The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 7

April 2, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


Florida State Collection of Arthropods - Museum of Entomology [pdf]

This website presents the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA) Museum of Entomology, a great resource for researchers from around the world, currently housing an "estimated 8.15 million prepared specimens including 3,500 primary and at least 15,000 secondary types." The site links to sections on Collections and Major Holdings, Publications of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Research Associates Program, Entomology Links, and more. The site also links to a list of the FSCA Entomologists (including their research interests and contact information), and to the Center for Systematic Entomology which provides information about annual grants for taxonomic researchers, and publications such as their quarterly journal, Insecta Mundi. The site links to several Taxonomic Databases as well, although lightning damage to the server has rendered them non-operational at present. [NL]

Texas A&M University: Human Issues in HORTICULTURE

This Human Issues in HORTICULTURE website presents the work of Dr. Jayne Zajiceks Research Lab in the Horticultural Sciences Department at Texas A&M University. The study of human issues in horticulture examines people / plant interactions and "encompasses the areas of urban horticulture, public horticulture, and therapeutic horticulture." This site provides links to Current Research, Previous Research, and Future Projects sections. Examples of Current Research projects include Horticultural Therapy and Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Nutrition and School Gardens, and Teacher Training and School Gardens. The site offers a list of links to related organizations and programs as well as information about internships. [NL]

The Natural History Museum of London-The Cockayne database-British & Irish Butterflies and Moths part 1: Butterflies

Named after Dr. E A Cockayne, The Cockayne database website was developed collaboratively by the Natural History Museum in London and Dr. Cockaynes Trust. The central aim of the website is "to provide free access to a comprehensive atlas of British butterflies and moths, illustrating all native and introduced species and their variation." This site represents the first phase of the Cockayne project focusing on British Butterflies, and it currently "provides approximately 1700 images illustrating geographic, seasonal, genetic and major individual variations." Site visitors can search the database by scientific or common name, or by browsing numerous images of native and regular migrant species. This site also provides information about the Cockayne Fellowship for new work on Lepidoptera. [NL]

Georgetown University Medical Center-Protein Information Resource: Non-Redundant Reference Protein Database

Created at Georgetown University Medical Center, this website hosts the Protein Information Resource: Non-Redundant Reference Protein Database (PIR-NREF), a comprehensive source for protein sequence data that keeps current with the genome sequencing projects. Free for downloading and updated biweekly, PIR-NREF contains 1,581,210 entries in its current release. The site "provides direct entry retrieval (based on protein IDs), text search (protein or species names), and sequence search (BLAST, peptide match, and pattern match) for full-scale and species-based protein identification. Species-based browsing and searching are supported for about 100 organisms, including over 70 complete genomes." This site links to background information about PIR and other PIR Databases as well. [NL]

European Register of Marine Species

This website presents the European Register of Marine Species, an EU-funded marine biodiversity research consortium involving research groups in nine European nations. An ultimate goal of the project was to "produce a register of marine species in Europe, linked with a bibliography of identification guides, register of taxonomic experts, locations of collections of reference specimens, and an Information Pack on European marine biodiversity (based on this projects results)." The site links to brief and full checklists for numerous taxa including information on genus, higher taxon, authority, specific epithet, distribution, and more. From the species pages, site users can link to information about the checklists, identification guides, and taxonomic hierarchy. The homepage provides links to information about project participants, project background, and a simple map illustrating the geographic scope of the project. [NL]

California Academy of Sciences -- Ichthyology: Annotated Checklists of Fishes [pdf]

The Annotated Checklists of Fishes is an electronic journal published by the California Academy of Sciences. Established in 2003, the journal "serves to provide the most up-to-date taxonomic treatment of each family of Recent fishes." The Checklists are available in PDF files and are organized sequentially, phylogenetically, and alphabetically by family. This site links to other sections of the Department of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences as well, including the Catalog of Fishes, Collection Database, Funding Opportunities, Newsletter of Systematic Ichthyology, and more. [NL]

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: The FHCRC Dog Genome Project

From the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, this website presents the Dog Genome Project, whose team is "working to develop resources necessary to map and clone canine genes in an effort to utilize dogs as a model system for genetics and cancer research." This site links to past versions of the canine genomic map, a canine cytogenetic, linkage, and radiation hybrid map, as well as the A 1 Mb Resolution Radiation Hybrid Map of the Canine Genome. The site also links to sections on supplemental information for recent publications, methods and protocols for building the canine genomic map, and references. Information for dog owners and relevant links to other organizations are provided as well. [NL]

