The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 22

October 29, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


University of Montreal: Fungal Mitochondrial Genome Project

Supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Fungal Mitochondrial Genome Project (FMGP) is a project of B. Franz Lang and his research group at the University of Montreal. Three "goals of FMGP are to (i) sequence complete mitochondrial genomes from all major fungal lineages, (ii) infer a robust fungal phylogeny, (iii) define the origin of fungi, their protistan ancestors, and their specific phylogenetic link to the animals..." The FMGP website contains information pages for Allomyces macrogynus, Phytophthora infestans, Aspergillus nidulans, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe--to name a few. Site visitors can also link to brief information sections about Global Fungal Phylogeny; tRNA editing in lower fungal mtDNAs; DNA Purification and Cell Cultures; and a collection of mitochondrial protein sequences. From Dr. Lang's homepage, visitors can view a list of numerous publications (some with hyperlinked abstracts). In addition, the FMGP site links to related research projects at the University of Montreal as well as to online fungal resources at Cornell University and the University of Georgia. [NL]

Texas A&M University-Kingsville-Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute [pdf]

The mission of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute "is to provide science-based information for enhancing the conservation and management of wildlife in south Texas and related environments." The Institute, located at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, conducts research in four main areas: Wildlife Biology, Ecology, and Management; Habitat Ecology and Management; Wildlife Diseases, Parasitology, and Toxicology; and Economic Development of Natural Resources. The Institute website contains brief summaries of these primary research areas, as well as links to specific programs including the Center for Semi-arid Land Ecology, South Texas Natives, Feline Research Program (reported on in the October 1, 2004, NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences), and the Wildlife Research Technologies Laboratory. The site also links to information about faculty research members; graduate and research associate positions when available; graduate programs; and a variety of downloadable publications including research reports from 1996-2002. Note: Links to the archived newsletters are not currently connected, but recent issues from 2001-2004 are available in portable document format. [NL]

Pakistan Agricultural Research Council

The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) works at the highest national level to coordinate and support research being conducted at universities, provincial institutions, and federal institutions. The four main PARC research divisions are: Crop Sciences, Natural Resources, Animal Sciences, and Social Sciences. The PARC website contains summary information about these main research areas, as well as information about a variety of crops, research staff, publications, and more. From the PARC site, visitors can also learn about regional research efforts by linking to one the seven major PARC centers including the Sugar Crops Research Institute in Thatta; the National Agricultural Research Centre in Islamabad; the Himalayan Agricultural Research Institute in Kaghan, and the Arid Zone Research Centre in Quetta. Various databases are also available including Plant Genetic Resources with over 15,000 records searchable by species and/or genus; and Pakistan Agriculture--a bibliographic database with more than 32,000 records regarding agriculture in Pakistan. [NL]

The International Association for Bear Research and Management [pdf]

The world's bears certainly need strong advocates such as the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). The IBA is a volunteer, not-for-profit "organization open to professional biologists, wildlife managers and others dedicated to the conservation of all species of bears." The IBA's membership includes hundreds of people in more than 20 countries who support "the scientific management of bears through research and distribution of information." The IBA website offers links to information about, and abstracts from, URSUS, the primary scientific publication of the IBA. The site also links to websites for several upcoming conferences as well as to information about IBA membership, grants, and publication orders. In addition, the site contains an interesting collection of documents, including the U.S. and Russia Polar Bear Treaty; a June 2004 letter from IBA President Harry V. Reynolds to the Mongolian Minister of Nature and Environment regarding the Gobi Bear Recovery Plan, and a brief summary paper (from February 1989) regarding the conservation and status of bears worldwide. Brief descriptions for all eight bear species are included as well. [NL]

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council: GEM Program [pdf]

