The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 10

May 13, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


University of Wisconsin: Fish Identification Database

The Fish Identification Database is an excellent resource for researchers and others studying fish in the many lakes, ponds, and watercourses of Wisconsin. The Database was developed collaboratively by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the University of Wisconsin's Center for Limnology and Sea Grant Institute. Although the Database is based on Wisconsin fish populations, researchers in other states with similar fish populations will certainly find this resource useful as well. For each fish, the Database contains multiple images clearly exhibiting different body parts and views such as the flank, tail, head, top view, and head-on view. Fish are listed by Common Name, Scientific Name, and Family. The Database also contains search categories for Snout Shape, Spines, Tail Shape, Distinctive Features, and more. A glossary is included as well. [NL]

Drosophila DNase I Footprint Database (v2.0)

This webpage "provides access to results of the systematic curation and genome annotation of 1,365 DNase I footprints for the fruitfly D. melanogaster reported in Bergman, Carlson and Celniker (2005) _Bioinformatics 21: 1747-1749. These data have been extracted from 201 primary references and provide a non-redundant set of high quality binding site information for 87 transcription factors and 101 target genes in one of the most important model systems. Unlike previous work, this dataset has been generated from a single experimental data type, represents all available developmental stages (including anterior-posterior, mesoderm and imaginal disk pattering), and is linked explicitly to finished genome sequence coordinates." Site users can browse the Database (v2.0) by Target or by Factor with links to PubMed, the UCSC Genome Browser, and FlyBase. The webpage also offers download options, and links to PubMed summaries of the primary references. [NL]

National Academies Press: Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials [pdf]

Housed in the archives of the National Academies Press, this 2003 Board of Life Sciences report "explores the responsibilities of authors to share data, software, and materials related to their publications. In addition to describing the principles that support community standards for sharing different kinds of data and materials, the report makes recommendations for ways to facilitate sharing in the future." The six-chapter report, entitled Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Life Sciences, contains such chapter headings as The Purpose of Publication and Responsibilities for Sharing; Different Interpretations of Existing Standards; and Encouraging Compliance with and Continuing the Development of Standards. An Executive Summary is also included. [NL]

The American Arachnological Society [pdf]

The American Arachnological Society (AAS) was established in "1972 to promote the study of arachnids, to achieve closer cooperation and understanding between amateur and professional arachnologists, and to publish the Journal of Arachnology" The AAS website contains information about research grants, upcoming Annual Meetings, membership, and more. AAS also makes available abstracts and downloadable articles from older, archived issues of the Journal of Arachnology, as well as numerous abstracts from previous AAS Annual Meetings. In addition, the site offers several directories of "arachnologists who are willing to sponsor students who wish to obtain an advanced degree involving research on some aspect of the biology of arachnids." The website contains a Bulletin Board as well. [NL]

African Elephant Bibliography

This comprehensive African Elephant Bibliography contains approximately 4,500 annotated references regarding the management, ecology, and biology of the African elephant. The Bibliography--supported by Chebucto Community Net, Save the Elephants, and the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group--is intended for use by researchers, resource managers, and field staff. Library sources for the Bibliography are located at such institutions as the National Museums of Kenya, Oxford University, Royal Museum of Central Africa, and the University of California-Davis, to name a few. In addition to fields for Author, Year, and Keyword, the search engine offers a separate Keyword option with an extensive drop-down menu including titles relating to Aggressive Behaviour, Carcass Decomposition, Fertility, Civil War, Vegetation Change, and many more. [NL]

The Genographic Project [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player]

The Genographic Project is a collaborative effort by the National Geographic Society, IBM, and others to "assemble the world's largest collection of DNA samples to map how humankind populated the planet." The five-year study is being conducted at ten research centers around the world; and "will result in the creation of a global database of human genetic variation and associated anthropological data (language, social customs, etc.)." The Genographic Project website contains background information about the project as well as information about participating in the study. The site also offers an educational Genetics Overview section, and an Interactive Atlas of the Human Journey. [NL]

Medical Research Council of South Africa

The mission of the Medical Research Council of South Africa (MRC) is "To improve the nation's health status and quality of life through relevant and excellent health research aimed at promoting equity and development." The MRC website contains information about nearly 50 research units, groups, centers, and programs operating under the auspices of six MRC National Programmes: Environment & Development, Health Systems & Policy, Non-Communicable Diseases, Infection & Immunity, Women & Child Health, and Molecules to Disease. As evidenced by the National Programmes, the MRC conducts research on a wide variety of health issues including alcohol and drug abuse, Telemedicine, HIV prevention, indigenous knowledge systems, mineral metabolism, and more. This website also contains a number of downloadable publications, as well as information about international funding opportunities, medical research ethics, MRC job opportunities, and conferences. [NL]

National Library of Medicine: Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System

The Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS) is part of the National Library of Medicine's Toxicology Data Network (first reported on in the May 23, 2001 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). The CCRIS "is a scientifically evaluated and fully referenced data bank, developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It contains over 8,000 chemical records with carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, tumor promotion, and tumor inhibition test results." In addition to a keyword(s) search engine, the site provides an index browsing option as well. An informative Help page is also provided. CCRIS links to other databases in the Toxicology Data Network, and offers a Multi-Databases option allowing users to search CCRIS and several other databases simultaneously. [NL]


