The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 16

August 6, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


University of California -- Davis: Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center [pdf]

The Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center (FNRIC) aids in the "coordination and dissemination of University of California (UC) research-based information, accomplishments, and statewide research and extension activities related to fruit and nut crops." The site contains a wide variety of information for many fruits and nuts including avocados, macadamia nuts, strawberries, and walnuts -- just to name a few. Most of the individual crop pages link to a handful of general publications as well as information about production management, production economics, meetings, related organizations, and more. The site also links to sections for UCCE Pomology Farm Advisor Newsletters and Publications, Pomology Weather Services, California Backyard Orchard services, and related links. [NL]

Animal Behavior Society Web Site

Established in 1964, the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) "is a non-profit scientific society, founded to encourage and promote the study of animal behavior." The four major sections of the ABS website include background information about the Society, an Applied Animal Behavior section, Animal Behavior in Practice, and an ABS administrative section designed mostly for members and those interested in membership. Animal behaviorists will appreciate an announcement board with job, scholarship, and internship listings. Additionally, the Applied Animal Behavior section provides information about the ABS certification program and a downloadable application for certification. This section also contains a Directory of Certified Animal Behaviorists, several online articles, and related links. [NL]

University of California, San Diego-Bier Lab: Homophila

Hosted by the Bier Lab at University of California-San Diego, Homophila is a human disease to drosophila gene database. The site was designed by Dr. Lawrence Reiter and Dr. Ethan Bier and "utilizes the sequence information of human disease genes from NCBI OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) database in order to determine if sequence homologs of these genes exist in the current Drosophila sequence database (FlyBase). Sequences are compared using NCBIs BLAST program." Site visitors can search the database by one or more of the following: OMIM number, gene name, human disease, allelic variant descriptions, title, and subtitle. For detailed information regarding this analysis, the site links to a 12-page downloadable document by Reiter, et. al titled A Systematic Analysis of Human Disease-Associated Gene Sequences In Drosophila melanogaster. The website posts current statistics and the database receives weekly updates. [NL]

BioCarta: Pathways

From BioCarta, this Pathways website provides online maps depicting "molecular relationships from areas of active research." The site operates as a community-led forum which is constantly integrating "emerging proteomic information from the scientific community." The site contains information for more than 120,000 genes representing multiple species. Site visitors can view numerous maps including Actions of Nitric Oxide in the Heart, Activation of PKC through G protein coupled receptor, B cell Survival Pathway, Deregulation of CDK5 in Alzheimers Disease, Protein Kinase A at the Centrosome, and many more. [NL]

Society for Neuroscience

Formed in 1970, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) "is a nonprofit membership organization of basic scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system." SfN is the largest organization of its kind with over 34,000 members, and their "primary goal is to promote the exchange of information among researchers." The site offers a nice Classified Ads section with listings for equipment exchanges, future meetings, and available positions at many different universities and other institutions. The SfN site contains a healthy list of fellowships, awards, and prizes as well. The Publications section includes information about various SfN publications, most notably the The Journal of Neuroscience, which members receive online weekly . The SfN website also contains detailed information about the organization with sections for the Mission, Strategic Plan, Bylaws, Committees, Staff, and more. [NL]

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Programs and Research

This website presents the research activities of the pioneering Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Museums research foci include such areas as community and whole-organism biology, habitat conservation promotion, and interdisciplinary studies. The site links to information about current and past projects, information about the staff, and an extensive list of staff publications spanning several years. The Science Web Pages provide detailed overview of Museum research projects like the Ironwood Forest National Monument Biological Survey, Migratory Pollinators Project, and Eastern Sonora Ecological Studies. Separate Science Web Pages contain a variety of information about different aspects of the project, information about the researchers, and nice photos. [NL]


National Association of Biology Teachers [pdf]

A useful resource for a broad spectrum of life science teachers, the 9,000-member National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) is committed to empowering "educators to provide the best possible biology and life science education for all students." The extensive NABT website contains sections for membership, news and events, conferences and workshops, publications, and various educational resources. The sites Education & Professional Development section includes subsections for grants, awards, volunteer opportunities, and field test opportunities. The website also contains a great selection of annotated online resources organized into categories like Ecology, Marine Mammals, Evolution, Bioethics, Neuroscience, and many more. Downloadable forms and information about the upcoming 2004 Convention in Chicago are available as well. [NL]

Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History: North American Mammals [QuickTime, pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Taking online field guides to a whole new level, the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of Natural History has brought this gem to the Internet for students, teachers, and naturalists of all ages. The website provides information for over 400 mammal species and includes high-quality range maps, photographs, scientific illustrations, family tree diagrams, weights and measures, and more. Integrating new technologies, the site offers interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that pinpoint the location of different mammal species. Site visitors can also choose from a variety of map overlays to assist mammal searches including rivers, cities, topography, state boundaries, and US interstate highways. The site provides the conservation status for different species; create-your-own field guide options; skull, teeth, and bone images; resource links; and a helpful glossary as well. The website is based on the Mammals of North America by Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, and The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals by Don E. Wilson and Sue Ruff. [NL]

Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Programs / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Horseshoe Crab

Did you know that the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) has inhabited the earth for over 300 million years? If you are hunting for more information about this prehistoric animal, check out this website which was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Programs to share research-based information about horseshoe crabs with the public. The site contains the following sections: History & Biology, Human Use, Research, Shorebird Connection, and Fisheries Management. The sections are fairly brief and concise, but some contain several sub-sections. The website also includes a list of other online resources. [NL]

Fermilab Education Office-Illinois Ecosystem Project: Photos & Information about Prairie Plants [Macromedia Shockwave Player, gif]

From the Fermilab Education Office -- named after the world famous physicist Enrico Fermi and located amidst a tallgrass prairie -- this website offers a nice collection of prairie information and interactive programs for students. The first section contains images and profiles for plants like Big Bluestem, Mountain Mint, Compass Plant, Black-eyed Susan, and more. Each plant profile includes a photo as well as common and scientific name, family, type, typical habitat, and growth pattern. The Photos & Information about Prairie Plants section links to plant drawings and interactive sections that explore blooming times, root systems, and prairie quadrats. [NL]

BRIDGE: National Marine Educators Association

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) is composed of professionals from a variety of fields interested in the enjoyment and study of the worlds fresh and salt water. The NMEA website is maintained by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences Bridge Project, an ocean sciences teacher resource center (reported on in the Scout Report for Science & Engineering, February 2, 1999). The NMEA website offers a bulletin board and the Scuttlebutt email list to facilitate informal communication between marine educators, scientists, and marine enthusiasts. The site also offers information about joining NMEA and includes links to their many regional chapter sites. In addition, the website links to information about NMEA history; officers and committees; scholarships and awards; and the upcoming 2005 conference in Hawaii. [NL]

Biological Sciences Curriculum Study

Looking for ideas or resources for your biology lessons? A specialist in inquiry-based education "the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) is a nonprofit corporation that develops and supports the implementation of innovative science education curriculum for students in kindergarten through college." The BSCS website is organized around their three main activity centers: Curriculum Development, Professional Development, and Research & Evaluation. The Curriculum Development section profiles a wide variety of resources and organizes them by elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. The Professional Development section features information about various BSCS development programs, institutes, and other resources. The Research & Evaluation section includes information about current research projects, informed consent, evaluation philosophy, and internal and external evaluation projects. The site also provides corporate information about BSCS, a press kit and a job board. [NL]


International Society of Arachnology: The Arachnology Home Page

Arachnids play a vital role in the web of life, yet many of us possess a limited knowledge of this amazing class of animals. Hosted by the International Society of Arachnology (ISA), the Arachnology Home Page serves as an informational Internet resource center on arachnids. The site contains links to approximately 2,000 related sites and organizes them by arachnid order and by various subjects. The site also organizes links under a number of spider-specific categories. Note: To reach the Arachnology Home Page, site visitors must select the Arachnology Pages link on the ISA home page menu. [NL]

American Institute of Biological Sciences [pdf]

An important organization for biologists and science educators, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) "was established as a national umbrella organization for the biological sciences in 1947 by 11 scientific societies as part of the National Academy of Sciences. An independent non-profit organization since 1954, it has grown to represent more than 80 professional societies and organizations with a combined membership exceeding 240,000 scientists and educators." The AIBS website is organized into three main sections including: News & Publications; Programs & Services; and Organization. These three sections connect to Public Policy Reports, Education Reports, Peer Review (SPARS), Position Statements, Classifieds, Membership Directories, and much more. Of special note, the site links to the AIBS Virtual Library which presently features free online lectures by prominent biologists. Curious site visitors can download a 16-page booklet about AIBS as well as a 25th and 50th anniversary historical review of the organization. [NL]

