The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 5

March 4, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


International Brain Research Organization

Founded in 1960, the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) is an international group "dedicated to the promotion of neuroscience and of communication between brain researchers in all countries of the world." The IBRO website contains information about publications, funding options, upcoming events, membership, and more. In addition, the site posts links to pertinent announcements and news items. Notably, the IBRO maintains a useful collection of related links that includes other organizations and societies, neuroscience-related websites, and journals. The website offers a search engine for locating IBRO members as well. [NL]

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) was formed in 2004, under the direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), by integrating parts of the Florida Marine Research Institute, the Division of Freshwater Fisheries, and the Division of Wildlife. Beyond "fulfilling the functions previously provided by three groups, FWRI added focus areas in spatial analysis, biostatistics and modeling, wildlife forensics, and socioeconomic research." The FWRI website contains information about research activities concerning Freshwater and Saltwater Fisheries, Marine Biology, Red Tide, and the Florida Manatee. The site maintains an extensive list of publications (from a wide range of years), some of which are downloadable, while others, if still in print, may be ordered at no cost. A number of Technical Reports published during the past decade are available for download as well. The site also links to information about FWRI partners, reference collections, and employment with FWRI. [NL]

Sanger Institute: Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer

The Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) was designed by the Sanger Institute to house and exhibit information about somatic mutation and associated details and "contains information relating to human cancers." The COSMIC database draws on information from the primary literature, and allows users to browse by gene or tissue. In order to present users with "a consistent view of the data a histology and tissue ontology has been created and all mutations are mapped to a single version of each gene." The COSMIC site also links to other Sanger Institute projects such as the Cancer Genome Project. Links are provided to a number of other database resources as well. [NL]

University of Tennessee: Mycorrhizal Information Exchange [pdf]

The Mycorrhizal Information Exchange (MIE) was developed by Professor Robert Aug of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee. A particular strength of the site is the Literature section which will certainly be of interest to mycorrhizologists. For example, Aug offers a subsection of Monthly Literature Search Results for Mycorrhizal Articles with an archives database that "contains about 7000 citations (as of September 2004), with about 50 to 60 added each month." The Literature section also offers an extensive reference list of mycorrhizal dissertations and theses spanning the last couple decades; a sizeable list of mycorrhizal review references (some linked to abstracts and/or available for article download); a hyperlinked list of related online journals; and an assorted book list (additional book references are invited). The site also offers an International Directory of Mycorrhizologists; access to a mycorrhizal electronic mailing list; an image exchange; links to related professional societies and mycorrhizal research groups; and more. [NL]

The Scripps Research Institute [pdf]

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) employs a philosophy emphasizing "the creation of basic knowledge in the biosciences for the application of medical and material discoveries; the pursuit of fundamental scientific advances through interdisciplinary programs and collaborations, and the education and training of researchers preparing to meet the scientific challenges of the next century." TSRI conducts research in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, immunology, virology, autoimmune diseases, neurosciences, cardiovascular diseases, and more. The TSRI website contains links to information about scientific departments, faculty members, centers and programs, consortia, and research services. TSRI also offers a number of downloadable publications, and listings of available employment and postdoctoral opportunities. Note: The main sections of the site are accessible only from the homepage. [NL]

Center for Ecological Entomology [pdf]

The Center for Ecological Entomology (CEE) operates under the auspices of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS). The CEE is composed of extension specialists, research scientists, and support personnel who investigate and resolve "entomologically related issues in four important sectors: agriculture, medicine, the environment, and the urban setting." The CEE website offers information about staff members, current and completed research projects, and employment and graduate study opportunities. In addition, the site links to several databases including the INHS Insect Collection Database and the Ecological Database of the World's Insect Pathogens (first reported on in the October 1, 1997 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). The site also provides lists of scientific publications from the past several years. Note: Publications from 2004 have yet to be added. [NL]

Texas Natural History Collections: Ichthyology

This Ichthyology Collection is part of the Texas Natural History Collections (TNHC) at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Memorial Museum. It is estimated that the Ichthyology Collection currently holds 676,384 specimens contained in approximately 30,000 jars. The Collection represents 180 countries, and over half of the specimens are from Texas. Loans are available to "researchers at recognized institutions with the facilities to properly house and care for the specimens." The site links to extensive indices for North America Freshwater Fishes and Texas Freshwater Fishes which include maps and images. The site also links to a searchable and browseable TNHC Fish Specimen Database containing 26,511 records. Note: The Fish Database is under construction, and may be unavailable on occasion. [NL]

