflies, Nesting Birds, and many more. Additionally, a very nicely organized photo gallery features maps and many beautiful photographs taken by project participants during collecting expeditions to the Kuril Archipelago. [NL]

Missouri Botanical Garden-Applied Research: DNA Banking

This website describes DNA Banking at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The site provides brief sections covering background, goals, and organization of the collection. A link is provided to the Applied Research DNA Specimen Database which "is organized alphabetically by plant family, genus, and species and individual taxa can be selected to display information on samples in the collection." This site also provides requisition guidelines for researchers, however the Missouri Botanical Garden makes clear that DNA Bank samples "have been collected solely for the purpose of supporting molecular phylogenetics and will be released only for the study of relationships of plants or for studies aimed at improving our understanding of evolutionary mechanisms." [NL]

University College London: Enzyme Structures Database

This website features the Enzyme Structures Database, created by researchers Roman Laskowski and Andrew Wallace of the University College London. The database "contains the known enzyme structures that have been deposited in the Brookhaven Protein Data Bank (the PDB)." As of March 2003 the Brookhaven Protein Data Bank contained 10208 PDB-enzyme entries "involving 9873 separate PDB files - some files having more than one E.C. number associated with them. The enzyme structures are classified by their E.C. number (using the Mar 2003 v.30.0 release of the ENZYME Data Bank)." There are six classified groups of enzyme structures including Oxidoreductases, Transferases, and Hydrolases. This site also links to the PDBsum database which provides users an alternate means of accessing enzyme structures. [NL]

NCBI-Johns Hopkins University: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man

The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database "is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders authored and edited by Dr. Victor A. McKusick and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere, and developed for the World Wide Web by NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information." OMIM was designed primarily for health professionals working with genetic disorders, genetic researchers, and advanced medical and science students. OMIM contains textual information, references, and many "links to MEDLINE and sequence records in the Entrez system," as well as links to other relevant resources. The site offers a search engine with a text box along with advanced search options like History, Preview/Index, and more. This website also provides links to Human Genome Resources, Allied Resources, and to more general and technical information about OMIM. [NL]

Sanger Institute-The Wellcome Trust: Vertebrate Genome Annotation (VEGA) database

A project of the Sanger Institute, "The Vertebrate Genome Annotation (VEGA) database is designed to be a central repository for manual annotation of different vertebrate finished genome sequence. In collaboration with genome sequencing centres, Vega attempts to present consistent high-quality curation of finished sequence." The site currently links to Human, Mouse, and Zebrafish Annotation Browsers. Annotated data for all three is accessible by Browser (ContigView), BLAST (BlastView), and Search (TextView). Human and Mouse data can also be accessed by Chromosome (MapView). Additionally, this site allows users to provide feedback to the Vega team. [NL]

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences- Department of Invertebrates-Ant'Phipoda: the Biodiversity Reference Centre for Antarctic Amphipod Crustaceans [pdf]

This website features Ant'Phipoda: the Biodiversity Reference Centre for Antarctic Amphipod Crustaceans which is managed by the Laboratory of Carcinology, a research group at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. This Reference Centre "includes specialised databases, reference collections, and assists a network of contributing specialists (the Antarctic Ant'Phipodologist Network) who are involved in taxonomic revision of the Antarctic amphipod fauna, and the synthesis of its geographic and bathymetric distribution and bio-ecological traits." Decorated by a dancing Ant'Phipod, the homepage contains links to an Ant'Phipod Checklist (which is available for download as a pdf file), the Ant'Phipodologist Network, and Research Activities. Site visitors can also link to a photo gallery of great Amphipod pictures and a page of Amphipod links. [NL]

