The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 6

March 19, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


The Natural History Museum in London: Butterflies and Moths of the World

An excellent resource for entomologists, this Butterflies and Moths of the World website was created by Brian Pitkin and Paul Jenkins of the Natural History Museum in London (NHM). The site was designed "to compile a comprehensive interactive catalogue of all the published genus-group names of Lepidoptera from Linnaeus, 1758, up to the present, and to provide full-colour images of representatives of most included families." This online catalogue contains 31,147 entries and over 400 full-color images as well. Additionally, a bibliography is included that provides "6,155 references by 1,281 different authors or author combinations." Site visitors can conduct searches for a specific genus, type-species, bibliographical reference, or image. This website also links to other NHM Department of Entomology sites including Research Themes, Publications, and Databases. [NL]

AVES.NET: The Freshwater Dinoflagellates

Hosted by AVES.NET, this website about Freshwater Dinoflagellates was created by Victor W. Fazio III and Dr. Susan Carty of Heidelberg College (Tiffin, Ohio). Two main attractions of this site are the Freshwater Dinoflagellate Image Archive, and the Recent Additions-Freshwater Dinoflagellate Images 2003 (from the 2003-04 winter field season). Individual Dinoflagellate image pages generally include a ventral view, dorsal view, or both, and the pages featuring species from Ohio include county distribution maps. Site visitors can email Dr. Carty for permission to use any of the images. The website also contains a List of Freshwater Dinoflagellates in Ohio, some of which link to the individual image pages. Additionally, the site offers a Review of Online Images of Freshwater Dinoflagellates including links to many other host sites, and a link to an online article by Dr. Susan Carty and Daniel E. Wujek entitled A New Species of Peridinium and New Records of Dinoflagellates and Silica-Scaled Chrysophytes from Belize.[NL]

The Jackson Laboratory: Mouse Genome Informatics - Mammalian Orthology and Comparative Maps

Created by the Jackson Laboratory as part of Mouse Genome Informatics, this website features Mammalian Orthology and Comparative Maps. At this site, searches can be made in the area of Mammalian Orthology by species, gene symbol, name, or map position. Site visitors can also build comparative maps, retrieve an Oxford Grid to display a two-species orthology comparison, and view orthologies between mouse and human or mouse and rat at the whole genome level. The site links to Gene Family Information, MGI Mammalian Orthology Criteria, and MGI Database Reports as well. [NL]

Raintree: Tropical Plant Database

Hosted by Raintree, the Tropical Plant Database is authored and maintained by Board Certified Naturopath, Ms. Leslie Taylor to provide accurate information about rainforest plants and to help promote rainforest conservation. Including over 300 pages of documentation on rainforest plants and very well-organized, the Tropical Plant Database lists plants by Common name, Botanical name, Ethnic uses, and Action/disorder. The Database File for each plant includes an illustration and information about family, genus, species, common names, plant description, and more. Visitors can link to great illustrations and photos as well as web resources for each plant including Medline Abstracts, W3 TROPICOS Database, Ethnobotany Database, and Phtyochem Database among others. Plant Database File pages include references as well. [NL]

International Bee Research Association [pdf]

This website presents the International Bee Research Association (IBRA), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1949 working to provide researchers and beekeepers with information in the topic areas of bee species, pollination, diseases and pests, nectar and pollen sources, and more. The IBRA website provides information about the organization, about conferences and other events, and about the association's three journals : Bee World,Journal of Apicultural Research, and Apicultural Abstracts. The site also contains an extensive list of internet links organized under categories like Apitherapy, Research Sites & Universities, Beekeeping Groups and Organizations, and Information Resources and References Sites. [NL]

Fossil Mammal Research Group

This website presents the Fossil Mammal Research Group whose "members are palaeontologists and archaeologists as well as palaeoenvironmental specialists in the School of Biological & Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK." Subjects of study by the Research group include mammalian fauna development over the past 30 million years, Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene climate change, and more. The website links to subpages for a list of Publications from 1998-2004, Major Projects going on around the world, Conferences, and relevant links. The site also provides a page presenting group members along with their research interests and email addresses. [NL]

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Technology Enhancing Cancer Communication- Research

This website features research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Technology Enhancing Cancer Communication (TECC) Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research. The "Center's overall goal is to understand how interactive new technologies work to improve cancer communication." TECC's "research projects focus on separating web ehealth systems into conceptual components, supplementing the systems with a human cancer mentor, and facilitating web-based communication between the patients/family members and the clinical team." The TECC Research website links to Center Projects, Pilot Studies, TECC Data, and Publications. Site visitors can also link to more information about TECC, information about Graduate and Post Graduate Study, and a Directory for Center Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students with email addresses. The Center invites visiting scientists, postdoctoral scientists, and health professionals in-training from a variety of disciplines to participate in the TECC research program. [NL]