The Bryozoa Home Page

The Bryozoa Home Page was developed by Philip Bock, currently an Honorary Fellow at Deacon University in Australia. The Bryozoa Home Page is hosted by RMIT University, with a mirrored site at the Natural History Museum in London. The website contains several indexes to Bryozoan including Systematic and Alphabetic Listings of Families; an Alphabetic Index of Bryozoan Genera; an Index to Illustrated Species and Genera; and a List of Colour Photographs. The indexes are still under construction, and users are invited to contribute by providing feedback, images, or other resources. The site also contains Annual Lists of References and Taxa from 1972 to present (also under construction), links to websites for related journals, and links to numerous other Bryozoan-related websites. In addition, site visitors will find links to the International Bryozoology Association (IBA) website, and to information about upcoming IBA conferences. [NL]


Microbiology@Leicester: Virology

Hosted by the University of Leicester, this website provides students with a variety of helpful information regarding virology. The site offers online notes addressing a range of topics including Bacteriophages, Plant Viruses, Pathogenesis of AIDS, and Virus Structure-to name a few. Students will also find descriptions of DNA and RNA viruses such as Adenoviruses, Poxviruses, Retroviruses, Togaviruses, and more. The website employs colorful diagrams and illustrations to support textual information. The content of the site will likely be most useful to college-aged and advanced high school students. This site also links to notes regarding microbiology; infection and immunity; and math and computers for biologists. [NL]

Science Museum of Minnesota: When Crocodiles Ruled [RealPlayer, QuickTime, Java]

This website from the Learning Technologies Department at the Science Museum of Minnesota treats visitors to a glimpse of what our world looked like 60 million years ago. The site offers students a variety of interesting learning formats including a paleontologist's journal with information about plants and animals that inhabited the earth 60 million years ago; an interactive, animated fossil digging adventure; downloadable diorama cut-out sheets; and more. For teachers, the site provides activity ideas, related links, and Minnesota standards for grades five through eight. Finally, site visitors can learn about an important animal and plant fossil site in western North Dakota. Note: The Science Museum of Minnesota offers versions of this website to those with both slow and fast connections. [NL]

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Public Education [pdf]

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) is a professional association composed of close to 5,000 immunologists and allergists "dedicated to improving the quality of patient care in allergy and immunology through research, advocacy and professional and public education." In alignment with its educational goals, ACAAI offers a variety of online information about allergies and asthma for the general public. For example, this website offers concise information pages about numerous topics relating to allergies and asthma such as Pregnancy and Asthma, Dust Mites, Hives, Food Allergies, and Asthma Control Guidelines. ACAAI also offers advice about when one should consult an allergist and provides an online Allergist Locator service, and a nationwide allergist telephone referral service. Other useful site offerings include health care-related information, frequently asked questions, interactive quizzes, and a glossary. [NL]

Schools Online: The Adventures of Herman [pdf, Java]

From the University of Illinois Extension Schools Online Program, this kid-friendly website introduces third- through fifth-grade students to the world of worms (first mentioned in the September 9, 2002 NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences). The site addresses a nice blend of worm topics including history, taxonomy, and anatomy. Student visitors will enjoy a number of interactive, online worm activities as well. The website also contains a section about making and managing a worm bin. For teachers, the site provides Illinois Statewide Goals and Objectives, additional tips for keeping a worm bin in the classroom, and several suggested links. This site is available in both Spanish and English. [NL]

Center for Environmental Education Online

The Center for Environmental Education (CEE) was founded as a clearinghouse for educational resources by Jayni and Chevy Chase in 1989. Almost a decade later, the Center moved to Antioch New England Graduate School, a stronghold for environmental education; and more recently CEE developed this website to assist environmental educators around the globe. The heart of the site is an extensive curriculum library that contains annotated links to resources under a broad range of environmental categories including Biodiversity, Food, Waste, Population, and more. The site also offers an online newsletter covering a variety of pertinent topics for environmental educators (updated weekly), a special section regarding green schools, and a Hot Topics section. [NL]

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand: Best Fish Guide [pdf]

