The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 9

April 29, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


The Center for North American Herpetology [pdf]

The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH) "serves as a data bank for information about North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians, and promotes the study and conservation of them by financial support of selected publications, photography, and any other appropriate medium, as well as the establishment of awards for excellence in research about these fascinating creatures." The CNAH website lists annotated, hyperlinked websites regarding salamanders, turtles, snakes, frogs, lizards, and more. The site also links to online collections, museums, funding sources, journals, field stations, and universities. In addition, the CNAH provides a PDF Library, as well as brief descriptions of current research and new publications. Other site offerings include a Directory of Herpetologists, a Literature Database, job listings, information about upcoming meetings, and CNAH Discussion Forums. [NL]

USDA: West Nile Virus Bibliography, 1965-2004

From the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center, this online Bibliography features an extensive array of scientific literature relating to West Nile virus published between 1965 and 2004. The literature "deals with the virus, its effects on animals, how the mosquito harbors and maintains the virus, how the virus is maintained over the seasons and how disease spreads. The major topics include: techniques of viral isolation and purification, viral genetics and strain differentiation, mosquito vector biology and behavior, transmission factors, animal species susceptible to the disease, animals as disease sentinels, disease reservoirs, surveillance programs, vector control programs, etc." Site visitors may view the Bibliography in separate sections, or as one entire document. [NL]

USGS: Southwest Biological Science Center [pdf]

The Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) is "the newest of the 17 science centers that are part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Resources Discipline." Research at the SBSC "includes water use and the effects of livestock grazing, wild land fires, invasive species, environmental contaminants, declining populations of native species, and urban development on the Southwest region." The four main research stations that operate under the auspices of the SBSC include the Canyonlands Research Station, Colorado Plateau Research Station, Grand Canyon Monitoring & Research Station, and Sonoran Desert Research Station. In addition to links to the different research station sites, the SBSC site contains contact information for its many staff members, and a Products Database with nearly 1,500 references for technical reports, journal articles, book chapters, webpages, and more. A number of the documents are available in PDF. Note: Sections of the website are still under development, and SBSC should be offering more information about its research activities in the future. [NL]

Web Reef Advisory System [Java]

The Web Reef Advisory System (WRAS) was developed by ReefBase and Reef Check, in collaboration with the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island and the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, as "an online application to input, view, and analyse Reef Check survey data. It calculates indicators of how good or bad a shape a particular reef is in, and what the underlying causes may be, based on Reef Check surveys." WRAS allows users to view, analyze, and add (registration required) data. Please note that site users must complete a free and brief registration process before they are granted full access to the Reef Check website. Other site offerings include an interactive Reef Check GIS feature (see website for browser requirements), and The Reef Check Barometer of Global Reef Condition which provides assessments of different regions based on Reef Check Indicators. [NL]

Tetrahymena Genome Database: Tetrahymena Literature [pdf]

Tetrahymena Literature is one of the services offered by the Tetrahymena Genome Database (TGD), a joint project of The Institute of Genomic Research (TIGR), Stanford University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. TGD is currently "in the initial stage of development, but will be a web-accessible database for the genomic sequence information determined at TIGR, plus information on the genome, genes, and proteins of Tetrahymena collected from the scientific literature, research community and many other sources." The Tetrahymena Literature of the website allows visitors to search for "800 full-text Tetrahymena research articles, 3200 abstracts, and 5000 titles using keywords, categories (gene name, organism, etc.), or a combination of the two to retrieve sentences from the original text." The site also links to Tetrahymena Gene Nomenclature Guidelines, a list of Landmark Tetrahymena Papers, and an extensive list of pertinent full-text articles from PubMed Central. [NL]

Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy: Research

The Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) is "dedicated to the study of life through scientific inquiry involving interdisciplinary research in genome sciences and policy." The Research section of the IGSP website links to descriptions of several focus areas such as Breast Cancer Genomics, Public Genomics & Intellectual Property, and Environmental Genomics. The site also links to information about the seven IGSP Centers including the Center for Models of Human Disease; the Center for Genome Ethics, Law, & Policy; The Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; and more. Lists of recent research publications by primary author are available as well. In addition, site visitors will find information about a variety of IGSP resources including Sequence Data, Business & Funding Data, Research Software, and, in the near future, a Pharmacogenetics Database. [NL]