University of Hawaii: Impact of Alien Plants on Hawai'i's Native Biota

This website presents a report prepared by Dr. Clifford W. Smith of the University of Hawai'i regarding the Impact of Alien Plants on Hawai'i's Native Biota. This report includes sections on Terminology, Impact of Alien Plants on Hawaiian Ecosystems, Problem Alien Plants in Hawai'i by Island and Vegetation Zone, and more. The website also includes an Abstract of the report and an extensive list of Literature Cited. Notably, the report contains a link to Plant Pests of Hawaiian Native Ecosystems, a list of harmful alien plant species each linking to their own page containing photos and a brief description. This website also links -- via the Hawaiian Alien Plant Studies homepage -- to a site of photographs and text regarding the Biological Control of Miconia calvescens, and a site on the Biological Control of Guava, which is currently under construction. [NL]

SIFAR -- oneFish Community Directory

Created by the Support unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (SIFAR), this oneFish Community Directory website "is an Internet portal providing access to information on fisheries and aquatic research and development for those keen to extend the boundaries of fisheries and aquatic research, and to facilitate a more efficient and effective application of research-based knowledge to the many constraints of sustainable development." The oneFish Community Directory fosters a participatory approach encouraging information sharing, communication, and networking, as well as providing opportunities for individual researchers and groups to publish their research online. This extensive site links to information under such categories as Donors / Projects, Aquaculture, Freshwater Fisheries, Marine and Coastal Fisheries, and more. Additionally, the site provides links to relevant jobs, news, and events. The site also links to the Fish Technology Knowledge Base, a source for networking opportunities and facilities for fish technologists. [NL]


Monarch Watch: Planting a Butterfly Garden

This Planting a Butterfly Garden website from Monarch Watch is a great introductory resource for teachers interested in starting an educational butterfly garden at their school. This site provides several useful information pages including Good Nectar Sources and lists of Larval Host Plants organized both by butterfly and by plant. The site also features a simple step-by-step teacher's guide written by a teacher from Maryland who planned and planted a butterfly garden at her middle school. [NL]

Enchanted Learning: Zoom Sharks

An Enchanted Learning creation, Zoom Sharks is a very comprehensive, kid-friendly website all about sharks. The site "is designed for people of all ages and levels of comprehension," and provides great information about numerous shark subjects. The website features educational Shark Information Sheets for many different types of sharks including information on teeth, diet and feeding habits, taxonomic classification, reproduction, and more. Some of the many other website features are Shark Classroom Activities, Shark Anatomy, and an Illustrated Shark Dictionary with over 385 defined terms. Note: While the site asks for a $20/year donation, the site is free to use and requires no registration or fee. [NL]

Colorado State University: Pathophysiology of the Digestive System [Java]

This website was developed by faculty at Colorado State University as a Biomedical Hypertextbook on the Pathophysiology of the Digestive System. The website is very comprehensive including well-organized sections on the Fundamental Physiology and Anatomy of the Digestive System, Control of Digestive Function, Pregastric Digestion, The Pancreas, and many more. There are even sections exploring the digestive physiology of birds and herbivores. Additional features include self-evaluation tests reviewing the material, a Glossary and Index, and links to other Hypertextbooks. [NL]

Nova Scotia Dental Association: Healthy Teeth [Macromedia Flash Player, Quicktime]

What exact role does sugar play in the formation of cavities? Find the answer to this question and many more at Healthy Teeth, a comprehensive and lively oral health education website for 3rd-6th graders and created by the Nova Scotia Dental Association. The site contains sections on Cavities, Teeth and Gums, Prevention, and more. The sections are student-friendly with straightforward text and fun animated images. Additionally, the site offers hands-on classroom activities and experiments. [NL]

Elephant Information Repository: About Elephants

A great site for students or teachers interested in gathering basic information on elephants, this About Elephants website is a student-friendly educational component of the larger Elephants Information Repository site (designed to keep people informed on elephant issues and encourage global elephant care). About Elephants includes sections on elephant Anatomy, Senses, Life Cycles, Conservation, and more. The site also includes links to relevant books, news, multimedia, and an extensive Links Page organized by category. [NL]