From the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, this website contains a guide to ecologically conscious fish consumption. This informative "guide profiles New Zealand's 62 commercial marine fisheries and species, and advises consumers on the best choices according to the ecological ranking of each fishery. Each profile takes into account the state of fish stocks, bycatch, damage done to marine habitats and other ecological effects of the fishing." The full guide (published June 2004) is available in two downloadable reports: the first is an 84-page document providing a summary of the ecological rankings; and the second is a 42-page document addressing the criteria for ecological rankings. In addition, site visitors can view online summary information by fish species; and a download a wallet card guide as well. For the epicure, the site also shares recipes for the guide's top twelve seafood choices. [NL]

Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group: Learning Web

This educational website about raptors was developed by the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (SCPBRG), located at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The site provides basic information (e.g. description, habitat, reproduction) about the Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, and Prairie Falcon. After reading the raptor profiles, students can test their knowledge with several quizzes that offer instant grading upon completion. The teachers' section of the website is still being developed, but currently offers a few interesting ideas and resources for classroom discussions and activities. SCPBRG is attempting to provide resources for a wide range of student ages (elementary through high school), so activities will likely require adaptations to meet the needs of different student groups. [NL]

UCMP Glossary

This glossary, replete with biological terms, was developed to support the many fine exhibits presented by the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP). In addition to supporting UCMP exhibits, the glossary is a useful stand-alone resource for students investigating a variety of subjects. The glossary is organized into nine scientific fields including Botany, Cell Biology, Ecology, Life History, Zoology, and Biochemistry. Glossary terms are given concise definitions, often containing hyperlinks connecting certain words to greater explanations within UCMP exhibits. The entire glossary can also be viewed alphabetically. [NL]


Society for Developmental Biology [pdf]

The Society for Developmental Biology (SDB) works "to further the study of development in all organisms and at all levels, to represent and promote communication among students of development, and to promote the field of developmental biology." The SDB website offers services for professional scientists and students alike. Biologists will appreciate the Job Openings section which lists funding opportunities as well as open faculty positions, technical and corporate positions, and postdoctoral positions. The site also contains links to the lab websites of many SDB members. For students, the website offers links to a range of different educational resources such as the Interactive Fly, A Cyberspace Guide to Drosophila Genes and Their Roles in Development (first reported on in the November 29, 1996 Scout Report). The website also offers information about annual and regional meetings, publications, and membership. [NL]

National Asthma Council Australia: Online Publications [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Hosted by the National Asthma Council Australia (NAC), this website offers a collection of online publications for health professionals relating to asthma care. The site offers publications under the categories of Asthma Management Resources, Asthma Position Papers, Asthma Strategy Papers, and Asthma Information Resources. Examples of some of the available publications include: the Asthma Management Handbook 2002 (updated every three years); a downloadable Emergency Management of Asthma chart; a paper addressing the role of Combination Therapy in asthma management; and a Specialty Pharmacy Practice Asthma Package, to name a few. The website links to several audiovisual resources as well. Site visitors can also link to current and past NAC newsletters and media releases. [NL]

Oregon State University: Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA

Housed in the archives of Special Collections at Oregon State University's Valley Library, this website narrates the "details of the pursuit of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA." The story is told through the use of old photographs, video excerpts, audio clips, and more than 800 scanned documents. Linus Pauling (renowned chemist and winner of two Noble Prizes) is the central figure in the website's telling of the DNA story. The site contains three main sections: an illustrated narrative describing the primary actors and events involved in the discovery; a daily account of "Linus Pauling's personal and professional communications and activities for each day of the years 1952 and 1953"; and a collection of documents and other media that includes published papers, manuscripts, and more than 300 letters. The site also provides a Select Bibliography, a Chronological List of Documents, and links to other DNA-related sites. [NL]

University of Florida: Aquatic and Wetland Plants and Invasive Plants

Aquatic plant enthusiasts will enjoy this image-rich website from the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (APIRS) at the University of Florida. The site features images of nearly 400 native and non-native plant species found in Florida. Site visitors can locate plant species by scientific name, common name, and plant type category (e.g. trees, shrubs, vines). Species pages contain several images accompanied by a brief description. Line drawings of numerous plant species are available for viewing as well. In addition, the site offers an Introduction to Native Plants, and an Introduction to Non-Native Invasive Plants. [NL]


