The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 25

December 10, 2004

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

A Note to our Readers




Topic In Depth

A Note to our Readers

Scout Holiday Publishing Schedule

The Scout Project will not publish the NSDL Life Sciences Report on December 24. We will resume our regular publication schedule with the January 7, 2005 report. [CL]

Best holiday wishes,

Chris Long
Managing Editor


National Herbarium of the Netherlands

Established in 1999, the National Herbarium of the Netherlands (NHN) combines three University herbaria-Leiden, Utrecht, and Wageningen-and hosts approximately 5.5 million specimens, making it "one of the largest herbaria in the world." Site visitors can search an extensive Collection Database with categories for Type Specimens, Annonaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Orchidaceae, Wood, and more. In addition, the NHN website links to: research information about the University branches; a complete catalogue of publications; contact information for University branches; and the three University botanical gardens which collectively host more than 30,000 living species. The site also posts announcements, and is currently advertising a full time position for Professor of Systematic Botany and Director of the NHN. Notably, the NHN libraries carry mycological and botanical literature dating back to the 16th century. [NL]

UK Natural Environment Research Council: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) "is the leading UK body for research, survey and monitoring in terrestrial and freshwater environments. CEH has nearly 600 scientific staff, and well-equipped laboratories and field facilities at eight sites throughout the UK." Site visitors can link to information about a wide range of scientific work being conducted at the different CEH field sites located in Edinburgh, Banchory, Oxford, and Dorset--to name a few. Examples of CEH field site focus areas include River Ecology, Tropical Forests, Virology, Soil Ecology, and more. The CEH website includes information about available software products, and publications (many with reduced charges for non-commercial research and educational purposes). Information about library services for researchers, and a variety of Data Holdings and are included as well. The site is rounded out by a page of helpful links in the areas of Land Use, Pollution, Freshwater Quality, Biodiversity, and more. [NL]

The Paleobiology Database

Intended as a public resource for scientists around the world, the Paleobiology Database "has been organized and operated by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international group of paleobiological researchers. Its purpose is to provide global, collection-based occurrence and taxonomic data for marine and terrestrial animal and plants of any geologic age, as well as Web-based software for statistical analysis of the data." Site visitors can search for Fossil Collection Records, Taxa Classifications, Taxa, and Published References. The site also allows visitors to view different time scales; and offers a detailed download request form with a variety of Options, Occurrence Fields, and Collection Fields. In addition, the website supplies information about the Database including contacts for participating researchers; options for analyzing data with maps, data summary tables and a diversity curve; and examples of Entry Forms for References, Main Collection Records, and Taxonomic Occurrences. Be sure to check out the animated world map depicting the dramatic growth of the Database from 1999 to the present. [NL]

University of Angers: Laboratory of Animal Ecology [pdf]

The Laboratory of Animal Ecology, located at the University of Angers in France, examines vertebrates from an evolutionary ecology perspective, with research focused primarily on "habitat constraints affecting reproductive strategies and gene flow." The Laboratory website contains publications; email addresses for research team members; a brief overview of research topics; and summaries of a variety of research projects including the Polecat Project, the Conservation Plan for the European Mink, and Population Biology and Genetic Structure of Frog Populations. The site's Publications section offers access to numerous downloadable documents from 1989 to the present year. The site also provides links to several bibliographies, and free population genetics software for biologists. Watch out for the frenetic polecat jumping back and forth at the top of the Laboratory's homepage. [NL]

University of Texas-Austin: The Culture Collection of Algae

Housed at the University of Texas-Austin, The Culture Collection of Algae "includes over 2,300 different strains of living algae, representing most major algal taxa. The primary function of UTEX is to provide algal cultures at modest cost to a user community." The cultures are generally utilized for teaching, research, and biotechnology development. Site visitors will find an online catalogue of cultures organized alphabetically by class and by genus. UTEX provides an order form, as well as ordering and purchasing information. The site also provides a six-page list of literature references; links to other online algae collections; an image gallery; and notes on culture maintenance and growth media. [NL]

