The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 3

February 4, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


Florida Museum of Natural History: Vertebrate Paleontology UF Master Database

Hosted by the Florida Museum of Natural History, this online database allows researchers and others to search the University of Florida Vertebrate Paleontology (UF) Collection. The UF Collection of 209,432 catalogued specimens contains "many unique (i.e. not found in other museums) fossil vertebrates from important sites spanning from the Eocene and Pleistocene epochs." The UF Collection features marine and freshwater fossils as well as "an extraordinary array of extinct land-mammals from the past 20 million years in Florida." The database offers search fields for Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. Other available search fields include Site, Epoch, Formation, County, State, Nature of Specimen, and more. [NL]

USDA Forest Service: Research & Development Treesearch [pdf]

Treesearch offers online access to a large collection of publications by USDA Forest Service Research and Development scientists. At the beginning of last year, "the collection contained over 7,000 publications, making it the largest freely available collection of online forestry research in the world." One year later, the collection holds close to 10,000 publications that are conveniently viewable and printable online. Searches can be conducted by Keywords, Author, and Title. Publications are also listed by eight Stations of Origin including the Northeastern Research Station, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Southern Research Station, and Rocky Mountain Research Station. [NL]

Institute for Systems Biology: T1DBase

T1DBase was created jointly by the Institute for Systems Biology, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory to support the work of Type 1 diabetes (T1D) researchers. T1DBase currently "includes annotated genomic sequences for suspected T1D susceptibility regions; microarray data; functional annotation of genes active in beta cells; and 'global' datasets, generally from the literature, that are useful for systems biology studies." Information is available for human, rat, and mouse Type 1 diabetes candidate regions. The site also offers several tools including Gbrowse, Cytoscape, Beta Cell Gene Expression Bank, and Kegg Pathways. T1DBase was created as a community resource, and the website invites researchers to contribute both ideas and data. [NL]

Wetlands International: Ramsar Sites Database Service [pdf]

One significant outcome of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (an intergovernmental conservation treaty signed in 1971, in Ramsar, Iran) was the development of the Ramsar Sites, or Wetlands of International Importance. Managed by Wetlands International, the Ramsar Sites Database Service provides concise information about each Ramsar Site and also allows visitors to examine "Ramsar Sites across geographic and thematic boundaries, useful and necessary for maintaining an overview of a global network of well over 1300 internationally important wetlands from 138 countries." This informative website also offers basic and advanced search options, clickable maps, graphical analyses, downloadable publications, and more. The site links to the Criteria for the Identification of Wetlands of International Importance, the List of Wetlands of International Importance, and to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands homepage (reported on in the April 1, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). [NL]

University of California: California Agriculture [pdf]

Based on our nation's heavy reliance on food grown in California, this University of California publication regarding the agricultural affairs of the 31st state will be appreciated by researchers and agriculturalists from around the country. First published in 1946, "California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news from the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of California." Site visitors may view abstracts or full text documents of research articles from current and previous issues. In addition, free domestic subscriptions may be ordered online (the journal currently serves around 14,000 domestic subscribers). The site also provides downloadable guidelines for writers. [NL]

The American Association of Immunologists [pdf]

The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) works "to advance knowledge of immunology and related disciplines, to foster interchange of ideas and information among investigators in the various disciplines and to promote an understanding of the field of immunology." The AAI maintains a number of Training and Job Opportunity Lists on their website for Graduate Programs, Postdoctoral Fellowships, Faculty Positions, Research Scientists, and Positions Wanted. The AAI site also provides contact information for AAI committee members and information about membership, meetings, and a variety of awards (with downloadable application instructions). Present and past AAI newsletters are available as well. Notably, AAI also offers Summer Research Fellowships for Middle and High School Teachers. [NL]

Broad Institute: Resources for the Scientific Community [Java]

From the Broad Institute--a research alliance of Harvard University, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology--this website makes a variety of genomic resources publicly available to researchers. The site links to Genome Sequence Databases under the following categories: Fungal, Vertebrate Lineage, Bacterium, Mammalian, and Archaebacterium. Examples of software available through the site include Locusview 2.0: A Program for Generating Images of Chromosomal Regions; GeneCruiser: Annotation for Microarray Data; Radiation Hybrid Mapping; and GeneCluster2: An Advanced Gene Expression Analysis Toolkit. The site also links to publications from different research groups such as the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group, Population Genetics Group, Inflammatory Disease Research Group, and Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Group. Mapping Project Links are available as well. [NL]