Many remember the environmental disaster that resulted from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Gulf of Alaska. One positive outcome of the oil spill tragedy is the Gulf Ecosystem Monitoring Research (GEM) program, which is administered by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, an organization "formed to oversee restoration of the injured ecosystem through the use of the $900 million civil settlement." Focused on the northern Gulf of Alaska, GEM is "a long-term commitment to gathering information about the physical and biological components that make up a world-renowned marine eco-system." Site visitors can download GEM reports, documents, and other publications as well as a 156-page bibliography of GEM-related publications. The site also contains concise information sections regarding: how GEM is structured; scientific factors that inform the program; the four major Gulf of Alaska habitats that the program focuses on; final reports (page still under development); and the project's general timeline. The GEM site links to more information from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council as well. [NL]

Canadian Agri-Food Research Council-ManureNet: Research Publications [pdf]

Founded as a pilot project in 1998, "ManureNet is a national information resource and coordination center for the Manure/Nutrient Management Issue on behalf of the Expert Committee on Manure Management (ECMM), Canadian Agri-Food Research Council (CARC)." This section of the ManureNet website lists an extensive assortment of manure-related publications organized by Research Reports, Research Publication (from 1991 onwards), Presentations, Theses (only two listed), and Book Chapters. A good number of the listed research reports and publications are available for download. Site visitors can also link to other sections of ManureNet including Manure Systems Research Programs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Manure Nutrient Management, Environmental Issues, and many more. [NL]

North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium [pdf]

The mission of the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium "is to undertake a long-term program of research on the relation between fisheries and marine mammals in the North Pacific Ocean and Eastern Bering Sea." The Coalition is composed of four universities: Oregon State University, the University of Alaska, the University of Alaska, and the University of Washington. The Consortium website contains information about ongoing research with Steller Sea Lions and Killer Whales; information about research staff, and a sizeable list of downloadable publications (many with hyperlinked abstracts as well). Notably, the Consortium hosts an annotated Searchable Bibliography of Scientific Literature (1751 to the present) pertaining to Steller Sea Lions in Alaska. The site provides brief, basic profiles for several marine animals, and list of related links as well. [NL]

Texas A&M University-Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences-Florida Keys Research: Publications [pdf]

Over the past decade, researchers from Texas A&M University have been working in collaboration with groups including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to promote "the recovery of several endangered species in the Florida Keys, namely Florida Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri), silver rice rat (Oryzomys palustris natator), and Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli)." This Florida Keys Research program website offers downloadable publications in the form of journal articles, theses, and one dissertation. The 219-page dissertation on Florida Key deer population ecology was authored by Dr. Roel R. Lopez (now assistant professor for the program) in December of 2001. The site's three listed theses (all submitted between August and December of 2003) include a 239-page publication regarding the distribution of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit; an 83-page publication about Key Largo woodrat ecology, and a 154-page publication concerning Florida Key deer management strategies. Currently, the site's 17 listed journal articles primarily address issues concerning Florida Key deer. [NL]


University of Delaware: Extreme 2003: To the Depths of Discovery
University of Delaware: Extreme 2004: Exploring the Deep Frontier

The first University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies website listed above chronicles the fourth in a series of Extreme missions to explore deep-sea hydrothermal vents. This particular mission--titled To the Depths of Discovery--took place in 2003 and followed an international team of marine scientists on a 23-day expedition as they studied the life-forms and structure of hydrothermal vents. Utilizing great multimedia features, the Extreme 2003 website shares information about the mission with students including: profiles of hydrothermal creatures such as Pompeii worms, vent crabs, and tube worms; sea-floor geology; expedition equipment; and crew member introductions. More than 46,000 students, world-wide, participated in the 2003 expedition through a virtual field-trip. Perhaps your students will be able to participate in the upcoming mission. On November 30, 2004, the crew will return to the ocean's depths for a 21-day expedition to continue exploring hydrothermal vents. The second website listed above, although currently in production, will chronicle this upcoming marine journey. [NL]

PBS-Nova Online: Cancer Warrior [Quicktime, RealPlayer]