Aquatic Plant Management Society [pdf]

The aims of the Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS) "are to assist in promoting the management of nuisance aquatic plants, to provide for the scientific advancement of members of the society, to encourage scientific research, to promote university scholarship, and to extend and develop public interest in the aquatic plant science discipline." The APMS website contains information about upcoming and past Annual Meetings, Society Bylaws, APMS membership, and related job opportunities and scholarship funds when available. The site allows visitors to search past issues of the Journal of Aquatic Management by author and keyword, as well as browse Tables of Content for 42 volumes from 1962 to the present. A number of articles from the Journal are available for viewing and download, as well as copies of the APMS newsletter. The site includes a brief Manuscript Preparation Guide for potential Journal contributors. The site also links to websites for eight Regional APMS Chapters located mostly in different states and regions of the United States. [NL]

Blaxter Lab Nematode Genetics

This website presents the Nematode Genomics Lab of Dr. M. Blaxter of the Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology at the University of Edinburgh. The artful homepage leads to information about a variety of research areas and projects including the Filarial Genome Project, Nematode Expressed Sequence Tags, Molecular Analysis of Diversity, and A Molecular Evolutionary Framework for the Phylum Nematoda, to name a few. The site contains a list of publications, and the BlaxterLab Nematode Blast Server which allows users to search several databases including Groups of Nematodes (Nucleotide), C. elegans Genome (Nucleotide), EST Consensi Databases, Protein Databases, and more. The site also links to NEMBASE, a database resource being developed as "a research tool for both nematode biology and drug discovery/vaccine design." [NL]

Harvard University: Museum of Comparative Zoology Type Database

Located at Harvard University, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) "insect type collection, one of the largest in North America, currently preserves the primary types of more than 28,000 species, representing 29 orders, 565 families, and 7, 578 genera." This database makes records from the MCZ insect type collection available to Internet users. Records include high resolution images, Type Label Data, Type Stage and Status, and, when available, Current Species Name. Site visitors can browse the enormous list of records, or use the search engine which has fields for Order, Name, Type Designation, Region and Label Data, and more. In addition, visitors can peruse smaller groupings of recently added and all-time-favorite type specimen images. This site also links to other Database Collections including the MCZ Amphibian, Reptile, and Fish Collections, as well as Orthoptera Species File Online, and New Zealand Hemiptera. [NL]



Created by software developer and amateur insect photographer Troy Bartlett, BugGuide.Net is an "online resource devoted to North American insects, spiders and their kin, offering identification, images, and information." Site visitors can locate animals by browsing the extensive and image-rich indices for Arachnids, Centipedes, Millipedes, Hexapods, and Malacostracans. At present, the main attraction is the incredible collection of photographs, but the site is still under development and more factual information will be added as time goes on. The free registration is not required to view the site, but users are encouraged to register so they can take a more participatory role by submitting comments, images, and links. One other notable site feature is the ID Request section, where site visitors can post an image of an unknown creature, and receive identification assistance from other site users. Bartlett makes images freely available to students, educators, and others for educational and noncommercial activities. [NL]

Animal Info

This impressive source for information about endangered mammals is the result of more than a decade of research by Dr. Paul Massicot, who spent 30 years working at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Site visitors can locate specific endangered species by browsing the Individual Species Index (either by common or scientific name). The species pages contain references, images, and concise information about population estimates, birth season, density and range, habitat, diet, and more. Visitors can conduct keyword searches, or browse the Species Group Index as well. The site also includes an Index of Countries which provides a list of threatened mammal species in each country as well as some basic statistics regarding Environmental and Social Data such as land use, ecosystems, economy, education, and human population. In addition, the website contains information about the World's Rarest Mammals, and a solid collection of related links. [NL]

Woodland Trust: Nature Detectives [pdf]

