The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 6

March 18, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


American Society of Plant Taxonomists [pdf]

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) "promotes research and teaching in the taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeny of vascular and nonvascular plants." One particularly useful online service from ASPT is a Current News section which provides information about a variety of relevant post-docs, internships, and fellowships; awards and other funding opportunities; upcoming meetings and symposia around the world; herbaria news; and more. The site also provides ASPT specific information about graduate research grants, bylaws, membership, publications, and the upcoming Botany 2005 Annual Meeting (held in conjunction with the American Fern Society, Botanical Society of America, and American Bryological and Lichenological Society). In addition, ASPT provides access to a membership database, email addresses for officers and committee members, and a Herbaria electronic mailing list. [NL]

Microarray Gene Expression Data Society [pdf]

The Microarray Gene Expression Data Society is an international organization composed of computer scientists, data analysts, and biologists "that aims to facilitate the sharing of microarray data generated by functional genomics and proteomics experiments." Hosted by the European Bioinformatics Institute, this website connects to information about six major Data Society workgroups (e.g. the Ontology Working Group, the Reporting Structure for Biological Investigations Working Groups, the Data Transformation and Normalization Working Group). The Data Society website also offers a News Archive; several downloadable publications from the past few years; a number of PowerPoint presentations from past Society meetings; contact information for Society Board Members; and links to information about upcoming and past Society meetings. [NL]

USDA: FORMIS: A Master Bibliography of Ant Literature [EndNote]

Hosted by the USDA's Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, this Master Bibliography of Ant Literature, entitled FORMIS, "is a composite of several ant literature databases. It contains citations for a large fraction of the world's ant literature (about 32,000 references). FORMIS contains all known ant taxonomic literature (through 1996)." In addition, FORMIS features comprehensive bibliographies of fire ants, Russian wood ants, and leaf-cutting ants. The website offers options for online searches and downloads. The site was last modified in April 2004; however, it should be noted that FORMIS has not been updated since 2003, thus users should not expect to find the most recent literature. Despite the lack of up-to-date literature, FORMIS remains a substantial resource for myrmecologists and other researchers. Furthermore, the editors are requesting assistance for the continued expansion and updating of FORMIS. [NL]

Plant Diversity of Central French Guiana

From the New York Botanical Garden's Virtual Herbarium, this "specimen database of flowering plant collections is part of a larger project designed to document the fungal and plant diversity of central French Guiana." A greater goal of the project "is to provide the fungal and plant inventories needed for understanding the evolution and ecological relationships of the fungi, plants, and animals that inhabit this, one of the last tropical wilderness areas of the world." The website provides engines for basic searches as well as detailed searches with fields for Scientific Name (e.g. Family, Genus, Species), Collector/Number, Collector Location (e.g. Country, City, Province/State, County), Type Status, Substrate, and more. Site visitors can also locate specimen records by browsing a Families list and link to more information at the Fungal and Plant Diversity of Central French Guiana Homepage. [NL]

Oncogenomics Normal Tissue Database

The Oncogenomics Normal Tissue Database is "a high-density gene expression database derived from 42,000 clone cDNA microarrays containing 18,927 unique genes for 158 normal human samples from 19 different organs of 30 different individuals." The Database was released by the Oncogenomics Section of the National Cancer Institute's Pediatric Oncology Branch. Genes can be queried based on Gene Ontology Terms, IMAGE Clone ID, Gene Symbol, Chromosome, Cytoband, and more. Users can view results "by either a heatmap for multiple genes grouped by organ type or a bar-chart for individual genes also grouped by organ type." Note: After completing a free and simple registration process, users may access the whole dataset. [NL]

International Genetic Epidemiology Society [pdf]

The International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) is composed of "geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians, mathematicians, biologists, related biomedical researchers and students interested in the research of the genetic basis of the diseases, complex traits and their risk factors." Hosted by the Division of Biostatistics at Washington University School of Medicine, the IGES website provides information about annual scientific meetings; organizational information such as bylaws; the official IGES journal, Genetic Epidemiology; books of interest; relevant courses and training programs, and meetings for related organizations. Notably, the site posts an extensive list of available positions (at institutions in a number of countries) such as post-docs, research fellows, faculty positions, research associate positions, and more. The website links to an IGES membership directory as well. [NL]

U.S. National Herbarium: Algal Collection

The Algal Collection of the U.S. National Herbarium, part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, "is represented by over 219,548 accessioned and inventoried herbarium specimens preserved on herbarium sheets." The Collection includes estuarine, marine, freshwater, airborne, and terrestrial algae; however, macroscopic and marine comprise the principal holdings. In addition to information about the Collection, this website contains information regarding loan requests, scientific visits, and the Research Database. At present, only the Type Algal Collection can be searched online, but research inquiries of the main collection may be requested. Site visitors will also find information about staff members, algae collection and preservation, and marine floras in the Americas. Additionally, site visitors can view lists and selected abstracts of publications by Collection staff members. [NL]

