The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 17

August 20, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


USGS: Western Ecological Research Center [pdf, RealOne Player]

The Western Ecological Research Center is part of the Biological Resources Division of the USGS, and focuses on the diverse bioregions of the pacific southwestern United States. The WERC website presents information about a variety of its research activities including work with wildlife, invasive species, coastal ecosystems, fire ecology, and more. The site also links to information about jobs, publications, conferences, and projects. The WERC Products section offers a search engine and contains almost 3000 listings of abstracts, book chapters, technical reports, and presentations (some of which are downloadable). [NL]

UC-Berkeley Department of Geography's San Francisco Bay Estuary

Created by researchers from the Geography Department at UC-Berkeley, this cool website was created as an image resource for researchers working to identify seeds collected in sediment cores -- thereby allowing them to date a species occurrence in a given area. The seeds available for viewing represent both saltwater and freshwater plants and "were selected from a list of common vascular plants in tidal marshes of the San Francisco Bay Estuary included in Atwater et al, 1979." Common and scientific names are provided for each plant, and the species are organized alphabetically by family. Species are included from over twenty different families including Alismataceae, Caryophyllaceae, Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, and more. Most seed image profiles contain two photographs taken at both lower and higher levels of magnification. [NL]

Phycological Society of America [pdf]

Represented by 2,000 members world-wide, the Phycological Society of America (PSA) is a scientific organization dedicated to algae research and education. The PSA website contains information about Society meetings, membership, related conferences, and the Journal of Phycology. The site also posts information about graduate research opportunities and assistantships as well as a limited number of student grants, fellowships, and awards. In addition to downloadable copies of current and past newsletters, the PSA website provides an extensive list of phycological links under such categories as Societies & Journals, Web Publications & Catalogues, and Culture & Museum Collections. [NL]

California Academy of Sciences-Ichthyology: The Catalog of Fishes

Searching for a comprehensive fish information resource? The Catalog of Fishes from the California Academy of Sciences contains approximately 56,000 described species and subspecies of fishes making it "the first treatment of all described fishes since Linnaeus in 1758." The Catalog also contains approximately 21,700 references, and 10,600 genera and subgenera. The website includes an Introduction with brief sections for Species of Fishes, Genera of Fishes, Species of Classification, Genera in Classification, and Literature Cited. Site users can locate fish by searching separate databases for genera, species, and references. The site also provides instructions for searching the three respective databases. [NL]

Malaysian Nature Society/Natural History Museum, London/Southdene Sdn. Bhd.: Moths of Bornea Online

Created by J.D. Holloway over a 20 year time span -- and brought to the internet by Southdene Sdn. Bhd., the Malaysian Nature Society, and the Natural History Museum in London -- the Moths of Borneo provides descriptions and full-color illustrations of approximately 4,500 moth species. This impressive website currently contains 14 volumes, and it is anticipated that four additional volumes will be added to complete the work. Each volume contains an abstract and a table of contents as well as sections for New Taxa, New Synonymy, References, Checklist, Genitalia, and more. Species are organized by various groups including family, subfamily, and tribe. While the species profiles generally include a brief diagnosis-accompanied by geographical range, and habitat preference (the moth groups receive more detailed descriptions). [NL]

The Natural History Museum, London: Taxonomic Databases Working Group [pdf]

The Taxonomic Databases Working Group (TDWG), otherwise known as the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases, is a scientific association working to "establish collaboration among biological database projects so as to promote the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the World's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large." Hosted by the Natural History Museum in London, the TDWG website contains a copy of the group's Constitution, new membership forms, contact information for current officers, TDWG email lists, and a list of TDWG Standards. The Archives section contains downloadable minutes from the first and second TDWG meetings (held in 1985 and 1986) as well as links to more recent annual meeting notes and newsletters. The site also links to information about the Group's upcoming meeting in New Zealand. [NL]


Lander University: Invertebrate Zoology Online

Developed by Richard Fox of Lander University, Invertebrate Zoology Online is a laboratory manual-developed for undergraduates and graduate students that "features original anatomical descriptions of 101 species that might be used in invertebrate zoology teaching or research laboratories in North America and elsewhere." The website contains detailed exercises for Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, and Mollusca -- just to name a few. The text includes great black and white diagrams with links to some color photographs as well. The site also contains a glossary, references, and a section for Supplies and Recipes. [NL]