From the United Kingdom-based Woodland Trust, this Nature Detectives website contains information and activities for budding young naturalists. For elementary-aged children, the site contains an assortment of downloadable games, activity materials, and examples of nature art sure to guide and inspire students in their own artistic endeavors. The site also hosts a News section which currently links to a variety of articles and reports about the potential effects of global climate change. In addition, site visitors will find brief information entries and photos for a number of Amphibians, Birds, Insects, Trees, Flowers, and Fungi. The site also offers information about topics like seasonal color changes in leaves; and basic instructions for both primary and secondary-aged youth for keeping phenological records. [NL]

The Rodale Institute: [Macromedia Flash Player]

From the Rodale Institute, this artistic website is designed to be a "safe place for children to interact with other kids, play, and have fun while learning the important connections between healthy soil/environment, healthy food, and healthy people." The site contains a plethora of great activities organized into sections like Gardening & Farming; Food & Nutrition; Arts & Crafts; and Fitness & Health. The site also offers young people message boards, interactive games, and news stories from around the world. In addition to great content, the site utilizes quality graphics, photographs, and animations to create a welcoming and fun ambience. The website also offers special sections for Families and Educators that include Curriculum, a Fitness Program, a Gardening Q&A Library, links to related websites, and more. [NL]

ThinkQuest Library: Of Mind and Matter-The Mystery of the Human Brain [Macromedia Flash Player, Java]

From the ThinkQuest Library archives, this excellent website about the wonders of the human brain won last year's ThinkQuest USA Upper Division grand prize. The site was created by a team of three high school students, and two teacher coaches from different schools in Connecticut. The website addresses brain anatomy, function, disorders, and psychology with well-written information sections, and helpful diagrams. The site also offers a great interactive section that encourages visitors to voice their opinions, challenge their brains, and test their knowledge with a variety of quizzes, polls, and online activities. Notably, the site posts 137 electronic sources in the Citations & References section. [NL]

Botanical Society of America: Careers in Botany-A Guide to Working with Plants

From the Botanical Society of America, this concise online brochure provides basic career information for aspiring botanists. The opening sections of the brochure address big picture issues like: What is Botany?; Botany and Society; Areas of Specialization; and Why Choose a Career in Botany? The Areas of Specialization section features a helpful chart mapping out a wide variety of career foci including cytology, morphology, plant pathology, bryology, horticulture, education, and more. Other sections have a more practical focus and address issues regarding salaries and job availability, opportunities (with a link to a botanical/plant science job board), and the required steps to a career in botany. The site also contains resource links for more information, and brief reflections from three professional botanists in different fields. [NL]

Clinton Community College: Biology Web-Human Biology [rtf, Internet Explorer Browser]

This website was developed by Dr. Michael Gregory of Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, New York, for his course in Human Biology. The course is organized into eight modules addressing such topics as cell reproduction, chemistry, genetics, DNA, cell membranes, protein synthesis, and more. Modules include concise lecture notes with good quality diagrams and review questions with hyperlinked answers. The site also contains a Mitosis and Meiosis Drawing Exercise; some fascinating photographs of meiosis in animals, and mitosis in plants and animals; a glossary; and links to a number of other educational biology sites. [NL]

PBS-Nova: America's Stone Age Explorers [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

This Nova website asks the question: "Who were the first Americans, and where did they come from?" The site was designed to accompany a Nova program about America's Stone Age Explorers that aired on November 9, 2004. The site provides a transcript of the program; a brief article discussing the disappearance of many large mammals around 13,000 years ago; a photographic exhibit of 10 expertly-crafted stone Clovis tools from the Fenn Cache; a map that shows potential pre-Clovis sites in North America; and an interactive matching game that examines early human artifacts. The site also links to a brief, downloadable Teacher's Guide that includes a Program Overview, Classroom Activity, and Viewing Ideas. [NL]


World Community Grid [pdf]