The Oceanic Microbial Observatory

The Oceanic Microbial Observatory is a project run jointly by Dr. Craig Carlson of the University of California-Santa Barbara, and Dr. Stephen Giovannoni of Oregon State University. Centered on the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site, the "goal of this microbial observatory project is to understand the cell biology and biogeochemical activities of the major bacterioplankton groups-SAR11, SAR86, SAR202 and SAR116, marine actinobacteria, SAR324, and SAR406, by applying new high throughput technologies for cell culturing, and studying the metabolism of these organisms in nature and their interactions with organic matter in the oceans." The Microbial Observatory website contains links to downloadable publications, public data sets, and poster presentations. The site also offers links to a number of other microbial observatories; and connects to the Bermuda Biological Station for Research as well. [NL]


Raptor Center: Lesson Plans for Teachers

From the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center, this website contains 16 lesson plans designed for fourth to eighth grade students. The multidisciplinary, hands-on lessons address the lives of ospreys, ecological systems, predator-prey relationships, migration, different habitats, macroinvertebrates, human-environment relationships, and more. Lesson plans include learning objectives, vocabulary lists, materials needed, lesson background information, activity descriptions, extension ideas, and suggested resources. The website offers print-friendly formatted pages as well. Teachers can also link to information about the Raptor Center's traveling educational programs. [NL]

Texas A&M University: A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects [avi]

Hosted by the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, this well-organized website provides basic information about many common insects found in Texas, and in numerous other states as well. The website is based on a book titled, A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects by Drs. Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman. The site contains concise descriptions and good-quality images of a variety of insects including roaches, weevils, dragonflies, stoneflies, silverfish, walkingsticks, and more. The site also contains a brief overview of insect orders; characteristics of numerous insect orders such as Diptera, Ephemeroptera, Lepidoptera, and Mecoptera; a glossary; and links to a variety of insect images, animations, and video clips. [NL]

Sea and Sky: The Ocean Realm

The Ocean Realm is part of Sea and Sky, an award-winning, nonprofit website created by J.D. Knight, an Orlando-based Web designer, amateur astronomer, and marine aquarium hobbyist. The Ocean Realm offers two features: Reef Life, a presentation of animals who inhabit corral reefs; and Monsters of the Deep, an exploration of animals found in deep zones of the ocean. Reef Life contains gorgeous photographs; and basic information about a variety of sponges, corals, echinoderms, mollusks, sharks, and more. Monsters of the Deep contains profiles for a collection of fascinating creatures including the sizeable sixgill shark, the tiny vampire squid, the large-mouthed gulper eel, and the fierce viperfish to name but a few. The site also provides straightforward descriptions of ocean layers, deep sea bioluminescence, and hydrothermal vents. [NL]

The Searching Wolf

This impressive wolf information website was created by retired biology professor Dr. Bill Forbes. Notably, the site contains a multitude of links to both recent and less recent wolf-related articles appearing in such publications as Paleobiology,Wildlife Biology,Animal Science Journal, and Molecular Ecology. The site also offers a collection of other useful wolf resources such as an archived Bibliography of European Wolf Literature; a list of suggested wolf education materials; an extensive bibliography of books about wolves and related subjects; and links to an abundance of wolf organizations and websites. In addition, the site contains links to howling and growling clips, great wolf skull images, a list of places to see wolves, quizzes, and even an interactive crossword puzzle. [NL]

Science Friday Kids' Connection: Ecological Impact of the 2004 Tsunami [RealPlayer]

The world is still reeling from the tragic effects of last December's tsunami on so many coastal communities around the Indian Ocean. This website, developed for middle school teachers by Science Friday Kid's Connection, focuses on one of the less-talked about consequences of this recent disaster: the variant effects of the tsunami on terrestrial and marine wildlife. The website links to a NPR Talk of the Nation: Science Friday radio program addressing the ecological impact of the tsunami with expert guests from Columbia University, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, and the United Nations Environment Programme. The site also contains a collection of links to related news stories, and educational activities for students. The site provides an Academic Content Standards section with related standards and benchmarks for grades six to eight as well. [NL]