PBS: Palau - Paradise of the Pacific

From PBS, this website explores the life and beauty of Palau, an archipelago of 343 islands in the tropical Pacific. The site's Aquatic Classroom section features a number of hands-on lessons developed primarily for middle school students and designed to accompany the PBS Palau, Paradise of the Pacific program. Lesson titles include Home Improvement: Building My Own Coral; Fast Food, the Fish Way; Reef; and Symbiosis: I'll Help You if You Help Me. Lesson plans contain objectives, background information, materials needed, evaluation, national science standards, and more. The site also features good-quality photos and brief profiles for Sea Cucumbers, Parrotfish, Jellyfish, and Sharks -- to name just a few. [NL]

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research: Bone Curriculum [Macromedia Flash Player]

Developed by the Education Committee of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), this Bone Curriculum website "is intended for use by students from high school to medical school." The website features sections on Bone Cells, Exercise and Nutrition, Hormones that Effect Bone, Collagen and Bone Matrix, and more. The brief text sections are interspersed with great images, diagrams, slide shows, and animations. The site also contains links for related websites, textbooks, and journals. [NL]

The Ohio State University - Mansfield: Amazing Plants Website

Dr. David W. Kramer of The Ohio State University at Mansfield developed this website as an inspiration and resource for teachers and students of plant biology. At this point, the site is primarily a resource for annotated botany-related websites, although Dr. Kramer is in the process of developing an information section on significant flowering plant families. Of special interest to teachers, the website includes a collection of annotated sites submitted by participants in the Teachers Academy. Participants chose sites that had proven useful in their K-8 plant units, and the website categories include Collaborative Learning, Specific Plants, Hands-on Activities, Gardening, and more. The site's main links collection, Botany in Cyberspace, includes an extensive collection of websites under two major categories: Agriculture & Horticulture; and Plant Biology (Botany) & General Biology. This site also links to career information from the Botanical Society of America. [NL]

USGS: South Florida Information Access-Kid's Page

A website for younger naturalists, the Kid's Page was developed by the USGS's SOFIA program to teach children about the ecosystems, animals, and water systems of South Florida. The Florida Ecosystems section of the site is brief, but it does offer concise descriptions and photos for southern Florida's many diverse habitats including mangroves, coral reefs, hardwood hammocks, swamps, and more. The website also contains brief profiles, photos, and scientific names for a number of birds, herps, and mammals. Profiled animals include ospreys, manatees, pig frogs, and Florida panthers -- to name a few. For children desiring some hands-on learning opportunities, the Kid's Page provides animal coloring sheets; bug and invasive species memory games; and a challenging puzzle-type game. This Kid's Page also links to more southern Florida natural history via the South Florida Ecosystem History Kid's Corner, and the SOFIA Virtual Tour (reported on in the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences, January 25, 2002). [NL]

World Wildlife Fund: Games [pdf]

Games are a great medium for introducing kids to complex topics like biodiversity. From the World Wildlife Fund, this website offers an inventive and fun collection of biodiversity games. The interactive games are designed for middle-school students and include a Virtual Safari, a Mapping Biodiversity game, a genetic diversity game, and more. The site also features a trailer for Biodiversity 911, a movie produced by Aardman, the clever creators of Wallace and Gromit. The website's Biodiversity 911 section also links to interactive activities that address fish sustainability, soil composition, toxic elements, and the ecology of a Sumatran rain forest. [NL]


The Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Land Resources Division

This website presents the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, a non-political body that serves the many communities of the Pacific Island region. The Land Resources Division is comprised of an Agriculture Program and a Regional Forestry Program. The site provides information about the current land resources projects including Crop Improvement, the Plant Protection Service, the Pacific German Regional Forestry Project, Development of Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific, and the Animal Health and Production Service. This site also links to a wide array of other SPC projects such as Tuberculosis Control, Coastal Fisheries, Public Health Program, HIV/AIDS & STI Project, and more. [NL]

International Carnivorous Plant Society: Carnivorous Plant Database

Hosted by the International Carnivorous Plant Society, the Carnivorous Plant Database contains a core taxonomic portion that "was compiled by Jan Schlauer and includes over 3000 entries giving an exhaustive nomenclatural synopsis of all Carnivorous Plants." The Database also contains an extensive collection of images that were contributed by many carnivorous plant enthusiasts. The website provides instructions for searching, and for submitting images to, the Database. The site also connects to slide shows, listserv information and archives, a Carnivorous Plant Trading Post, related links, and more. [NL]