The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark-Department of Dairy and Food Science-Food Technology-SPECARB: Raman Spectra of Carbohydrates

Created by Professor Soren B. Engelson of the Department of Dairy and Food Science at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark, this website presents SPECARB, "an experimental database containing Raman spectra of carbohydrates. [SPECARB] is intended to contain solid state Raman spectra of carbohydrates from the monomers and their derivatives to complex polysaccharides." At present, site visitors can view over twenty spectra including Me-a-D-Glucopyranoside, Raffinose, Amylose, Xanthan, and more. Professor Engelson invites feedback and contributions from other scientists engaged in related work. [NL]


Enchanted Learning: Biomes-Habitats

Created by Enchanted Learning, this kid-friendly Biome-Habitats website introduces children to many of the earth's biomes. Although the site provides basic information about many different biomes, the main emphasis is on the animals that live in each habitat. From the homepage, site visitors can link to almost twenty separate biome / habitat sites including Desert, Cave, Savanna, and Coral Reef-just too name a few. Each site presents a brief introduction covering general characteristics, such as plant life and climate, and then provides links to many separate animal pages ranging from grasshoppers to eagles. The animal pages feature nice diagrams (that can be printed out for coloring) and basic information about anatomy, diet and more. The Biome-Habitats homepage also contains a simple chart listing differences between biomes including elements such as amount of water, temperature range, and soil quality. (Note: While the site asks for a $20 / year donation, it is free to use and requires no registration or fee). [NL]

Troy City School District: Troy High School: Biology Online: The Skinny

The Skinny is an impressive biology website that was created by Joe DiBari and Jeremy Warden of Troy High School (located in New York). The Skinny site presents "a collection of reviews for all the major topics in Biology." The homepage links to pages containing varying amounts of information about topics such as Ecology, Enzymes, Evolution, and Mitosis -- just too name a few. Many of the subject pages contain a variety of high-quality images including photos, diagrams, and animated graphics. The site also links to numerous online labs such as an Osmosis Lab, Muscle Lab, Seed Lab, Plant Growth Lab, and many more. [NL]

COSI: Virtual Knee Surgery Exhibit [Macromedia Flash Player]

Created by COSI, this comprehensive and very interactive Virtual Knee Surgery Exhibit invites the site visitor to become a surgeon and guides them through all the phases of a knee surgery. At different phases the site visitor-turned-surgeon chooses between tools like a scalpel, mallet, and patellar jig, to perform various tasks such as shaping the femur, leg incision, drilling of bones, and range of motion tests. Site visitors must also answer multiple choice questions throughout the surgery regarding anesthesia, methods of closing the incision, and more. The virtual surgery is in an animated cartoon-type format but, for the adventurous, the site also offers real surgery photos of different parts of the operation. The site includes subtitles and an activity site map that allows users to skip to certain surgical segments. [NL]

National Health Museum-Access Excellence: Backyard Birding-Research Project

Hosted by Access Excellence at the National Health Museum, the Backyard Birding -- Research Project was created by Monte Vista high school teacher Stan Hitomi. This hands-on project is targeted towards high school-aged life science and biology students and can be adapted to run from between two months to an entire year. The project emphasizes research, cooperative learning, and community outreach skills as students construct bird feeders, maintain a journal, design a research project, and communicate findings via multi-media poster presentations. The site provides a project outline including information on background, materials needed, project instructions, data analysis, and more. [NL]

LEARN NC-The North Carolina Teachers' Network-Instructional Resources: A' Planting We Will Go

Hosted by The North Carolina Teachers' Network, this website features A' Planting We Will Go, a lesson plan created for first grade students by long-time elementary school teacher Karol Schriber. Based on Eric Carle's book, The Tiny Seed, this lesson introduces students to factors that influence seed germination and plant growth. The four-week lesson familiarizes students with the basic anatomy and functions of plants as well as allowing them to observe plant growth under a variety of environmental conditions. At the end of the lesson, students also have a nice Mother's Day gift to take home. The website includes sections on Teachers' Goals / Objectives, Material / Resources Needed, Activities, and more. Additionally, for teachers from North Carolina, the site contains a North Carolina Curriculum Alignment section. [NL] Animal Instincts [RealOne Player]