APSnet-K-12 Teacher's Guide to Lessons and Laboratories: Water Molds

This website presents a great Water Molds activity-based lesson plan which is part of the American Phytopathological Society's K-12 Plant Path-Ways to Science website previously reported on in the September 6, 2002 issue of the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences. This Water Molds lesson was developed by educators Gail L. Schumann and Claudia A. Jasalavich as "an introduction to an important group of soil and water organisms (the Oomycetes) and an opportunity to conduct some simple biodiversity exercises. This exercise can be used for all K-12 age groups and learning levels, but may be most useful for grades 7-12 in classrooms where dissecting and compound microscopes are available." The site is well laid-out with clear instructions, great photos, and sections on Purpose and Background Information, Materials and Methods, Diagrams For Class Use, and more. [NL]

University of Georgia: Mark's Fruit Crops [pdf]

Created by Mark Rieger, a Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Mark's Fruit Crops is a great educational website on the world's major fruit crops. The site features a Fruit Crops Encyclopedia containing links to information about different types of fruit. The separate fruit pages include attractive photographs intermingled with brief sections on Origin, History of Cultivation, Botanical Description, Production Statistics, and more. Site visitors can access more in-depth information by connecting to Professor Rieger's HORT 320, Introduction to Fruit Crops site which includes PDF files of the course text, a Glossary of Fruit Crops, and other resources. This website also contains links to Fruit Catalogs, and a list of relevant fruit links. [NL]

Center for Plant Conservation-Plant Conservation Education Aids: Plants in Peril

This Plants in Peril website was created by the Center for Plant Conservation as a "guide to exploring biodiversity and rare native plant conservation for middle school educators." The site contains clear, concise informational pages on subjects like What is Biodiversity?, Plants and People, and Challenges of Saving Plants in Peril. Additionally, the site offers teacher guidelines for four plant conservation activities including Biodiversity Dilemmas, Scavenger Hunt, and more. Links are also provided for relevant educator resources and action project ideas. [NL]



Created by orchid enthusiasts Wendell and Theresa Kozak of Vancouver Island, Canada, OrchidWire website is a great resource for anyone interested in orchids. This site is an online orchid resource directory with links to 3911 images and 1184 sites in 51 countries. Site visitors can peruse orchid resources by using an alphabetical appendix or by selecting from different categories like Wild, Culture, Geographic, Genera, and many more. Specific orchid listings or images can be located by using the site search engine. Site users can also submit suggestions for addition to the OrchidWire database. [NL]

Tigers in Crisis [Windows Media Player]

This artful Tigers in Crisis website was produced by long-time journalist and conservationist Craig Kasnoff to educate people about tigers and the global factors threatening their survival as a species. The site provides information about the tiger crisis, their status in the wild, solutions, and more. Site visitors can also learn about three endangered tiger subspecies -- Bengal, Siberian, and Sumatran -- through information, photos, and videos. Additionally, this site provides visitors access to free endangered tiger photos and images for educational, non-profit, and personal use. [NL]

Flora of Indian Institute of Science Campus - Bangalore

This interesting botany website was created by students from the Centre of Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Campus - Bangalore. This site describes approximately 110 woody-plant species of the 112 tree species, 225 non-woody plant species, and 45 grass species found on the Institute's 400-acre campus. The exotic and indigenous plant species covered at this site are listed alphabetically by family, and include brief descriptions "with importance given to (...) habitat, leaf structure, and distribution." This site also includes a checklist of herbs, shrubs, and grasses, and its creators are working on an additional part that will feature herbaceous plants. This website links to a photo gallery as well, containing images of many plants found on the Institute's campus. [NL] [QuickTime]