University of California-Los Angeles: Online Archive of American Folk Medicine

The Archive of American Folk Medicine is the result of more than 50 years of work by UCLA-associated folklorists who "documented beliefs and practices relating to folk medicine and alternative healthcare. In order to make the data more readily available to the worldwide community of researchers and medical practitioners, the Online Archive of American Folk Medicine was established in 1996 under the direction of Dr. Michael Owen Jones, a professor of folklore and history at UCLA." The Archive draws from over 3,200 published works, and is intended to serve folklorists, sociologists, and historians. The website provides basic and advanced search options; and records include brief entries for Citation, Condition, Belief, Method of Treatment, and more. Users should be aware that the Archive website has not been updated in several years but it remains a valuable resource for researchers and others interested in folk medicine. [NL]


Journeys & Transformations: British Columbia Landscapes [Macromedia Flash Player]

This website from the Royal British Columbia Museum introduces students to five important environments found in British Columbia: Mountains, Forests, Grasslands, Waters, and Cities. Each environment section includes topical features under the following headings: Nature, First Peoples, and History. Examples of feature topics include Mammals in Winter, Clothing From the Land, Life in the Ocean, and Introduced Species, to name a few. The aesthetically pleasing website keeps text to a minimum as it relies primarily on beautiful photographs and interactive maps to share histories and other information. Educators will find a brief Teacher's Guide providing an overview of the website, and a simple list of teaching ideas. The website is available in French and English. [NL]

Kimball's Biology Pages

Kimball's Biology Pages (first reviewed in the May 9, 1997 Scout Report) is an online biology textbook created and maintained by Dr. John W. Kimball, a veteran biology educator and retired Harvard professor. Dr. Kimball believes that the hypertext format is especially well suited for biological study because its nodal structure better approximates the relationships between biological subjects than a linearly structured textbook. In addition, a hypertext allows for more timely updates concerning advancements in biology. This hypertext, likely most appropriate for undergraduates and advanced secondary students, addresses a wide range of biology-related topics such as photosynthesis, cells, invertebrates, and human hormones. Topical pages are categorized under broad headings such as Animals, Cancer, Evolution, Immunology, Plant Biology, Diversity of Life, and more. Topics can also be located by using an extensive alphabetized index, or search engine. The website is well organized, and successfully employs diagrams and other images alongside concise text sections. [NL]

American Urological Association:

Established in 1902, the American Urological Association (AUA) works to "promote the highest standards of urological clinical care through education, research and in the formulation of health care policy." In line with the educational component of its mission, AUA developed this website as an information resource for patients. The website offers sections for both Adult and Pediatric Conditions. These sections provide information about a range of conditions and/or diseases under the broad categories of Bladder, Adrenal & Kidney Diseases, Cancers, Inflammations & Infections, Stones, and more. The site also provides a search engine, printer-friendly formats, an online directory service for locating urologists, and a quite extensive glossary of urology-related terms. [NL]

The Child Care Nutrition Resource System [pdf]

The Child Care Nutrition Resource System is developed by the University of Maryland's Department of Nutrition and Food Science and the USDA National Agricultural Library's Food and Nutrition Information Center. The Resource System is geared towards childcare providers who participate in USDA nutrition programs, but others interested in children's nutrition will find this website useful as well. Notably, the website serves as a portal to many helpful resources from a variety of different universities and other organizations such as the National Network for Child Care, Colorado State University, Texas Department of Health, National Cancer Institute, and the American Heart Association. Site visitors will find a cornucopia of information, activities, and other resources relating to recipes, nutrients, fitness, fruits and vegetables, food safety, and more. [NL]

Association for Biology Laboratory Education [pdf]

Established in 1979, the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE) promotes "information exchange among university and college educators actively concerned with teaching biology in a laboratory setting." The ABLE website contains information about grants, past and future annual conferences, and membership. ABLE also posts employment opportunities, and an extensive array of links organized into categories for General Biology, Online Journals, Biological Animations, Suppliers of Biological Materials, Comprehensive Links Pages, and more. In addition, ABLE makes available current and past newsletters and a collection of abstracts and full-text articles from Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, a publication based on the proceedings of the ABLE annual conference. [NL]