BioModels Database

Hosted by the European Bioinformatics Institute, the BioModels Database is a collaborative, "new effort to develop a data resource that will allow biologist to store, search and retrieve published mathematical models of biological interests. The models in the BioModels Database are annotated and linked to relevant data resources, such as publications, databases of compounds and pathways, controlled vocabularies, etc." The website allows visitors to browse and search the Database for models. The site also provides information about submitting models for the Database. It should be noted that submitted models must undergo tests conducted by BioModels Database curators before they are incorporated. [NL]

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute: Bibliography [EndNote, Java, pdf]

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) is located in Panama (first reported on in the March 26, 2004, Scout Report), and hosts hundreds of "visiting scientists from academic and research institutions in the United States and around the world every year." The STRI Bibliography "cites publications by the staff, visitors, fellows and students that result from research supported by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute." The Bibliography contains thousands of references to theses, books, and articles ranging from 1911-2004. Scientists who are interested in conducting research at STRI can link from the Bibliography to the Research Applications section for an application form and information about scientific permits, fees, visiting Panama, and underwater diving. [NL]


US Food and Drug Administration: Help For Students Writing A School Report

This FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition website offers students links to food-related aids for writing school reports. Students can access information about the 1906 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; foodborne pathogens; food safety careers; requesting records and information from the FDA; and more. The website's four main resource categories are Tips for Researching and Writing a School Report, Selected Topics For School Reports, Conducting Your Own Research, and Being A Good Consumer and Citizen. This site also links to the EPA Student Center and the Kids' Science Page at the National Agricultural Library. [NL]

The Molecular Level: Tools for Structural Biology Education and Training

This website from Professor Gale Rhodes of the Chemistry Department at the University of Southern Maine offers teachers and students a variety of useful tools and other resources related to structural biology. New biochemistry students will appreciate the site tutorials including Bioinformatics for Beginners, Tutorial for RasMol, and Tutorial for Deep View (Swiss-PdbViewer). Professors looking for tips on creating more dynamic classroom environments will want to peruse the User's Manual for Student-Led Discussion. Other site offerings include a Biochemistry Topics List; A Glossary of Terms from Crystallography, NMR, and Homology Modeling; and a section on Stereo Viewing. If for no other reason, you will want to stop by this website to read Professor Rhodes' Molecular Graphics Manifesto. [NL]

ThinkQuest Library: Inside Scoop on Farms

This website, housed in the archives of the ThinkQuest Library, offers primary school students an introduction to American Farms. The website was created by a team of four eleven-year olds and was the ThinkQuest 2003 Grand Prize (Lower Division) Winner. The site utilizes nice photographs, and concise text sections to discuss major US crops such as corn, wheat, cotton, nuts and flowers. The site also offers information sections about dairy, livestock, and poultry farms. In addition, students will find profiles of important farm machines, a glossary, and links to farm-related puzzles, games, mazes, and coloring pages. [NL]

The New York Times Daily Lesson Plan: Who Gives a Hoot?

This one-hour lesson plan authored by Priscilla Chan, of The New York Times Learning Network, and Bridget Anderson, of The Bank Street College of Education in New York City invites middle and high school students to "consider an unusually large wave of owl migration and its various impacts on the environment and food chain." The lesson is based on a brief March 8, 2005 article, describing a peculiar influx of great gray, hawk, and boreal owls into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The website includes a lesson description; academic content standards; and concise sections that address objectives, needed materials, extension and interdisciplinary activities, and evaluation. [NL]

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Refugee Health Care [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

These online course materials were generated from a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) course on Refugee Health Care. The materials were put online as part of the JHSPH OpenCourseWare program which provides "free, searchable access to JHSPH's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world." The Refugee Health Care course "addresses the provision of basic health requirements for refugees and the coordination of care among agencies concerned with them." Site visitors will find a selection of downloadable lecture notes on such topics as Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Investigation, Control of Communicable Diseases, Health and Human Rights Principles for Refugee Health, and more. The site also offers a downloadable Reading List, and case study materials. [NL]

Virtual Hospital: Student Survival Guidelines

Hosted by the University of Iowa's Virtual Hospital, this online health resource will benefit college students who have recently left the nest, and have questions about treating a variety of minor health issues. The site was developed by the Student Health Service at the University of Iowa and provides brief advice about dealing with such acute ailments as sore throats, sprains, colds, influenza, burns, insect stings, and more. The site also addresses potentially persistent issues like depression, eating disorders, stress, and sleeping problems. Sexual health is covered as well. This site is relatively light on information but it does cover a wide range of issues, and will be most useful to young people who are just beginning to manage their own health. [NL]