This award-winning, comprehensive website was created by hummingbird enthusiast Lanny Chambers as a "source for information on attracting, watching, feeding, and studying North American hummingbirds." The site links to a wealth of information and resources under the main categories of Community, Science, Species, and Answers. Each of these categories include sub-categories, such as types of hummingbirds under the Species heading, research and migration maps under the Science heading, resources and photo album under the Community heading, and hummingbird feeders under the Answers heading. The homepage features a FAQ section and a News section with current links to events, radio and article features, and movies. [NL]

PBS P.O.V.'s Borders: Environment [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

This new eye-catching, multi-dimensional Environment website, from the PBS web-based documentary series P.O.V.'s Borders, presents narratives exploring peoples' relationships with Air, Water, and Earth. The site features innovative audio-visual clips and interactive games that tell stories about water bottles, hybrid cars, urban creeks, heirloom seeds, and more. Also included is a Border Talk section where guest writers, park rangers, and others offer up opinions on a diverse array of environmental issues. The site contains a nice accompanying section for educators as well, including Air, Water, and Earth lesson plans. [NL]

Garden Safari

This is an awesome nature website! Created by nature photographers Hania and Hans Arentson about wildlife in their garden, it offers an abundance of beautiful, close-up photos of many animals. The site is well-organized with separate pages containing numerous images and information for many different types of animals including butterflies, birds, frogs, and spiders -- just to name a few. The site even provides a list of recent updates complete with dates and links. Additionally, the Garden Safari website provides a list of relevant links and is offered in Dutch as well as English. [NL]

Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science: Goats

This great informational website from Oklahoma State University's Department of Animal Science is all about goats (Capra hircus). The site provides subpages with photos and information for many breeds of goats from Alpine to Zhongwei. Site visitors can search for specific goat breeds by clicking on a letter of the alphabet or by perusing an alphabetical list of goat breeds. Links are also provided to other breeds of livestock including cattle, horses, sheep, and swine. Additionally, visitors can link to information on livestock breeds by region, livestock research, and to the Virtual Livestock Library. [NL]

International Seed Saving Institute: Basic Seed Saving

This straightforward site from the International Seed Saving Institute on Basic Seed Saving will be of use to any growers interested in learning how to save seeds from season to season. The site provides links "to specific seed saving instructions for 27 common vegetables" including many favorites like corn, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce. The site also links to a glossary of seed saving terms and a six-step Seed Saving Tutorial. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Maple Syrup

1. Cornell University-Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program
2. University of Vermont-Proctor Maple Research Center
3. The Ohio State University-Extension Bulletin: North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual
4. The Australian National University: Maple Syrup
5. Wisconsin DNR- Environmental Education for Kids: Those Marvelous Maples
6. Michigan Maple Syrup Association
7. Massachusetts Maple Producers Association
8. Quebec Maple Syrup Producers Federation

The Spring Thaw is upon us, maple trees are experiencing below freezing temperatures by night and above freezing temperatures by day, signaling a time to cook up some pancakes because maple syrup is on its way! The following websites cover many aspects of the longstanding North American maple syrup tradition. The first site (1) presents Cornell University's Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program. This website is informative and extensive with activities for students and teachers, great photos, and a wealth of information about syrup production, research, and more. The second site (2) from the University of Vermont introduces the Proctor Maple Research Center and includes information about various research projects. The third website (3) hosted by The Ohio State University Extension, features an online copy of the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual, an important and comprehensive text authored by a host of experts in the field. The fourth site, (4) from The Australian National University, provides a concise overview of maple syrup including sections on Origin and History, Collecting and Boiling the Sap, and more. The fifth site, (5) from the Wisconsin DNR's Environmental Education for Kids! (EEK!) electronic magazine for 4th-8th graders and teachers, contains a short history of maple syrup with a link to maple syrup recipes. The last three websites are all from regional maple syrup producers associations in North America, and they include recipes, information about maple syrup history and production, and more. The sixth site (6) is hosted by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, the seventh site (7) is hosted by the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, and the final site (8) is hosted by the Qubec Maple Syrup Producers Federation. [NL]

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