National Museum of Natural History-Naturalis: 300 Pearls

This fascinating website was created collaboratively by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the Hungarian Natural History Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History-Naturalis to present highlights of its vast natural history collections. Students and other curious visitors can roam the virtual halls of the museums looking for information about specimens in such categories as Animals and Plants, Endangered Species, Extinct Animals, and Fossils. The numerous exhibit pages contain concise text sections and great photographs and share information about a host of interesting plants and animals like the Tasmanian wolf, Thylacinus cynocephalus. The site also links to exhibits organized into the following categories: Rare Books and Other Treasures; Anthropology and Prehistory; Recent Research; and Minerals and Rocks. The website is available in Dutch, Hungarian, French, and English. Note: This website is best viewed using Internet Explorer; technical problems occur when using Mozilla and Netscape. [NL]

American Heart Association: Children's Health [pdf]

This website was developed by the American Heart Association to promote healthy hearts in children. The site provides a solid collection of downloadable games and songs for kids to learn about hearts (worksheets are available for pre-kindergarten-through eighth-grade students). For parents, the website offers basic information about a number of heart conditions that affect children such as congenital heart defects, heart failure, Kawasaki disease, and DiGeorge syndrome. The American Heart Association also provides an Ask the Pediatric Cardiologist service for site visitors (with an archive of previously asked questions and answers). To round things out, the website offers links to a number of resources related to nutrition and exercise. [NL]

Nutrition Caf [Macromedia Flash Player]

Developed jointly by the Pacific Science Center and the Washington State Dairy Council, Nutrition Caf offers students three interactive games to explore the world of nutrition. The first game, Nutrient Sleuth, is an entertaining hangman-style game where students try to discover what nutrients different characters are missing based on clues and letter guesses. Another enjoyable offering is Grab A Grape, a Jeopardy-style game where site visitors try to match nutrition-related questions with answers, e.g. Question: What Are Contained in All Foods? Answer: Calories. In addition, the site links to a few other nutrition-related resources such as Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Site visitors are given a choice between Flash and non-Flash versions of the Nutrition Caf. [NL]


Soil Association [pdf]

Since its inception over a half century ago, the Soil Association has "been working to raise awareness about the positive health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming and supporting farmers in producing natural food consumers can trust." Originally formed by a coalition of inspired scientists, nutritionists, and farmers, the Soil Association is now the leading organic farming and food certification and campaigning organization in the United Kingdom. Although primarily geared towards citizens of the United Kingdom, the Association website merits a perusal from anyone interested in the organic food movement. Site features include a large online library containing hundreds of documents listed under such categories as Animal Welfare, Biodiversity, Horticulture, Pesticides, and Education; profiles of many organic farms in the UK; a classified ads page with information about employment opportunities and items for sale; information about the Soil Association's standards for organic production and processing; and more. [NL]

The Vega Science Trust: Online Science Programmes [RealPlayer]

The nonprofit, UK-based Vega Science Trust broadcasts free science programs over the Internet. The programs "are mainly produced by experts in science and engineering and many have been previously shown on mainstream television." The Vega Science Trust website contains a sizeable collection of science programs for viewing. Program subject categories include: Biology, Health, Molecular Biology, Safety, Physics, and more. As indicated by the various categories, the programs address a wide range of issues including ocean life, genetically modified organisms, brain science, and ageing, to name a few. In addition to being categorized by subject, the annotated programs can also be browsed by scientist, by series, and by alphabetic order. [NL]

Nrfoto: The Visual Impact of Nature

This free, non-commercial website was created by professional nature photographer and former aquatic ecologist Bjrn Rrslett to exhibit his remarkable photographic work. A stand-out section of the website, titled Flowers in Ultraviolet, provides a glimpse into the visual world of pollinators by displaying fantastic ultraviolet and visible light images of different flower species. The website also contains some intriguing images featuring frogs, plants in urban settings, aquatic species, water surfaces and more. Site visitors will also find camera reviews, information about infrared and ultraviolet color photography, opinions about different types of lenses, and related links. [NL]

Bird Identification

This clever bird identification key was created by Eric Haines, a birding enthusiast and professional in the field of computer graphics. The online key focuses on birds found in eastern sections of the United States and Canada and is based on Quick-Key Guide to Birds by John T. Emlen, and David Archbald. Site users can pinpoint numerous bird species by selecting specific characteristics under such categories as Action (e.g. Swimming, Hopping or Climbing); Size (e.g. Larger Than Robin, Smaller Than Robin); Habitat (e.g. Wood, Marsh, Field); Markings (e.g. Eye Ring, Crown Patch); and more. Bird profiles list basic distinguishing characteristics, and link to images of the bird in Google Images. This website also links to a Bird Quiz Program that can be self-tailored to suit the preferences of different quiz-takers and to identification keys for trees and wildflowers. [NL]

World AIDS Day 2004 [pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint]