From the PBS-Nova archives, this Nova program companion website features "surgeon-turned-researcher Dr. Judah Folkman, who, together with colleagues at Children's Hospital in Boston, has spent over 30 years searching for ways to curb cancer by cutting off blood flow to tumors." The website allows visitors to view the entire Cancer Warrior program (originally aired on February 27, 2001) in eight chapter segments including: Angiogenesis in Action, Preventing Angiogenesis, How Cancer Spreads, Starving Cancer, and more. The site offers a Teacher's Guide which includes a program overview, viewing ideas, classroom activity, ideas from teachers, related resources, and an interactive feature for students. The site also includes interview clips with Dr. Folkman; a microscope video examining cancer growth; a summary of clinical trials of angiogenesis inhibitors, and a feature on accidental medical discoveries such as penicillium mold and quinine. [NL]

Physical Fundamentals of Physical Geography-Introduction to the Biosphere

This introductory chapter on the earth's biosphere was authored by Dr. Michael Pidwirny of Okanagan University College. This chapter is one of 10 composing an online educational text titled the Fundamentals of Physical Geography (reported on in the February 20, 2004, NSDL Report for the Physical Sciences). The biosphere sub-chapters include: Biological Classification of Organisms; Concept of Ecological Niche; Biotic Interactions and the Distribution of Species; The Nitrogen Cycle; Trophic Pyramids and Food Webs, and more. The hypertext contains good-quality images, a great study guide complete with a chapter summary, numerous key terms (hyperlinked to definitions in the site's Glossary), and study questions. The site also includes a set of related readings with brief annotations, related internet links, and a weblog for site users. [NL]

Annenberg/CPB: Life Science-Bottle Biology

From Annenberg/CPB, this website shares Bottle Biology construction methods and learning activities with K-6 educators. Bottle Biology is an experiential-based learning technique that was originally developed by Paul Williams, a professor of Plant Pathology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bottle Biology utilizes "recyclable containers as building blocks that can be put together to form any number of bottle systems to explore science, nature, and the environment." This site offers four Bottle Biology systems, each developed as companions for sessions in a larger Life Science Course "designed to provide teachers with learning opportunities that will directly inform their own classroom practice." The Course Sessions are coupled with free instructional videos (registration required), and presented with suggested hands-on activities. The first Bottle system is designed to reinforce concepts regarding the classification of living things and definitions of life; the second addresses the interconnection of animal and plant life cycles; the third focuses on evolution, and the fourth explores interdependence. [NL]

fusionsparkmedia: The Gift of a Lifetime [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Organ transplants are certainly one of the wonders of modern medicine, and organ donors make it possible. This finely-crafted website "weaves together in-depth information about donation and transplantation with the real-world stories of transplant recipients, donors and health care professionals." The stories are told with slide shows that integrate high-quality images and audio clips. The site also hosts interactive features such as the Interactive Body, an animated learning module exploring the organs and tissues of the human body. Specifically for educators, the site provides site companion activities for grades 5-12; related Web resources and information links; and information about a related distance learning course through the Heritage Institute and Antioch University. The site also offers a basic illustrated transplant history timeline, a glossary, feedback page, and instructions for becoming an organ donor. [NL]

PBS-American Field Guide Teacher Resources: Co-evolution of Plants and Pollinators [pdf]

From the PBS-American Field Guide Teacher Resources collection, this website contains three lessons comprising a unit on the Co-evolution of Plants and Pollinators. The unit was designed for high school students and includes accompanying National Content Standards, Extension Websites, and video clips. The first, 45-minute lesson addresses relationships between pollinators and flowering plants. The second, 20-minute lesson compares butterflies and moths. The final, 45-minute lesson explores co-evolution between flowers and pollinators. A printable version of the unit is available for download. [NL]

University of California-Berkeley Museum of Paleontology: Life Has a History

From the University of California-Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, this interactive online module "provides students with an introduction to the history of life and how it results in the biodiversity of today. During the tour students learn about geologic time, fossils, ancestral relationships, cladograms, variation, natural selection, and extinction." The website offers three different tour levels for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The tours blend interesting information, good questions, and images to create an enjoyable learning experience for students. The website also offers a Teacher's Guide that contains a module overview, technology requirements, National Standards met by the learning module, and navigation instructions. The Teacher's Guide provides accompanying lesson plans, handouts, related activities, and assessment materials as well. [NL]