Illinois Natural History Survey: Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois [pdf]

From the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois is designed for use by students, naturalists, biologists, land managers, law enforcement officials, and others. One goal of the Guide "is to help the reader learn about all 102 species of amphibians and reptiles that live within the boundaries of Illinois. Basic information is presented on their biology and life history, as well as a brief discussion of the species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the state's Endangered Species Protection Act." This complete online version of the Field Guide connects visitors to species accounts with good photographs; distribution maps; and brief entries on Description, Habitat, Status, and more. The Guide also contains downloadable keys to reptiles and amphibians of Illinois, and a Glossary of Terms. [NL]

Ben S. Roesch's Shark Page

This continually evolving website about sharks was developed by Ben S. Roesch, a zoology master's student at the University of Guelph who is studying biochemistry and comparative physiology of elasmobranchs, the subclass of fishes that include sharks, rays, and skates. The website offers a collection interesting shark information and articles such as an overview of shark taxonomy, an article on the biology and behaviour of the Oceanic Whitetip, an article on the biology of the Shortfin Mako, and a fascinating report written by a diver who was attacked by a great white shark. Other site features include an image of an enormous nurse shark, an article about the Goblin shark, and an article by Mr. Roesch titled A Critical Evaluation of the Supposed Contemporary Existence of Carcharodon megalodon. This site also links to shark features on other websites such as the Florida Museum of Natural History's site on megamouth sharks. [NL]


Oregon State University: It's in the Blood!

This website from the Valley Library at Oregon State University is subtitled: A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia. The site is part of a series of Valley Library websites that focus on different aspects of chemist Linus Pauling's notable career. The site is composed of three main sections. The first section narrates "the story of Linus Pauling's research into the nature of human blood. The second, and most impressive, "provides access to more than three hundred primary source documents and images, including letter, manuscripts, diary entries, photographs, audio-visual materials, and published papers." The final section is yet to be completed, but will offer daily accounts of Pauling's activities between 1940 and 1949. The website also includes a hyperlinked Chronological List of Documents on the site, a sizeable bibliography, and links to a few websites concerned with sickle cell anemia and hemoglobin. [NL]

Nature North Zine

Nature North Zine is a folksy, online magazine focused on the natural history of Manitoba and surrounding regions of North America. Site visitors can access sections for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The seasonal sections contain a variety of brief articles (from different dates) that address such subjects as wood frogs, native plant gardening, violets, snow snakes, and amphibians of Manitoba. The site also contains some very nice nature photographs in the Dragonflies of Manitoba and Images of Manitoba sections. Be sure not to miss the beautiful image of the Bohemian waxwing with a bright, red berry in its beak. [NL]

The Lymphoma Information Network

The Lymphoma Information Network website strives to "put a bit of humanity and understanding to this disease, to gather lymphoma information and resources in one place, and to present information in an easy to understand and logical format." The award-winning site offers information sections on Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Fighting Lymphoma, and Surviving Lymphoma. The site also offers a special resource section for kids and teenagers, and information about childhood lymphoma. In addition, the site contains an extensive Glossary of Lymphoma Terms, The Lymphoma Blog, resources for independent research, book lists, and related links. [NL]

South African National Biodiversity Institute:

From the South African National Biodiversity Institute, presents information "about plants native to southern Africa and related topics." The website exhibits an extensive array of plant profiles representing a portion of the over 22,000 "different species of seed plants indigenous to southern Africa." The profiles are listed alphabetically by scientific name and contain images, descriptions, and references. The website also offers a section on Vegetation of Southern Africa with brief descriptions of biomes such as Grassland, Desert, Savanna, and Succulent Karoo, to name a few. The website links to downloadable files of Medicinal Plant Monographs as well. [NL]

WWF: Ecoregion Conservation Plan for the Alps [pdf]

As part of an effort to curtail the loss of global biodiversity, WWF recognized the Alps as one of more than 200 significant ecoregions in the world. Building on this recognition, the WWF European Alpine Programme recently published the Ecoregion Conservation Plan for the Alps. In addition to a description of the Alps ecoregion, the 62-page pdf document includes specific sections on The Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss, Threats, Ecoregion Conservation, Policy Framework, and Priority Conservation Areas. The document also provides an overview of the WWF European Alpine Programme, and a description of the WWF Ecoregion Action Plan. [NL]