From the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, this website provides information and images related to Worlds AIDS Day 2004. Notably, the site contains a downloadable version of the AIDS Epidemic Update 2004, which "provides the most recent estimates of the epidemic's scope and human toll, explores new trends in the epidemic's evolution, and features a special section on women and AIDS." In addition, site visitors can download a set of eleven epidemiological PowerPoint slides based on the 2004 Update. The site also links to news stories, webcasts, factsheets, and photographs from World AIDS Day events around the globe. Many of the website's offerings are available in French, Spanish, Russian, and English. [NL] [pdf] is an information resource project developed jointly by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the American Pharmacists Association. The website is designed to support pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students by providing useful information and professional development resources. Professionals seeking employment will certainly appreciate the extensive job board with hundreds of listings from around the country. The site also contains a sizeable collection of relevant news stories from present and recent years, as well as a number of downloadable product bulletins from the past several years. In addition, the site offers information about becoming a licensed pharmacist and provides a link for practicing pharmacists to order a free subscription of Pharmacy Today, the official publication of the American Pharmacists Association. [NL]

The International Pelvic Pain Society [pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint]

The International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) was founded in 1996 by health professionals as a forum for public and professional education regarding chronic pelvic pain. One of the primary objectives of the IPPS is to "educate health care professionals how to diagnose and manage chronic pelvic pain, thereby changing the lives of patients worldwide." The IPPS is especially focused on addressing the pelvic health needs of women. For health care providers, the IPPS website offers a number of helpful resources such as downloadable articles and Powerpoint presentations concerning Endoscopy, Vulvodunia, Pelvic Congestion, and Physical Therapy, to name a few. The site also offers a collection of Featured Scientific Articles, downloadable IPPS newsletters (current and past), an assemblage of annotated links to related organizations, and more. Offerings for patients include a downloadable Patient Education Booklet, Patient Testimonials, and a service for locating nearby health care providers. [NL]

Oregon Plant Atlas [Java]

The Oregon Plant Atlas is an excellent online mapping program from the Oregon Flora Project at Oregon State University and the Native Plant Society of Oregon. The program allows visitors to create customized plant distribution maps derived from more than "385,000 records representing 96% of Oregon's 4516 taxa." Atlas users may choose up to six taxa (e.g. species, subspecies) for each map and selected taxa will be displayed at the locations in Oregon where they have been observed or collected. The Atlas offers users a number of base map options including shaded relief, precipitation, ecoregion, and county line maps of Oregon. In addition, Atlas visitors can access detailed information about different specimens by selecting location symbols on the map. The site provides a Help section, and links to other aspects of the Oregon Flora Project as well. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Asteraceae, a.k.a. Sunflower Family

Backyard Nature: Composite Flowers
Wildflowers and Weeds-Asteraceae: Wildflowers of the Aster/Sunflower Family
Oregon State University: Horticulture 233-Family Asteraceae
Dave's Garden-Family: Asteraceae
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden: Flower Dissection Lab
Iziko Museums of Cape Town: Asteraceae/Compositae
National Sunflower Association: Research Forum Papers

The Family Asteraceae (a.k.a. Compositae, Composite, Sunflower, Aster) is an impressively large and diverse family of flowering plants (circa 20,000 species). This Topic in Depth offers an assemblage of sites that provide images of, and introductory information about, this remarkable family. From Backyard Nature (reviewed in the May 28, 2004 NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences) this educational webpage (1) site (part of naturalist Thomas J. Elpel's larger Wildflowers and Weeds website) exhibits clear photographs of members of the Dandelion Subfamily; and members of a number of tribes in the Aster Subfamily such as the Artichoke Tribe, Chamomile Tribe, Groundsel Tribe, and Sunflower Tribe. As part of a horticulture course at Oregon State University, the third site (3) offers a basic introduction to the Family Asteraceae accompanied by a simple Key to Important Genera. The site then provides more detailed profiles of four major crops in the Aster family including lettuce, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory. Note: To reach the Family Asteraceae section of the Hort 233 course website, simply locate it in the index and select it. The fourth site (4) from Dave's Garden (a Texas-based software company) provides a multitude of images and profiles of members of Asteraceae that are used in gardening with information about spacing, sun exposure, hardiness zones, bloom time, and more. Look for the Chocolate Cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguieneus! From Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (5), the fifth site presents a simple Flower Dissection Lab using orchids and composite flowers. The sixth site (6), from Iziko Museums of Cape Town, provides basic information about "Tribes in the Asteraceae that occur in southern Africa." An alphabetical list of genera is available as well. At the final site (7), the National Sunflower Association (NSA) offers downloadable papers presented at the annual NSA Research Forum during the years 2002-05. Available search fields include year, author, keyword (s), and categories like Bird Predation, Insects, Quality, and Weeds. [NL]

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