National Asthma Council: Spirometry Handbook

Hosted by the National Asthma Council of Australia, this online "handbook was written as a guide for those involved in the performance and interpretation of spirometry in clinical practice, i.e. medical practitioners and assisting nursing staff, and as an introduction to the topic for scientists and technicians." Initially published in 1995 by Drs. Rob Pierce and David P. Johns, the Spirometry Handbook was revised in July 2004. The brief sections include Measurement of Ventilatory Function; Measurement Devices; Infection Control Measures; and Predicted Normal Values. The publication also offers a number of references, and suggestions for further reading. Handbook users may print individual pages and link to a couple brief video clips as well. [NL]

Oracle Education Foundation-ThinkQuest Library: Crocodilians

One of the many benefits of the Internet is that it serves as a place for kids to create educational websites for other kids. Following in this tradition, this website (winner of the April 2004 ThinkQuest contest for students 12 and under) was created by a team of fifth-grade students--with help from their teachers--to educate other kids about Crocodilians. Although not heavy on content, the site offers basic information about this fascinating order of reptiles, and at the same time provides elementary school students with a model for what kids are capable of creating and sharing with their peers. The website provides brief summaries of all 23 crocodilian species. The site also showcases original artwork; and briefly addresses habitats, communication, conservation efforts, and physical features. The site also includes a glossary, and an interactive crossword puzzle. [NL]

WHOI Sea Grant Program/NH Sea Grant Program:

Developed jointly by members of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and New Hampshire Sea Grant Programs, this website introduces students and others to a variety of information about careers in marine science fields. The website features profiles of people doing a number of jobs including Marine Educator, Chemical Oceanographer, Aquarium Curator, and Ocean Advocate, to name a few. The site also contains concise descriptions of three important marine fields: Marine Biology, Oceanography, and Ocean Engineering. For those curious about financial matters, the site lists potential salaries based on occupational grouping, employment sector, and geographic location. In addition, site visitors will find a solid collection of related links, a Frequently Asked Questions page, and three short slide shows. [NL]


USDA Forest Service-St. Paul Field Office: Silvics of North America

The Internet continues to evolve as a global library, allowing free and easy public access to an increasing number of valuable documents. One such treasure, found in the archives of the USDA Forest Service St. Paul Field Office website, is Silvics of North America, a substantial publication describing "the silvical characteristics of about 200 conifers and hardwood trees in the coterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Individual articles were researched and written by knowledgeable Forest Service, university, and cooperating scientists." The publication is intended to be useful to foresters, educators, and researchers both for teaching purposes, and as a reference. Based on an earlier manual published in 1965, Silvics of North America was published in 1990, and required a decade to finish. In addition to tree information, the document includes checklists for organisms causing tree diseases, insects and mites, birds, and mammals. [NL]

Burke Museum of National History and Culture-WTU Herbarium Image Collection: Plants of Washington

Hosted by the Burke Museum of National History and Culture, and the University of Washington Herbarium, this website features 5,713 beautiful photographs of 1,183 plant species found in the many diverse ecosystems of Washington State. Site visitors may browse for plant species by scientific or common name, genus, and family. The website also offers an identification key and a search engine with fields for family, genus, species, and common name. Species pages contain excellent photographs; distribution maps; descriptive information; synonymy; links to subtaxa; and related links. The website is still being developed, and the site's managers utilize nifty check marks to indicate levels of completion for each species page. [NL]

National Health Information Center-Health Information Resource Database [pdf]

The National Health Information Center (NHIC) was created by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1979. A primary NHIC service is the Health Information Resource Database which "includes 1,400 organizations and government offices that provide health information upon request. Entries include contact information, short abstracts, and information about publication and services the organizations provide." Site visitors can link to the Resource Database search engine with fields for Title, Keyword, City, and State. Visitors can also locate organizations by linking to an extensive, alphabetic keyword list with subject categories for Arthritis, Child Care, HIV, Nutrition, Public Health, and many more. [NL]

Harvard@Home: Reproductive Health in the 21st Century [QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player]

From Harvard@Home, this website presents more than seven hours of video clips from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study's third-annual conference on women, gender, and society held in October of 2004. Titled Reproductive Health in the 21st Century, the "conference examines a broad array of issues surrounding reproductive health and features panels of distinguished physicians, scholars, and health policy advocates discussing the scientific, ethical, and social dimensions of medical and technological advances in the field and their global implications." Conference topics include The Politics and Ethics of Bodily Integrity; In Vitro Fertilization in the Muslim Middle East; Women Workers as Reproducers; and The Moral Issue of Sex Selection, to name a few. In addition to the video clips, the website contains topic summaries, short biographies of the numerous panelists, a feedback survey form, and links to related Harvard@Home programs. [NL]