Hosted by's Lesson Plans Library, this Animal Instincts lesson plan was created for fifth and sixth graders by Virginia elementary school teacher Jessie Kraft. The lesson teaches students about differences between instincts and learned behavior, the role instincts play in survival, and the relationship between environment and behavior. The site contains sections on Objectives, Materials, Discussion Questions, Evaluation, and more. Additionally, the site includes academic standards and benchmarks, links to other related sites, and a neat vocabulary list that links to audio clips pronouncing each word and using it in a sentence. This Animal Instincts lesson requires two class periods and is available in a Rich Text Format printable version. [NL]

Access Excellence: A Walk Through the Gut

Hosted by the Access Excellence at the National Health Museum, this website features A Walk Through the Gut, a lesson created for high school students by educator VivianLee Ward. This hands-on lesson promotes cooperative learning by directing students to work together as they simulate and analyze the passage of food through the digestive system. Ms. Ward designed this one-hour life sciences lesson for special education and special needs students as well. The site includes short sections on Materials, Procedure / Description of Lesson, Group Questions, and more. [NL]

Tramline Virtual Field Trips: Baking Bread Field Trip

Do you enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread? Featured as part of the Tramline Virtual Field Trip series, this website, created by educator Eduardo Peirano, treats students to a Baking Bread Field Trip. This educational field trip "utilizes Internet resources to introduce the principles, tools, and techniques of bread making. It is designed for elementary school children in grades 4-6 but is appropriate for students of many ages." Field Trip Stops connect to different websites providing information on Wheat, Milling, Facts About Bread, Baking Ingredients, and more. This site also offers a Teacher's Resources page that contains additional internet resource links and information for bread baking activities, cooking conversion tables, nutrition activities, and more. Site visitors can link to other Tramline field trips from this site as well. (Note: The link to the Wild Yeast? AKA Sourdough Stop is not operational at present.) [NL]


Nearctica: Native Conifers of North America

This outstanding website on Native Conifers of North America was created by Nearctica, an organization devoted to connecting the internet public to high quality natural sciences websites. The site offers The Complete Conifers of North America whereby site visitors can access Genera and Species from a checklist or by using a nicely organized key system based on various conifer characteristics. Species pages include beautiful illustrations, photos, and simple distribution maps as well as information about Identifying Characters, Needles, Bark, Habitat, and more. The site also links to six additional sections highlighting selected conifers by region including Conifers of the Eastern Deciduous Forest, Conifers of the Rocky Mountain Region, Some Remarkable Conifers, and Conifers of California. Site users can even print out a 2004 Pine Cone Calendar. [NL]

Indonesian Nature Conservation Database Internet project

This extensive website on Indonesian Nature Conservation was created by Indonesian conservation enthusiast Ed Colijn with contributions from members of organizations like the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Wildlife Conservation Society, Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance, and many more. The site provides descriptions of various National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, Nature Reserves and Recreation Parks in Indonesia. It also contains checklists for mammal and bird species that occur in Indonesia offering information on scientific and common name, indonesian distribution, status, and more. Checklists for reptiles, amphibians, and freshwater fish will be provided in the future as well. Additionally, the site provides numerous links to related organizations and resources, a What's New section, a Trip Reports section, and list of site references. [NL]

PBS: Wild Horses, an American Romance

Hosted by PBS, this Wild Horses, an American Romance website was created by the Nebraska ETV Network -- in partnership with South Dakota Public Television -- to share information and stories about wild horses in America. Geared towards a wide audience ranging from young children to horse hobbyists, the site provides sections on the Origin Of The Horse, Mustangs And The Land, The Mustang Dilemma, and more. The site also offers a Teacher's Guide with educational resources for teachers and students including lessons, activities, book lists, and a glossary. The Teacher's Guide also links to a Webliography for more information on mustangs. [NL]

A Boundary Waters Compendium -- The Swanson Party BWCA: Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky...The Natural History of the Northwoods

This website on the Natural History of the Northwoods was created by Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) enthusiast Earl J.S. Rook. The Flora and Fauna sections are the main features of the site as the Earth and Sky sections are awaiting future development. The Flora section of the site is well organized and extensive, including subsections on Ferns and Fern Allies, Aquatic Plants, Trees, Terrestrial Herbs, and others. Many of the individual flora species link to great photos and detailed information on scientific and common name, taxonomy, description, habitat, and more. The Fauna section offers species indices for Birds, Fish, Mammals, and Reptiles & Amphibians. This site provides links to many other pages relating to the BWCAW as well. Several of the links to other Northwoods natural history sites are not working, but this does not detract from the overall value of this site. [NL]