Hosted by IBM, the World Community Grid is an ambitious public-computing network developed to bolster humanitarian research around the world. The Grid gains its power through a vast network of computers, all contributing small pieces to large research projects while they are idle. At present the Grid is supporting the Institute for Systems Biology's Human Proteome Folding Project, which will ultimately contribute to disease prevention by developing a greater understanding of the shapes of human proteins. In addition to information about this ongoing project, the Grid website contains downloadable Request for Proposals documents, and a section for Project Archives. The site also provides simple instructions for joining the Grid; several online forums; and Grid statistics including current member totals. [NL]

Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project [pdf]

The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project works "to provide technology, methods, and information to decision-makers, resource managers, and the general public to help support effective science-based management of harmful non-native species in Hawaii and the Pacific." Current and past supporters of the HEAR project include the U.S. Geologic Survey, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, University of Hawaii, National Biological Information Infrastructure-Pacific Basin Information Node, and others. The HEAR website links to a plethora of online resources including: full-text articles and reports, an Alien Species in Hawaii Information Index, A Global Compendium of Weeds, literature references, species fact sheets, numerous images, and more. HEAR also hosts electronic mailing lists, and bulletin boards for both job and general announcements including postings for professional meetings, and research grant opportunities. [NL]

Harvard@Home: Living Healthier, Living Longer: Part I [RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player]
Harvard@Home: Living Healthier, Living Longer: Part II [RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player]

From Harvard@Home, these two websites contain a collection of video presentations from an Alumni College and Harvard Medical School event titled Living Healthier, Living Longer. The video presentations feature expert doctors discussing a variety of health issues including aging, menopause, prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease, cardiology, nutrition, stress management, and more. Presenters also address the history of the Harvard Medical School, and new cancer research. The presentations range from approximately 15 to 30 minutes in length. In addition to the video clips, the site includes accompanying slides, and short biographies of the presenters. [NL]

Danish Mycological Society

Founded in 1905, the Danish Mycological Society presently has around 1,600 professional and amateur mycologists in its ranks. The collection of edible mushrooms is a major focus for the group, although some Society members regularly conduct scientific studies as well. This website links to a database of red-list fungi species from Denmark with search fields for Scientific Name, Danish Name, and Locality; a Latin-Danish Taxon Database of fungi and Mycetozoa known from Denmark with search fields for Danish Name, Danish Status, and Latin Name and Author; and an interactive key to North European fungi. The site also contains contact addresses, information about publications, and information about meetings like the upcoming 12th International Fungi and Fibre Symposium in Haslev, Denmark. [NL]

Cowbird Manual [pdf]

This 2004 Manual regarding management techniques for brown-headed cowbirds was prepared by Rebecca Siegle and Darrell Ahlers of the Denver-based Ecological Planning and Assessment Group (at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Technical Service Center). Electronically hosted by the USGS Colorado Plateau Research Center, this 78-page downloadable document "provides a background on the concepts and mechanisms of controlling cowbirds." The Manual addresses many aspects of cowbird management including Trapping, Habitat Improvement, Nest Monitoring, and Evaluating the Population Level Impacts of Parasitism-to name a few. The Manual also includes good-quality figures; an extensive section for cited literature; examples of Nest Monitoring Data Forms; and cowbird trap designs from the Bureau of Reclamation and Texas Parks and Wildlife. [NL]

The Wildlife Society [pdf]

The Wildlife Society (TWS) was established in 1937; and its mission "is to enhance the ability of wildlife professionals to conserve diversity, sustain productivity, and ensure responsible use of wildlife resources for the benefit of society." The TWS website contains resources for professionals including an online job board; information about wildlife policy issues; and information about a variety of publications including monographs, journals, and bulletins. The site also includes information about TWS organizational structure, membership, awards, wildlife biologist certification program and upcoming conferences. In addition, the TWS hosts a Farm Bill Conservation Database designed to disseminate information about conservation provisions in the Farm Bill, and electronic mailing list that currently has more than 1,000 subscribers. [NL]

UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre: Bamboo Biodiversity Report [pdf]

From the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), this downloadable Report examines bamboo biodiversity in Africa, Madagascar, and the Americas. The 2004 Biodiversity Report, authored by Nadia Bystriakova, Valerie Kapos, and Igor Lysenko, "represents the first step towards planning and implementing conservation and sustainable management of bamboos in the wild." The Report includes brief Annex sections on Subtribes and Genera of Woody Bamboos Occurring Naturally in Africa, Madagascar, and the Americas; Bamboo Species on the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants; and Useful Native Species of Bamboo in the Report's three focus regions. The bulk of the 90-page Report, however, is found in Annex V, which contains a large grouping of maps representing potential distributions of woody bamboos in the three focus regions. The report is available in both low- and high-resolution PDF versions. [NL]

Harvard University: Ecology WWW Page

Hosted by Harvard University, this extensive list of hyperlinked, ecology-related resources and organizations was compiled by Anthony R. Brach (of the Harvard University Herbaria and Missouri Botanical Garden) for use by researchers, teachers, and students. Visitors can locate a wide variety of websites by browsing a 14-part alphabetical list, or by using a keyword search engine. Examples from the list include the Atlantic Cooperative Wildlife Ecology Research Network, the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University, Kansas State University Range Research, the Organization of Biological Field Stations, the U.S. National Agricultural Library, the Orthopterists' Society, and many more. The Ecology WWW Page has mirror sites in Canada, and at the University of Lyon, in France. [NL]

Topic In Depth


Cornell Waste Management Institute: Small Scale or Backyard Composting
J.G. Press: BioCycle
Cornell Composting: Composting in Schools
The World of Composting Toilets
Worm Digest
EM Technology Network: EM Database
USDA-National Organic Standards Board: Compost Tea Task Force Report

Our planet is plagued by rising piles of trash. Composting is one method that addresses this growing problem, and at the same time efficiently returns nutrients to the soil. The following websites share resources and information relating to different aspects of composting. The first (1) site from the Cornell Waste Management Institute (CWMI) at Cornell University "provides links to educational resources aimed at both people interested in composting at their homes, schools, or business and others who want to promote small scale composting." From this Small Scale Composting page, site visitors can link to the general Composting section of the CWMI site, as well as to sections for Reduction and Recycling, Youth Resources, and Sewage Sludge. The second (2) website, created by Texas Master Composter Mary J. Tynes, offers "information on how to compost, how to use finished compost, the benefits of composting, what to compost, and many other topics related to home composting." The site includes sections for Compost Piles, Equipment, Additional Methods, References, Educational Materials, and Worm Composting. The third (3) site, from J.G. Press, presents BioCycle, a Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling. Many articles on the site require a subscription to view, but the site does make a variety of articles (from current and past issues) available for free viewing. The site also contains a good collection of links to Recycling Associations, Composting and Biosolids Associations, and other composting resources. In addition, the site links to Compost Science & Utilization, a J.G. Press "quarterly peer-reviewed journal focusing on management techniques to improve compost process control and product quality, with special emphasis on utilization of composted materials." The fourth (4) site from Cornell Composting (maintained by Cornell Waste Management Institute) offers information about, and activities related to, composting in schools. The fifth (5) website provides a load of information and resources relating to composting toilets. The sixth (6) site, Worm Digest, is a good resource for vermicomposting enthusiasts, and for people interested in learning about composting with worms. From the EM Technology Network, the seventh (7) site contains the EM Database, which allows visitors to search more than 600 research presentations and reports relating to EM (Effective Microorganisms). Developed by Dr. Teruo Higa of the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan, effective microorganisms are used to promote composting, soil fertility, decomposition, and more. From the USDA-National Organic Standards Board, the final (8) site contains a 21-page Compost Tea Task Force Report from April 2004. [NL]

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From The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2004.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2004. 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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Internet Scout Project Team
Nathan Larson Editor
Chris Long 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
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Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

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