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute: New Worlds Fruits Database

Hosted by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, this database was developed as an information resource on fruits from the Americas. Based on a September 2004 assessment, the New Worlds Fruits Database contained information about "1253 fruit species belonging to 302 genera and 69 families." Species profiles include vernacular names, geographic distribution, uses, bibliographic references, and links to additional Internet resources. Text searches can be conducted by Genus, Species, and Vernacular Name. Drop-down menus are available for several search fields including Family, Fruit Part, Product, Floristic Region, and Region or Country of Origin. The Fruits Database is still under development, and scientists, fruit growers, and other knowledgeable persons are encouraged to submit information and suggestions. [NL]

Caribbean Conservation Corporation & Sea Turtle Survival League

The Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) was founded in 1959 by sea turtle champions such as ecologist Dr. Archie Carr, who served as the CCC's Scientific Director for nearly three decades. As the oldest sea turtle organization on the globe, the CCC "works to enact protective laws and establish refuges for the preservation of sea turtle habitats and coastal environments." The CCC created the Sea Turtle Survival League (STSL) in 1993 "as a public education and advocacy program to begin addressing the threats that face U.S. sea turtle populations." The CCC & STSL website contains information about a number of sea turtle programs and projects, tracking sea turtles, different sea turtle species, and ways to become a sea turtle conservationist. CCC also offers a public discussion board, a variety of downloadable publications (including activities for kids), and a collection of related links. [NL]

CalPhotos: Animals

From the University of California-Berkeley Digital Library Project (first mentioned in the April 16, 1999 Scout Report), this CalPhotos website connects visitors to 17,812 images of different animals. Site visitors can locate animal photographs using a search engine with free text fields for Scientific or Common name, Location, and Picture's ID, and drop-down menu fields for Photographer, Country, US State, Collection, and more. Visitors can also peruse extensive, hyperlinked listings of animals grouped under the following categories: Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Invertebrates, Mammals, and Reptiles. Animals are listed by both common and scientific name. The photographs come from a variety of sources, and are accompanied by usage guidelines. CalPhotos collections are also available for Fungi, Plants, People & Culture, and Landscapes & Habitats. [NL]

Iowa State University: Integrated Crop Management Newsletter

The electronic version of the Integrated Crop Management Newsletter (mentioned briefly in the November 27, 2002 NSDL Scout Report for the Physical Sciences) is published by the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University. From the spring season to the fall season, the Newsletter emerges weekly; and features short articles in the content areas of Crop Production; Insects and Mites; Pesticide Education; Plant Diseases; Soil Fertility; and Weed Management. Appealing primarily to Iowan and other Midwestern agriculturalists, examples of specific Newsletter articles include: Should We Rotate Or Not?; Soldier Beetles Are Not Crop Pests; Asian Soybean Rust Confirmed in the Continental United States; and Nitrogen Losses After The Heavy Rains. From the current issue homepage, links are provided to hyperlinked indices containing an abundance of archived articles published between 1998 and the present. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Winter Depression

Jan. 24 called worst day of year
Winter Darkness, Season Depression
Shed light on SAD to ease winter blues
Ask the Doctor: Clinical Chronobiology
Norway: A natural research laboratory
Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms
Psychology Today: Seasonal Affective Disorder

A U.K. psychologist has developed a complex mathematical formula using seven variables to predict winter's emotional low point. The good news is the worst day of the year was last week; nonetheless, seasonal depression remains a problem for many. The first link (1) is to an article about the equation worked out by Dr. Cliff Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales. The second link is to a WebMD page (2) about winter depression, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The next link (3) is to a recent news story about the results of a five-year study that found, rather than antidepressant drug therapy or air ionizers, light box therapy is the best remedy for the seasonal condition. The fourth link is to a set of Frequently Asked Questions (4) about SAD offered by Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. The fifth link, to the Winter Depression Research Group at the University of Tromso in Norway(5), explains why Norway is a natural SAD research laboratory. The next link is to a international portal site (6) maintained by medical professionals and researchers in the field of light therapy and biological rhythms. The final webpage(7), from Psychology Today, compares the symptoms of winter depression with summer depression. [CL]

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From The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2005.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2005. 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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