Houghton Mifflin Company: Peterson Bird Identifications

From Houghton Mifflin Company, Peterson Bird Identifications is a nicely done online field guide featuring the artwork of the eminent naturalist, Roger Tory Peterson. The accompanying text was written by both Peterson and Kenn Kaufman -- another legendary birder. The website contains profiles for numerous birds including the Barn Owl, Elegant Trogon, Magnificent Frigatebird, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird -- just to name a few. Bird profiles include brief sections on Field Marks, Range, Habitat, Feeding, Nesting, and more. The site also links to a list of seasonal birding spectacles, birding resources, a tutorial based on Peterson's Identification System, and information about Peterson Field Guides. [NL]

The Wellcome Trust: The Human Genome Interactive Centre [Macromedia Flash Player]

Produced by the Wellcome Trust, an independent research funding charity, this website utilizes interactive, multimedia technologies to share discoveries of the human genome. On one virtual tour, Zoom in On Your Genome, site visitors enter the human body and travel from the liver into cells, chromosomes, genes, chromatin loops, nucleosomes, and more. The Chromosome Browser, a second tour, supplies key information about different chromosomes and profiles important genes in the human genome. This website also links to other sections of the larger Human Genome site including: related news on the internet, articles, an online survey, and an extensive glossary. [NL]

Montana State University-Bozeman: Insects, Disease, and History

As carriers of many serious diseases throughout time, insects have certainly played a significant role in shaping world history. Edited by Drs. Gary Miller and Robert Peterson, this website from Montana State University devotes itself to understanding the impact of insect-borne diseases on world history. The site contains several feature articles including: The Role of Insects as Biological Weapons; Historical Natural History: Insects and the Civil War; and Yellow Fever and the Strategy of the Mexican-American War. The website also contains A Primer to Medical Entomology, suggested readings, and a brief section on Disease, Epidemics, and Historical Periods. Related links and a glossary -- including terms such as anaphylaxis, anthropophilic, delusory parasitosis, and Hymenoptera -- are included as well. [NL]

Canadian Begonia Society

The Canadian Begonia Society aptly describes itself as "a group of people in Canada who simply like to grow begonias." The Society website serves as an educational and information-sharing resource for Begonia growers. The site contains a wide variety of information about Begonias including short sections on Spring Startup, Fall Preparation, Winter Plans, and Propagation. The site also provides brief coverage of short season issues, hybridizing, exhibiting, troubleshooting, and identification. Although the group has a special interest in floriferous begonias, it includes informational sections on foliage begonias as well. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Nutrition and Athletics

University of Illinois Extension: Sports and Nutrition-The Winning Connection
Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma: Sports Nutrition Corner
Montana State University-Bozeman: Nutrition Science & the Winter Olympics
Food and Nutrition Information Center: Fitness, Sports, and Sports Nutrition
The Vegetarian Resource Group: Sports Nutrition Guidelines for the Vegetarian
Federal Citizen Information Center: Question Most Frequently Asked About Sports Nutrition

With the Olympic Games in full force, much of the world's attention is centered on the feats of athleticism occurring in Greece. This Report's Topic in Depth takes a closer look at the link between nutrition and athletics. The first site (1), from University of Illinois Extension, presents a multi-chapter piece on sports and nutrition by Professors Robert J. Reber and Donald K. Layman. The site features four main sections dealing with a healthy diet, good pre-game meal choices, maintaining high energy levels, and staying hydrated. From the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, the second site (2) discusses carbohydrates, fluids, and general guidelines for a healthy diet. The third (3) site -- developed at Montana State University --presents a brief online course exploring the science of sports nutrition. The course draws inspiration from the 1998 Winter Olympics and contains sections on Muscle Contraction, Duration, Nutrition, Training, and more. The fourth site (4), from the Food and Nutrition Information Center, contains a collection of sports nutrition-related website links. From the Vegetarian Resource Group, the fifth site (5) contains an article on sports nutrition guidelines for vegetarians by Enette Larson, M.S., R.D.. The final (6) site -- hosted by the Federal Citizen Information Center -- presents a collection frequently asked questions (with answers) about sports nutrition from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. [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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