Science Friday Kid's Connection: John Snow and Epidemiology [RealPlayer]

Who was John Snow and what role did he play in the development of epidemiology? This website from Science Friday Kid's Connection offers middle school teachers a variety of online resources to explore this question and others with their students. The website links to the companion NPR Talk of the Nation: Science Friday radio program (aired on September 24, 2004) featuring three Michigan State University professors. In addition, the website contains a collection of links to supplementary educational resource sites addressing John Snow's life and work, epidemiology, and microbes. The site also contains an Academic Content Standards section with related standards and benchmarks for Grades 6-8. [NL]


USDA Forest Service: Forest Landowner's Guide to Internet Resources: States of the Northeast [pdf]

From the USDA Forest Service, this great online resource guide was developed to provide non-industrial private landowners in the 20-state Northeastern Area "with a better understanding of the information and resources available on the internet relating to forest stewardship." Although the guide focuses on Northeastern states, private forest landowners in other parts of the United States will likely find it useful as well. The guide contains over 1,000 annotated links and is divided into two main parts: the first includes links to publications, brochures, and fact sheets; the second includes Internet resources by state. The site's front page features the top five most-visited resources, including a Reference Handbook for Foresters, a Forest Management Update, Rare Plant Fact Sheets, and Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States. The entire 170-page Forest Landowners Guide is also available for download in portable document format. The site also allows visitors to submit an Internet resource link, and provides information about how to contact forestry offices by state. [NL]

National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland/Environment and Heritage Service: Flora of Northern Ireland

Developed by the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and the Environment and Heritage Service, the Flora of Northern Ireland is an artful online guide for plant distribution data and species descriptions (many accompanied by beautiful photos). Site visitors can search for plant descriptions by common or scientific name, family name (common or scientific), and plant group. Plant descriptions can be located by browsing the Full Species List as well. The site also organizes plant species by protected plant status, and by habitat. The distribution data is based on 10 x 10 km grid squares, and the site provides a map tool allowing visitors to obtain plant distribution information by specific grids plotted across Northern Ireland. In addition, the Flora website offers links to related organizations and resources. [NL]

World Health Organization: The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart disease and strokes account for numerous deaths annually around the world. This reality prompted the World Health Organization, in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to produce The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke. The publication was "launched to coincide with World Heart Day, which is a major driving force for encouraging global heart disease and stroke prevention." The Atlas was "designed for use by policy makers, national and international organizations, health professionals and the general public." The Atlas was also designed to be concise, clear, and accessible to a wide audience. The publication is divided into six sections: Cardiovascular Disease, Risk Factors, The Burden, Action, The Future and the Past, and World Tables. The entire publication is available for download in subsection units, and the website provides links for ordering a hard copy as well. The site also links to a news release for the Atlas, and to information about World Heart Day--recently celebrated on September 26, 2004--at the World Heart Federation site. [NL]

Rodale Institute: The New Farm

Developed by the Rodale Institute--well-known for its role in organic agriculture--the New Farm website works "to inform, encourage, equip and inspire farmers with the support they need to take the important transition steps toward regenerative agriculture." With this mission in mind, the New Farm site provides farmers and others with a bounty of online resources, information, and success stories. The site features sections that address news and research, organic certification, raising hogs, political activism, and more. One notable section of the site is the Farm Locator which provides a searchable Database of Farms, and allows farmers to add a free Web page featuring their farm. Sections of the website, including the Training Center, are still being developed, and New Farm encourages people to send in ideas and suggestions regarding site content such as topics for online courses. [NL]

National Library of Medicine-MedlinePlus: Influenza Tutorial [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]


With this year's shortage of flu vaccines, it is more important than ever to keep the public informed about the nature of influenza. This user-friendly online Influenza tutorial was created by MedlinePlus of the National Library of Medicine to educate people about the flu virus. The narrated tutorial incorporates straightforward text and images and "discusses the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of flu." From the front page, visitors can choose to print out a Reference Summary of the module, or to go directly to the module. After selecting Go to Module, visitors may choose to first view module instructions, or to just start the module immediately. The first link listed above will take visitors to the English version of the module, and the second link will take visitors to the Spanish version. [NL]