New York University: A World Community of Old Trees

Hosted by New York University, this innovative website entitled A World Community of Old Trees was created by art educator and exhibiting visual artist, Dr. June Julian. This collaborative art project provides opportunities for students in grades K-12 to research a tree in their community, create art work about that tree, and submit the information and artwork for inclusion in the Tree Gallery section of the website. The Tree Gallery section also includes background for the project, examples of Dr. Julian's art, and other artists' representations of trees (including work from K-12 students from around the country and Ohio University students). The site links to Project Instructions for Students in Grades K-12 and printable Permission Forms. The site also links to the Tree Museum containing art history for tree images, and Tree Talk which provides a forum for sharing ecological information about ancient trees. [NL]

South Central Service Cooperative: 1999 Digital Camera Class

A good example of grass-roots internet-based educational resources, this website showcases multiple lesson plans created by participants in a Technology Literacy course project formed through a "joint partnership between South Central Service Cooperative, Southern Arkansas University, and twenty school districts in south Arkansas." Although a majority of the lesson plans are based on flora and fauna of Arkansas, many have applications for other regions as well. The lesson plans feature Bats, Black Bears, Butterflies, Mayapples, Mosses, and many more. All course participant websites include lesson plans and photographs, and some sites also include Bibliographies, Glossaries, Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks, Teacher Information sections, and other Resources. [NL]

The Natural History Museum in London -- Mission: Explore

This website features Mission: Explore, a fun and interactive educational game, created by The Natural History Museum in London to introduce students to natural history specimen collecting. In the game, students "become a natural history collector for the Museum and journey to the distant island of Regaloam, where...[they] learn the skills to collect and identify a diverse range of natural history specimens from fabulous fossils and intriguing insects." After applying for a collecting permit from the Government of the Island of Regaloam, students travel to the island and choose what items they wish to search for including minerals, insects, fossils, and more. The site effectively utilizes photos, maps, and graphs to enrich the exploratory theme. Each stage of the collecting journey-from finding the specimen, to identifying it, to choosing a way to preserve it, incorporates great problem-solving formats with feedback. [NL]

MIT OpenCourseWare: 7.03 Genetics, Fall 2001 [pdf]

This website, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), features a Genetics course designed for undergraduates. This is one of many free on-line publications of course materials provided by MIT as part of the OpenCourseWare project (first reported on in the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences January, 24, 2003). This course was created by MIT Professors Chris Kaiser and David Page to introduce students to the "principle of genetics with application to the study of biological function at the level of molecules, cells, and multicellular organisms, including humans." The website includes separate PDF files for all course lectures, exam study guides, as well as problem sets and solutions. The site also links to a calendar of topics covered for each lecture, and past problem sets and Exams dating from 1993-2000. [NL]

National Gardening:

Hosted by National Gardening, is a great resource for educators interested in incorporating gardens into their classroom curriculum, and for parents looking for ways to supplement home gardening activities with their kids. The site offers sections on Classroom Stories, a plethora of hands-on activities, articles, an online guide to school greenhouses, and more. This website also includes links to a Q & A Library, a Resource Directory, and to information on Grants and Fundraising. Additionally, this site features an online Parents' Primer book with chapters on Garden Structures, Plants, Maintenance, and Ages & Stages too name a few. [NL]

University of Oxford: The Molecules of Life [QuickTime]

This Molecules of Life website was created by Craig D. Livingston and Dr. Martin E. Noble, of the University of Oxford as "an interactive introduction to the techniques used in the Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics to gain understanding of the structure of protein molecules." To increase accessibility to this subject matter, this website was designed for "a wide, non-specialist audience including young people of school age." The website links to educational sections on Proteins, X-Ray Crystallography, DNA, and more. Included in various sections are historical segments, photos, diagrams, and movies. [NL]

ThinkQuest: Plants And Our Environment

Hosted by ThinkQuest and created by a fourth grade class at Hinkle Creek Elementary School (located in Noblesville, Indiana) this great website was designed to educate people about Plants and Our Environment. Featuring kid-friendly information and quality home-made graphics designed with KidPix, the website covers many aspects of the plant world such as Photosynthesis, Pollination, Monocots & Dicots, and more. Further, the plants-environment theme adds an important ecological dimension to the website. The site offers interactive Plant and Our Environment Activities such as Plant Math and a matching plant to country location game. Links are provided to a Glossary and Guestbook as well. [NL]


Vision Internet Services: Cetacea

Hosted by UK-based Vision Internet Services, Cetacea is a comprehensive and artful website providing background information for all known species of dolphin, whale, and porpoise. Site visitors can use the search engine or indices to locate cetacean species by common or scientific name. The information pages for individual species include photos and information regarding Classification, Description, Food & Feeding, and more. The site also provides links to sections on cetacean evolution, human influences on cetaceans, and information on whale watching around the world. Additional features include a Glossary, list of Links, and an FAQ section. [NL]


Finchworld was created by finch enthusiast Rick Fulmer as an extensive online source for information about finches. This website provides links to an abundance of articles, good-quality photos, illustrations, and other information for numerous finch varieties including the Zebra Finch, Cordon Bleu, Star Finch, American Goldfinch, and many more. The site also offers the Finchlover and Finch Breeder Directories allowing site visitors to search different countries, and states in the U.S. for fellow finch lovers and breeders. Additional subsections of the site include Finch Health Topics, Housing Finches for Captive Breeds, and FAQs. [NL]

