The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 13

June 25, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


University of Pennsylvania: Center for Bioethics [pdf]

This website presents the University of Pennsylvanias Center for Bioethics, "a leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine." The website offers information about the Centers programs as well as information regarding faculty and staff contact information, research interests, and selected publications. The Faculty & Staff section also links to a number of downloadable faculty publications including "Are We Ready for Mass Genetic Testing: Ethical and Social Hurdles" by Arthur Caplan, "Bioethics and History" by Bob Baker, and "Toward a New Vocabulary of Human Genetic Variation" by Mildred Cho and Pamela Sankar. The current Center Programs include The Ethics of Gene Patenting, Toward as Understanding of Benefit Sharing, and the Penn High School Bioethics Project. [NL]

Bishop Museum: Fish Databases

This website offers access to three on-line fish database sites from the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. The first databasethe Bishop Museum Hawaiian Fish Checklistcontains 980 records and offers search fields for Genus, Order, Species, Family, and more. The second site, the Fuji Fish Searchable Database, is under construction but is still operational and includes search criteria for Taxa (with our without specimens), Taxon, and Locality. The third database, the Bishop Museum Zooarchaeology Laboratory Fish Osteology Collection, "is searchable by order, family, genus, species, common and local names, locality and status (whether endemic, indigenous, or non-indigenous). Bishop Museums comparative reference collection is available for use by students and researchers interested in identifying fish remains from archaeological sites in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific." [NL]

Organic Farming Research Foundation [pdf]

This website presents the Organic Farming Research Foundation, an organization "dedicated to promoting organic farming through funding of on-farm research and dissemination of the results." OFRF offers grants and technical support to researchers, farmers, and students interested in developing and conducting organic farming studies. The websites Grantmaking and Research section includes guidelines for applying for OFRF Grants, a guide to conducting on-farm research, PDF files for OFRF-funded research reports, and more. The OFRF site links to a short list of publications, policy news and updates, special events, and press releases and clippings. The site also links to information about the Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research. [NL]

Mote Marine Laboratory

This website presents the Mote Marine Laboratory (MML), "an independent, nonprofit research organization dedicated to excellence in marine science and education." The MML website links to information about the laboratory's various research centers including the Center for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research, Center for Shark Research, Center for Eco-Toxicology, and Center for Fisheries Enhancement. The MML Center for Coastal Ecology links to information on its three research programs -- Coastal Resources, Benthic Ecology, and Chemical Ecology. The MML research efforts are focused on the Southwest Florida coastal region, and they have academic connections with Florida State University, the University of South Florida, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MML website also contains information about the lab's staff, Tropical Research Laboratory, and Arthur Vining Davis Library which offers online journals, and links to bibliographic databases. [NL]

University of Southampton: Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins [pdf, Java]

Hosted by the University of Southampton, this website presents the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO). The CAHO website contains information about research projects, publications, and staff. The Research section links to basic information about research projects in the UK, Africa, and Europe. Publication lists, background information, and contacts are provided for CAHO academic staff and research students. The site also contains sections for News & Events, and related Links. [NL]

University of Victoria: The Whale Research Lab

This website presents the Whale Research Lab at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The Whale Lab -- consisting of a small group of faculty, graduate students, and associates -- focuses on conservation-related marine mammal research. The site features research project profiles for M.Sc. and PhD students, and includes a short list of theses and dissertations. Dr. Ellen Hines dissertation -- titled Conservation of the Dugong (Dugong dugon) along the Andaman Coast of Thailand: An example of the integration of the Conservation Biology in Endangered Species Research -- is available in multiple PDF files. The website includes a list of faculty publications as well. The Whale Lab site also links to information about the Marine Research Intern Program with the Society for Ecological & Coastal Research. [NL]


Ecological Society of America: Ecology Education Network

Are you on the lookout for good ecology education resources? Hosted by the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the Ecology Education Network (EcoEdNet) provides educators with "a forum to contribute and locate peer reviewed, scientifically and pedagogically sound ecology education content." The website offers eight browsing categories including: Ecology as a Science; Biodiversity; Ecology: Technology, Society, and Policy; and Energy Transfer. The site also provides a basic textbox search engine as well as an advanced search option with such fields as Title, Discipline, Audience / Educational Levels, Author, and more. In addition, EcoEdNet offers options for submitting resources, an Ecoed Listserv and a link to ESAs other education activities. Note: The site provides free access to resources, but site visitors must first register with EcoEdNet. [NL]

University of California-Berkeley Museum of Paleontology: Introduction to the Anthophyta