The International Crane Foundation

Located in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the "International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend." The ICF website provides a variety of information about the Foundation as well as great resources like the Species Field Guide which contains photos, range maps, and information about all 15 types of crane. The site also includes information about conservation and research projects in North America, Asia, and Africa. For teachers and students, the ICF's Education Department offers several online resources including instructions for making an origami crane; a list of related books; a downloadable six-page Crane Behavior Guide, and information about participating in an International Art Exchange. Be sure not to miss the What's New link for updates regarding the Whooping Cranes ongoing migration from Wisconsin to Florida. [NL]

FERN-the EU Forest Campaign [pdf]

Created by the World Rainforest Movement in 1995, FERN (Forests and the European Union Resource Network) "promotes the conservation and sustainable use of forests and respect for the rights of forest peoples in the policies and practices of the European Union." Presently, the principal FERN campaign areas include Forest Certification; Climate Change; WTO and Trade Agreements; and Aid and Development Cooperation, to name a few. This website contains summaries of current FERN campaigns as well as links to news articles regarding Poverty and EC Aid, Forest Peoples, EU Forests, Trade, and more. The site also offers access to an extensive assortment of publications including Briefings, NGO Statements, EU Documents, and FERN Reports. The website contains a solid collection of related links as well. [NL]

American Iris Society

The American Iris Society (AIS) was founded in 1920, "and exists for the sole purpose of promoting the culture and improvement of the Iris." This official AIS website serves as an information resource for iris aficionados and AIS members. The site contains information about AIS awards, membership, upcoming conventions, and the annual Symposium--a "popularity poll of Tall Bearded Iris conducted by the AIS." In addition, the site has sections regarding Iris Registration, Iris Classification, online iris email groups, and related links. Of course the site also contains a small photo gallery featuring beautiful images of award-winning irises, and a brief article on growing and planting irises. The AIS is divided into 24 regions across the U.S. and Canada with local iris organizations in each region. Site visitors will find contact information for numerous AIS regional organizations, and for the AIS region vice presidents. [NL]

Topic In Depth


The American Gastroenterological Association
The Gut Foundation
ViaHealth: Digestive Disorders
ThinkQuest: La Casa de Comida
Clinton Community College: Chapter 40-Digestive System
KidsHealth: The Real Deal on the Digestive System

Digestion is a complex and miraculous process fundamental to our daily living. The complex nature of our digestive system, however, can also contribute to a variety of disorders. The following websites offer information and resources pertaining to the digestive system and digestive disorders. The first link leads to website for the American Gastroenterological Association which is an online resource for Association members as well as "other medical professionals with an interest in digestive diseases, patients and the general public." The site posts links to related news; and to sections for clinical resources, practice management, educational resources, and publications-to name a few (1). The second link leads to GastroLab, a long-standing online gastrointestinal resource specializing in digestive disorders. The site offers visitors a vast array of endoscopic images and video clips as well as a comprehensive dictionary of gastrointestinal terms (2). The third site presents the Gut Foundation, an organization that "provides professional and public education and promotes research into digestive disorders to improve gastrointestinal health." The Foundation website contains a variety of information about gastrointestinal conditions, diagnoses, medical research, membership, and more (3). The fourth website, from ViaHealth provides a brief overview of the digestive system; and information sections addressing common digestive disorders, rectal and colon cancer, diagnostic procedures, and online resources (4). From the ThinkQuest Library archives, the fifth site-titled La Casa de Comida-was created by a team of high school students for elementary school children. This section of the site offers a brief and basic comparison of digestive systems in birds, horses, insects, snakes, crustaceans, and mollusks (5). The sixth site contains a section of an online Biology Textbook-developed by Dr. Michael Gregory of Clinton Community College-providing a concise overview of the digestive system (6). The final link leads to a kid-friendly website from KidsHealth containing a short summary of the digestive system complete with a cartoony diagram illustrating all of the system's major parts (7). [NL]

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