Dr. Mark Seward's Gila Monster Website [Microsoft Media Player]

"A leading authority on captive propagation of the Gila monster, Heloderma suspectum," Dr. Mark Seward created this website to disseminate information about Gila monsters. The site links to various Natural History sub-sections including Morphology, Range, Food and Metabolism, and more. For those interested in learning about captive breeding of Gila Monsters, the site also includes information about Acquisition, Husbandry, and Reproduction. These subject areas contain sub-categories like Feeding, Handling, Mating, Hatching, and more. This site also includes Free Gila Monster Videos for download. [NL]

Animal Planet: Jane Goodall-40 Years at Gombe [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player]

Hosted by Animal Planet, this Jane Goodall-40 Years in Gombe multi-media website shares stories, high-quality video clips, and photographs about the experiences of Jane Goodall, the chimpanzees of Gombe, and other information. A special feature of the site is the On Location: From the Field videos that are sent in every other month from Bill Wallauer, who has been video-documenting Gombe chimps since 1992. Additionally, site visitors can learn about Jane Goodall's life through a brief biography with photos, view an interview with Jane Goodall, join the Discover Roots and Shoots online discussion, and more. This site also hosts an Earth Alert section, and even provides family trees with photos for selected chimpanzees. [NL]

The Space For Nature Wildlife Gardening Forum

This informative Space For Nature Wildlife Gardening Forum website was developed for naturalists, horticulturalists and others interested in creating garden habitats for wildlife. The site editor is Richard Burkmar, who received his PhD from University College of Cardiff in avian ecology, and believes "that gardens are an increasingly valuable habitat in real terms for wildlife, and that they are uniquely positioned, as accessible natural spaces, to influence our behaviour and attitudes towards the wider environment." The forum offers a wealth of information and incredible photos under the categories of Features, Diary, News, Links and Refs, and Galleries. Selected examples from these different categories include: Making a Nest Box for Hole Nesting Birds, Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, New Sisken Gallery, and many more. The website invites anyone with relevant stories or pictures to contribute. [NL]

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center -- Native Plant Information Network: Image Gallery

An excellent, very well-organized resource, this Image Gallery website was created by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center -- Native Plant Information Network (last reported on in the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences May 17, 2002). The Image Gallery hosts "a collection of over 15,500 plant images representing 176 Plant Families and 4,443 individual species." Site users can search for images by Scientific or Common Name, or by pull-down menus for Plant Family, Photographer, and Region among others. Individual plant species pages provide extensive information about the image and species including Common Name, Geographic Status, State, Year Taken and more. The site also provides links to the Image Use Policy and the Image Request Form as well as information about how to contribute images. [NL]

The Ultimate Ungulate Page: Your Guide to the World's Hoofed Mammals

A very nicely-crafted website, The Ultimate Ungulate Page: Your Guide to the World's Hoofed Mammals was created by ungulate enthusiast Brent Huffman to provide the internet community with a reliable source for information, images, and links for the world's ungulates. The website contains introductory pages for the different ungulate orders including pictures, distribution maps, diagnostic characteristics, and literature cited. Each order page also provides a species list with links to individual species pages. The separate species pages contain great photos and information about ontogeny and reproduction, behavior, taxonomic classification, and more. The site links to a Glossary, Guestbook, and site guide as well. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Bird Migration

1. USGS: Migration of Birds
2. North American Migration Flyways
3. University of Lund, Sweden: Migration Ecology
4. Bird Studies Canada: Canadian Migration Monitoring Network
5. Journey North: Bald Eagle
6. National Geographic: Crane Cam
7. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center: The Migration Game
8. The Whyfiles: Migration

The songs of spring are in the air, as northbound birds grace the skies. The following websites cover various aspects of the amazing and ancient phenomenon of bird migration. Hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, the (1) first site is an online publication from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Migration of Birds. This publication provides an extensive account of migration including sections on Techniques for Studying Migration, Evolution of Migration, Flight Speed and Rate of Migration, and many more. The (2) second site from is a webpage describing the Flyway Systems of North America accompanied by clearly labeled maps. The (3) third site from the University of Lund, Sweden introduces various research studies in the field of Migration Ecology including research information on Orientation and Navigation, Migration patterns, the Lund Wind Tunnel, and more. The (4) fourth site presents the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, a standardized effort involving multiple stations in southern Canada and the northern United States to gather baseline data on northern breeding birds. Site visitors can link to information about species population trends, latest sightings, and to sites for any of the 22 stations. Journey North hosts the (5) fifth site, which tracks migrating bald eagles through the spring of 2004, providing migration updates, information about tracking bald eagle migration, and related educational lessons and activities. A National Geographic 2004 feature, Crane Cam is the (6) sixth site providing multimedia shows, a photo gallery, map, and viewings from a live remote camera at Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary. The (7) seventh site features an interactive Migration Game created by the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. The (8) final site, from the Whyfiles contains brief sections on various aspects of bird migration such as navigation, flight strategies, raptor migration, and declining numbers of migrating songbirds. This site also links to information about monarch migration. [NL]

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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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