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds [RealOne Player]

A Cornell Lab of Ornithology creation, this All About Birds website provides birders with a wealth of resources. The website features a first-rate online bird guide with photos, songs and calls, range maps, and information on reproduction, behavior, habitat, and more. The site's Birding 1, 2, 3 program offers instructions for identifying birds, where to go birding, and how to report observations so that you "become part of the world's largest bird studies research team." The site hosts a Gear Guide with sections on Binoculars and Spotting Scopes, and sections on Conservation, Attracting Birds, and Studying Birds. Site visitors with broadband internet connections can link to video clips of bird behavior from the Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library. [NL]

Royal Botanical Gardens-Orchid Society: Growing Orchids

Hosted by the Orchid Society of Royal Botanical Gardens in Canada, this website features an introduction to growing orchids by Tony Capon of the Kingston Orchid Society. Accompanied by small, but beautiful images of orchids the article includes sections on Light, Water, Fertilizer, Temperature, and more. This site provides links to a nice site on the Native Orchids of Canada, and to information about the Orchid Society of Royal Botanical Gardens. A page of relevant links is offered as well. [NL]

National Geographic: WildWorld -- Sights & Sounds [RealOne Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

From National Geographic, this WildWorld -- Sights and Sounds website offers visitors an immersion experience in "some of the world's most distinctive ecoregions through audio, video, photos, interviews, conservation tips, and more." The eight ecoregions include the Bering Sea, Eastern Himalayan Broadleaf and Conifer Forests, Amazon River and Flooded Forest, and Mesoamerican Reef -- just to name a few. Separate ecoregion sites provide a map with links allowing visitors to connect to clear photos and information about various fauna of the region. Additionally, the ecoregion sites offer basic ecological and geographical information as well as related links. [NL]


Developed by amateur mycologist Dr. Michael Kuo with contributions from amateur and professional mycologists, MushroomExpert.Com is an excellent resource for a wide variety of mushroom enthusiasts. The site provides a genus and species index and search engine for detailed information on, and quality up-close photos of, over 330 North American Mushrooms. Individual species pages include brief sections on Habitat, Cap, Stem, and Microscopic Features-to name a few. The site also provides information for beginners, as well as sections on Studying Mushrooms, Edibility, a Morel Data Collection Project, and more. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Gardening and Landscaping

1. The Gardener's Network
2. Colorado State University: Gardening & Horticulture
3. Garden Advice
4. Garden with Grammy K
5. Organic Gardening From Down Under
6. The Butterfly Butterfly Gardening
7. Illinois Department of Natural Resources: Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
8. Friends of Bassett Creek: Rain Gardens: Gardening with Water Quality in Mind

As the presence of spring grows stronger, many people's thoughts drift towards their yards and gardens. The websites assembled below provide resources for, and information about, different aspects of gardening and landscaping. Although the pop-up ads are a little intense at the first site (1), persistent navigating will pay off because The Gardener's Network website offers a wealth of information about a variety of subjects including extensive sections on Flowers, Vegetables, House plants, Lawn Care, and many more. The Gardening & Horticulture website from Colorado State University (2) is another excellent resource with great photos and numerous links to information on xeriscape gardens, container gardening, plant health care, and children's gardening -- just to name a few. The third site (3), GardenAdvice, is an extensive British gardening site with How To sections on Fruit Gardens, Greenhouses, Garden Diseases, Organic Gardens, and more. The fourth site (4), Garden with Grammy K is a fun site that offers monthly garden tips, family recipes from, you guessed it, Grammy K, who is a master gardener, grandmother, and grower in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. The fifth site (5), Organic Gardening From Down Under, is an artful Australian website that provides information on different elements of organic gardening including composting, companion planting, pest sprays, and more. Hosted by The Butterfly, the sixth site (6) offers a plethora of links covering many aspects of Butterfly Gardens. The seventh site (7), hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, offers a comprehensive article on Prairie Establishment and Landscaping by William E. McLain. The eighth site (8), from the Minnesota-based Friends of Bassett Creek, displays a pamphlet on rain gardens including a list of Native Plants for Rain Gardens, some of which link to photos. [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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