Gulf of Maine Research Institute: Atlantic Herring

Created by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, this website offers several interesting perspectives on a very important fish in the food chain -- the Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus). The website organizes information about the Atlantic Herring into three main categories: Biology; Harvest and Processing; and Research. The site utilizes beautiful photos, illustrations, and maps as it briefly describes herring life cycle, distribution, spawning research, mid-water trawling, processing, and much more. The website also provides a solid collection of herring resources and references. [NL]

Iziko Museums of Capetown: Figs and Fig Wasps

From Iziko Museums of Cape Town, this website explores the fascinating interaction between fig trees and fig wasps. The site features a section on Fig Wasp-Fig Tree Mutualism as well as separate information sections on Fig Wasps and Fig Trees. The website also briefly addresses interactions between fig trees and other insects. In addition, the site offers an extensive collection of related references and links to websites on fig-eating vertebrates, and fig wasp and fig tree research. The site even links to a 26-minute film on figs and fig wasps by Georges Michaloud (which is a bit fuzzy but has clear voice narration). [NL]

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food: Crops [pdf]

Reflecting Canadas strong agricultural industry, this website from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food contains a wealth of information on many different crops. Crop information sections include Agroforestry, Berries, Hemp, Organic Crops, Corn, and many more. Separate crop pages hold numerous links to fact and information sheets, updates, and related resources. In addition to the crop links, the site provides information in the areas of Soil & Water; Insects, Diseases, & Weeds; Resources & Services, and Stats & Facts. The site also offers links to a variety of other resources including newletters, the Agri-Food Research Magazine, Interactives, and more. [NL]

The Succulent Plant Page

This informative website on succulent plants was created by plant enthusiast and cancer researcher Dr. Richard Hodgkiss. The site contains many nice images, and concise information sections on How to Grow Cacti and Succulents, Propagation, Pests and Diseases, Growing from Seed, and more. The site provides information about Asclepiads, Haworthias, Peperomias, and Sempervivums as well. The website has an extensive Links section titled Botanical Bookmarks, with category headings like Cacti and Succulents by Genus and Type, Herbaria and Botanic Gardens, Plant Conservation and Biodiversity, and Cactus and Succulent Nurseries and Seed Sources. The site also offers a nice collection of glossaries for botanical terms, Internet jargon, and domain suffixes. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea)

Tree of Life Web Project: Holothuroidea-Sea Cucumbers
Charles Darwin Research Station-Frequently Asked Questions of the Sea Cucumber
Enchanted Learning: Sea Cucumber Printout
Royal BC Museum: Research Papers-Taxing Problems
Invertebrate Anatomy Online- Sclerodactyla briareus
MoonDragons Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics-Sea Cucumber
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community-The Conservation of sea cucumbers in Malaysia, their Taxonomy, Ecology and Trade: International Conference
Environmental News Network: Court says Galapagos Sea Cucumber Limits Remain

This Reports Topic in Depth explores the world of sea cucumbers, or Holothuroidea, a diverse group of intriguing marine animals. The first site (1), from the Tree of Life Web Project, provides nice clear images of sea cucumbers and brief concise sections on Characteristics, The Orders of Holothuroidea, Fossil History, and Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships. The second site (2), from the Charles Darwin Research Station, displays short answers to commonly asked questions about sea cucumbers like: What is their importance within the marine communities?; How do sea cucumbers reproduce?; and What is the potential environment impact of overexploiting sea cucumber populations? From Enchanted Learning, the third site (3) features a diagrammed print-out of a s ea cucumber along with short descriptions of Holothuroidea anatomy, diet, classification, and predators. Hosted by the Royal BC Museum, the fourth site (4) contains a brief research paper by curator Philip Lambert on taxonomy issues concerning sea cucumbers. The fifth site (5), developed by Richard Fox of Lander University, contains detailed instructions for a laboratory exercise with Sclerodactyla briareus, a species of sea cucumber. From MoonDragons Health & Wellness website, the sixth site (6) contains a sea cucumber recipe and briefly discusses sea cucumber cuisine and health benefits. Hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the seventh site (7) provides information about an international conference titled: Conservation of s ea cucumbers in Malaysia, their Taxonomy, Ecology and Trade. The site contains concluding remarks, abstracts from papers presented at the conference, and a list of email contacts for conference participants. The final (8) sitefrom the Environmental News Networkfeatures a short article about an Ecuadorian court upholding sea cucumber fishing limits in the Galapagos islands. [NL]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

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

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Internet Scout Project Team
Nathan Larson Editor
John Morgan Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Max Grinnell Contributor
Valerie Farnsworth Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Rachel Enright Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.