From the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikispecies is an exciting new project intended to be an extensive, open directory of species covering plantae, animalia, bacteria, fungi, and more. This project is aimed at a scientific audience, and similar to other Wikimedia projects, Wikispecies is a collaborative venture that will evolve through the input and needs of its users. Therefore, Wikispecies is putting out the word to naturalists, scientists, and other taxonomists to help develop this centralized base for taxonomic information. The current template for Wikispecies pages includes: Taxonavigation, Morphology, Genetics, Vernacular Names, Distribution, Reference, Physiology, and more. Wikispecies offers an online forum for discussion about the project; a list of areas that are already covered, and areas that need attention; a page listing recent changes; and background information about the project. [NL]

Medical College of Wisconsin: Healthlink [pdf]

Healthlink is a free, noncommercial health information service from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). One quite useful section of the website allows visitors to locate health-related articles by topic. Titled Browse By Topic, this alphabetized section offers a wide variety of categories to choose from such as Arthritis, Endocrine System, Preventative Medicine, and Women's Health, to name just a few. Each topical page presents the latest articles dealing with that subject and also allows visitors to view archived articles listed alphabetically or by date. Healthlink also provides articles written by MCW columnists, as well as reflective essays by MCW health professionals. Additional offerings include articles regarding health care information for consumers, and a free email newsletter from MCW. [NL]

Animal Planet: Dog Breed Directory

Are you considering bringing a canine into the family, and wondering which type of dog would be the best fit? This website from Animal Planet provides potential dog owners with information about a variety of breeds. The site directory lists dogs under such categories as Hound, Sporting, Terrier, Working, Herding, and more. Site visitors can view profiles for many different types of dogs including the Bernese Mountain Dog, Irish Setter, Old English Sheepdog, and Tibetan Spaniel. Dog profiles contain a photograph, Rating of Characteristics; and concise sections addressing History, Temperament, Form and Function, Upkeep, and Health. Profiles also include a hyperlinked list of related dogs. [NL]

World Organisation for Animal Health [pdf]

Established in 1924 by a coalition of 28 countries, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), now composed of 167 member countries, facilitates global awareness of regional animal diseases, and also works to curtail the spread of diseases. The OIE website contains a range of information about animal health issues in three main sections: World Animal Health Situation, Official Animal Health Status, and Animal Diseases Data. The site also offers editorials and press releases, as well as information about a variety of OIE publications. In addition, site visitors will find a calendar of international meetings, job postings (when available), a solid collection of related links; and information about health standards for terrestrial and aquatic animals, OIE Reference Laboratories and Working Groups, internships, and more. This website is available in French, Spanish, and English. [NL]

Topic In Depth

The Living Soil

Natural Environment Research Council: Soil Biodiversity Programme
Wageningen University and Research Centre: Ecology of Soil Organisms
University of Jyvaskyla: Soil Ecology Group
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: The Soil Biology Primer
Iowa State University: Soil Biology Movies
The University of Western Australia: Soils Are Alive

Soil is home to vast numbers of organisms, and even small sections of earth teem with a diverse array of life. This Topic in Depth takes a closer look at the world beneath our feet through the lens of soil biologists and ecologists. The first website (1) provides information about the activities of a Natural Environment Research Council-supported research program "on the biological diversity of soil biota and the functional roles played by soil organisms in key ecological processes." The second site (2) contains information about several research projects of the Ecology of Soil Organisms Theme Group at Wageningen University and Research Centre. The Theme Group studies "soil organisms at the population, community, and ecosystem level, to ultimately increase understanding of the role of soil organisms." The third site (3) contains a list of publications spanning the past fifteen years from members of the Soil Ecology Group at the University of Jyvskyl. The site also provides basic information about group members, and concise descriptions of current research projects. From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the fourth website (4) contains an online version of the Soil Biology Primer, "an introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity, and air and water quality. The Primer includes units describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health, and units about bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms." The online version of the Primer contains the entire text of the original published version, but is missing some useful soil organism images. The fifth site (5) links to sixteen movies relating to different aspects of soil biology such as nematodes, mites, springtails, and protozoa. The movies were all produced by Dr. Thomas E. Loynachan, a Professor of Agronomy and Microbiology at Iowa State University. Finally, Soils Are Alive (6) was developed by Professor Lyn Abbot of the University of Western Australia and Jen Slater, a qualified secondary school science teacher. This website contains informative, concise sections addressing Soil Biology, Biological Processes, Living Components, and Ecosystem Management. [NL]

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