Did you know that we depend on flowering plants for much of our food, clothing, and medicine? Presented by the University of California - Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, this online exhibit explores basic aspects of the earths largest group of plants: the Anthophyta (otherwise known as the flowering plants). The exhibit is divided into three sections including Fossil Record, Systematics, and More on Morphology. The hyperlinked sections and sub-sections cover information about monocots and dicots, paleoherbs, bromeliads, land plants, photosynthetic pigments, and more. Some of the exhibit pages also contain outside resource links for more information on various aspects of the flowering plants. (Check back later for the Life History & Ecology section which is currently under construction.) [NL]

Rice University-Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Social Behavior of Polistine Wasps [RealOne Player, gif]

This fascinating website on the Polistine Wasps was developed as an educational resource for undergraduate, high school, and elementary school students by Dr. Joan E. Strassmann and her colleagues at Rice University. Based on research done by Dr. Strausmann in Texas Brazos Bend State Park, the website provides information, video clips, and images about Polistine Wasps. Topics covered in the site include wasp behavior, head size, ovaries, and more. The information and research data are accompanied by three assignments originally designed for undergraduates, eleventh and twelfth graders, and fifth graders. In addition to these pilot assignments, the websites resources could be used to develop some interesting classroom activities for a wide variety of ages. [NL]

PBS-American Field Guide-Teacher Resources-Mammals: Mammals and Their Ways [pdf]

From PBS - American Field Guide, this website presents a downloadable unit of three educational activities that address mammal habitats, adaptations, and other behaviors. The Mammals lesson is designed for 6-8th graders, and through the activities students observe, collect data, and analyze mammal behaviors. The first activity encourages students to research biomes for different mammals and features a video clip about prairie dogs. The second activity focuses on mammal adaptations and features a video on Oregon bats. The final activity, on mammal behavior, features video clips on border collies and Oregon coyotes. Each activity is laid-out clearly, and the site includes a section for related National Contents Standards. The site also links to related downloadable documents including a Biome list, Mammal Distribution Worksheet, Behavior Data Sheet, and more. [NL]

American Phytopathological Society-Education Center: Introductory Plant Pathology Resources

Hosted by the American Phytopathological Society-Education Center, this website presents a great collection of introductory Plant Pathology resources. Although the Introduction to the Major Pathogen Groups is still under construction, it still contains three informative articles covering vascular-colonizing bacteria, parasitic flowering plants, and plant-parasitic nematodes. The site also offers plant pathology laboratory exercises offered by faculty at various universities, including Cytology of Fungal Infection from P. Vincelli of the University of Kentucky, and Oomycetes from V. Heffer, M.L. Powelson, and K.B. Johnson of Oregon State University. The site includes an article on Plant Disease Diagnosis by M.B. Riley, M.R. Williamson, and O. Maloy, and an extensive Illustrated Glossary as well. The website also links to a nice online guide for Plant Disease Lessons (reported on in the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences, June 13, 2003). [NL]

Wisconsin Online Resource Center: Construction of the Cell Membrane [Macromedia Flash Player]

Hosted by the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, this fun and informative web-based tutorial on the Construction of the Cell Membrane was created by Barbara Liang and Chad Blohowiak. Although the site content is geared for an older audience, the tutorial is so clear and easy to navigate that younger students curious about cells will enjoy it as well. Through the process of building the molecular structure of an animated cell membrane, site visitors will learn "the makeup and the basis for cell membrane function." The 23-page tutorial is fairly brief and interactive with questions and assignments such as placing the fibrous receptor or glycoprotein into the cell membrane. This site also has link for downloading the required software plug-in. [NL]


University of Hawaii-Botany Department: Vascular Plant Family Access Page

Created by botanist Dr. Gerald D. Carr of the University of Hawaii, this website is filled with great annotated photos of vascular plants. The site is organized into sections for the non-flowering and flowering plant families. The plant families are organized according to several systems including traditional presentation, Arthur Cronquists classification scheme (1981), and the phylogenetic outline of Judd et al. (2002). The site also offers a new integrated Alphabetical Index for Flowering Plant Families. Plant families are hyperlinked to an introductory paragraph accompanied by photos and information about selected species in that group. For example, the Moraceae section includes annotated photos for jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), climbing fig (Ficus pumila), and mulberry (Morus alba). The site also includes diagrams depicting non-flowering vascular plants as treated by Judd et al., and flowering plant relationships according to Cronquist. [NL]