A History of Fly Fishing

This website about the history of fly fishing is sure to delight many an aficionado. The site was developed by Dr. Andrew Herd, the Associate Editor of Waterlog Magazine and a member of the Flyfisher's Club in London. Derived from material in Dr. Herd's book, History of Fly Fishing, the website contains informative sections on The Origins of Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing in Medieval Times, The Gaudy Salmon Fly, and Fly Fishing in the Years 1800-1850, to name a few. The Special Features segment of the website offers sections on Hooks, Salt Water Fly Fishing, Refinishing Old Silk Lines, The Macedonian Fly, Coq de Leon, and more. The site also includes a bibliography, contact information for several antiquarian book dealers, and a 2001 paper (co-authored by Dr. Herd) titled Astrus, The First Fly Fishing River.[NL]

The Wilderness Act Handbook [pdf]

From the Wilderness Society, this 40th anniversary edition of The Wilderness Act Handbook was released in May of 2004. The Handbook "sets forth the relevant laws, regulations, and policies that govern the creation, expansion, and management of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act is printed out in its entirety, along with interpretation and excerpts from and analysis of subsequent legislation that has influenced the designation or management of wilderness." The 90-page pdf document contains sections on Designating New Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Management and Stewardship, National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness, National Forest Wilderness, Wilderness Myths, and more. The Handbook includes a Wilderness Reading List as well. A text-only version of the Handbook is also available for download. [NL]

Wildlife Protection Society of India

Since its inception in 1994, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WSPI) has been "providing support and information for authorities who are combating poaching and the escalating illegal wildlife trade-particularly in wild tigers. It has now broadened its focus to deal with human-animal conflicts and provide support for research projects." Site visitors can learn about the activities of different WPSI Programmes including the Tiger Protection Programme, Endangered Species Protection Programme, Research for Conservation Programme, Legal Programme, and more. The site also links to related news stories from 2003 to the present such as a recent Delhi Police press release regarding the seizure of 45 leopard skins in Delhi. The website offers brief information sections for those wishing to learn more about Indian tigers including Behavioural Characteristics, Threats, History, and Status. In addition, the site contains Tiger Poaching Statistics, a map of Tiger Reserves in India, and a collection of related links. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Animal Reproduction

Society for the Study of Reproduction
Society for Reproduction and Fertility
European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology
The Centre for Reproductive Biology in Uppsala
Population Council: Reproductive Biology and Immunology
Animal Reproduction
Eastern Kentucky University-Avian Reproduction: Anatomy & the Bird Egg

This Topic in Depth takes a look at organizations and educational websites concerned with reproduction in humans and other animals. The Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) "is an association of scientists and physicians interested in research in reproduction. Some members are engaged in basic or applied research, while others perform clinical practice." The SSR website (1) contains downloadable copies of the SSR Newsletter; position statements; and information about meetings, awards, and the organization. The Society for Reproduction and Fertility (SRF) "is open to scientists and students worldwide, who work on any aspect of reproductive biology or fertility in man and animals." The SRF website (2) contains sections regarding News, Events, Jobs, Honours, and Grants. SRF makes downloadable copies of its newsletter available as well. The primary aim of the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE) "is to promote interest in, and understanding of, reproductive biology and medicine. It does this through facilitating research and subsequent dissemination of research findings in human reproduction and embryology to the general public, scientists, clinicians and patient associations; it also works to inform politicians and policy makers throughout Europe." The ESHRE site (3) contains information about activities, membership, publications, special interest groups, and jobs. The primary function of the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Uppsala (CRU) "is to increase the knowledge about reproduction in animals and humans by applying a more comprehensive view on reproductive biology." CRU is composed of scientists from both Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. The CRU site (4) contains information about a number of publications, and contact information for CRU members. The Population Council is a nonprofit "organization that conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research." The "Council's reproductive biology and immunology program undertakes fundamental research in the reproductive sciences and immunological processes related to sexually transmitted infections, particularly HIV." This website (5) provides information about different aspects of the research program including Germ Cell Dynamics, Sperm Maturation, and Physiology of Sertoli Cells. From Dr. Michael Gregory of Clinton Community College, the next site (6) is a concise overview of animal reproduction which addresses important aspects of sexual reproduction, and male and female reproductive systems. The final site (7) contains lecture notes regarding avian reproduction from Dr. Gary Ritchison's Ornithology course at Eastern Kentucky University. The lecture notes are interspersed with some especially nice images and diagrams. [NL]

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