The Cancer Information Network

The Cancer Information Network is a noncommercial website that was "founded to provide support and information to cancer patients and their caregivers." The site offers access to a plethora of resources that can help patients and others find current high-quality information on many types of cancer. Resource links are provided for many specific cancer subject areas including Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Lung Cancer, and many more. The site includes sections on News & Features, Support, and Prevention as well. The site also offers lists of relevant websites, support organizations, and a dictionary of cancer-related terms. [NL]

Global Biodiversity Information Facility: Biodiversity Data Portal

This Biodiversity Data Portal website is hosted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (reported on in the Scout Report for Science & Engineering, March 14, 2001), an international organization committed to providing "free and universal access to data regarding the worlds diversity." As its name indicates, the Data Portal provides access to biodiversity information from around the world and allows site visitors to browse for taxonomic data organized by Kingdom of Life, country, or data providers. Visitors can search for specimen or field observation data by data providers as well. The site also contains a search engine with search options that include many different countries, scientific name, common name in any language, English name, and more. This website is available in French, English, and Danish. Note: Prior to viewing data, site visitors must first agree to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Interim Data Use Agreement. [NL]

USDA Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab: Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers [pdf]

As part of a collaborative USDA and University of Wyoming website on grasshoppers (reported on in the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences, May 16, 2003) this site offers a great Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers by Robert E. Pfadt. The online field guide includes sections on External Anatomy, Life Cycles, Grasslands of North America, Food Plants, and more. The sites text descriptions are supported with clear, detailed diagrams and nicely organized tables. In addition, the site contains a Glossary with many terms hyperlinked to corresponding diagrams in the guide. The site also offers a sizeable list of Selected References, and excellent fact sheets for 56 species of grasshopper. [NL]

The Fruit Pages

Created by fruit enthusiast Jeroen Goedhart, The Fruit Pages proclaim: "Everything you want to know about fruit." That claim may be a bit of a stretch, yet in over 150 pages, the Fruit Pages certainly serve up a sizeable amount of fruit information. From fruit nutrition facts to comparisons of acidic and sweet fruit to fruit selection, this website covers a fair amount of ground. Examples of website sections include: The Energy in Fruit, Fruit Sites For Kids, Fruit From All Over The World, and Fruit & Detoxification, just to name a few. A wide variety of individual fruits are profiled as well, with information about common, scientific, and family names, storage, recipes, and more. [NL]

Created by plant enthusiast Philippe Faucon, is a well-designed website with information about, and pictures of, over 3,500 plants. Plant lists are organized by scientific and common name, succulents, xeriscape plants, palm trees, herbs, and trees. The plant lists are quite extensive, and each species receives its own description page with a nice close-up photo as well as brief information about family, frost and heat tolerance, sun exposure, origin, propagation, and more. The site also connects to articles, a Bulletin Board, Bookstore, and relevant links. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Texas A&M University-Bioinformatics Working Group: Cyber Sedge
Digital Flora of Texas-Vascular Plant Image Library: Cyperaceae
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens: Cyperaceae newsletter
National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and Environment and Heritage Service-Flora of Northern Ireland: Species List-Cyperaceae
Killdeer Countryside Virtual Wetlands Preserve: Sedge Meadow
USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center-Midwestern Wetland Flora: Species List and Identification Key-Sedges

The following websites share information about the wonderful, wetland loving sedge family -- known around the world as Cyperaceae. The Cyber Sedge (1) site, from the Texas A&M University - Bioinformatics Working Group, contains a nice collection of Carex species illustrations "by Harry Charles Creutzburg for Kenneth Kent Mackenzies (1940) North American Cariceae, two volumes edited by Harold William Rickett and published by the New York Botanical Garden." The second (2) site, from the Digital Flora of Texas - Vascular Plant Image Library, links to many quality images of Cyperaceae from a number of different collections. The third (3) site, from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, features the three editions of their Cyperaceae Newsletter. This site also links to some brief information about sedge research at Kew. The fourth (4) site - a Cyperaceae Species List -- is part of the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and Environment and Heritage Service - Flora of Northern Ireland website. The species are listed by scientific and common name, and each individual species links to a Northern Ireland distribution map (some species pages also include photographs and brief descriptions). The Sedge Meadow (5) website, a feature of the Killdeer Countryside Virtual Wetlands Preserve, was created by junior high school students as part of the Illinois Museums in the Classroom program. The site contains a short, concise introduction to sedge meadows, and provides links to information about various animal inhabitants such as cranes, whirligig beetles, beavers, and turtles. The final (6)
site is a Species List and Identification Key for Sedges from the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Each sedge species links to a feature page with a clear close-up photo, simple U.S. distribution map, and brief information about field marks, habit, flowers, stems, and more. [NL]

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