Gateway Community College: Muscles Tutorial [Java]

This interactive tutorial on the human muscular system was developed as part of a series of Anatomy & Physiology Tutorials (reported on in the January 21, 2005 NSDL Scout Report for Life Science) by Dr. James Crimando of GateWay Community College. The online tutorial utilizes great graphics to illustrate such muscular regions as the face, anterior forearm, posterior shoulder, and leg. The tutorial will help students locate numerous superficial muscles including the Palmaris longus, Sartorius, Iliopsoas, Trapezius, Deltoid, and many more. The tutorial allows students to test their anatomical knowledge with several quizzes on different muscle regions as well. [NL]

Science Friday Kids' Connection-An Octopus's Garden: Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents RealPlayer, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

From Science Friday Kid's Connection, this website is about deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and the fascinating animals that depend on them. The site is designed for use by middle school teachers; and is based on a radio program from NPR Talk of the Nation: Science Friday. The archived March 2005 radio program is available via an NPR link, and features guests in the fields of oceanography, biology, and marine biology. This website 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]

Access Excellence: Learning in Cockroaches

Housed in the archives of the Access Excellence Fellows' Collection, this website contains a lab lesson plan about cockroaches by veteran high school biology teacher Mary Colvard. The lesson is geared towards high and middle school students, and asks students to look for signs of learning in cockroaches. An additional "purpose is to provide students with the opportunity to carefully observe and work with an insect they normally find offensive. Thus students will develop a keener appreciation of the complexities of experimental design and of animal life." The lesson plan includes background information about cockroaches, procedural instructions, teaching tips, a couple extension ideas, and several references. [NL]

San Diego Natural History Museum: Reptiles and Amphibians

From the San Diego Natural History Museum, this Reptiles and Amphibians Field Guide section provides students and others with information about a variety of interesting animals. In the Illustrated Guides, visitors will find profiles of different types of Frogs and Toads, Salamanders, Lizards, and Snakes such as the Arroyo Toad, Garden Slender Salamander, Long-nosed Leopard Lizard, and Black-tailed Rattlesnake, just to name a few. Profiles contain photographs and brief information sections on Description, Range and Habitat, Breeding, Behavior, and more. The site also offers budding herpetologists a Glossary of Reptile Terms, a list of Recommended Books, a FAQ section, and a few tips on finding snakes. For those residing in southern California, the site contains checklists of Amphibians and Reptiles of San Diego County and Baja California. [NL]

Medline Plus: Epstein-Barr Virus Tutorial [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The common Epstein-Barr virus is an antecedent to infectious mononucleosis (aka mono). Published by the Patient Education Institute, this tutorial about Epstein-Barr virus is presented by Medline Plus of the National Library of Medicine. The 36-slide tutorial utilizes simple illustrations, audio-narration, and concise text passages to educate patients and others about the virus. The tutorial provides a description of the virus, and covers symptoms and treatment as well. The user-friendly tutorial also includes navigation instructions. Please note that this tutorial requires Macromedia Flash Player, and that users can link from the site to a free Player download if needed. [NL]

NOVA Online: Flying Casanovas [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer]

This is the companion website of an older Nova program on bowerbirds (narrated by Sir David Attenborough) that is scheduled to be rebroadcast on May 31, 2005. Flying Casanovas is the title of the program (and website) owing to the flamboyant courting behavior of male bowerbirds. The accompanying Teacher's Guide contains a Classroom Activity with corresponding National Science Education Standards for grades five through eight, and grades nine through twelve. The site features a simple, interactive matching game with nice photographs introducing students to five different types of bowerbirds, and to the courting structures that males build to attract females. Other site offerings include a transcribed interview with bowerbird researcher Dr. Gerald Borgia, a section about animal courtship and sexual selection, and a short list of related links and books. [NL]

Entomological Society of America: Education & Careers [pdf]

Do you enjoy studying insects? From the Entomological Society of America, this website provides "information about obtaining an education and career in entomology." The site features a lengthy hyperlinked list of entomology programs at colleges and universities across the United States. The site also links to information about a number of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students from The Entomological Foundation, and the Entomological Society of America. In addition, the site provides transcribed interviews with a medical entomologist, conservation entomologist, military entomologist, and plant protection entomologist. A downloadable, introductory brochure about entomology is available as well. [NL]

North Carolina State University: Adventures of the Agronauts [pdf]

From the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training at North Carolina State University, this website is designed to introduce third grade (and other elementary grade level) students to plant biology in space. The site features six missions in which students become agronauts and "determine how to grow plants on the Moon." Through participation in the missions, students learn about celestial relationships between the Moon, Earth, and Sun, as well as important relationships between soil, light, heat, and plants. The website includes a Teacher Resources section with suggested activities, classroom preparation ideas, a list of State & National Standards, downloadable worksheets, Agronaut Log assignments, and more. A sizeable list of related Web Resources, a page about related careers, and a Glossary are also included. [NL]


Catalogue of Life: 2005 Annual Checklist

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and Species 2000 "are involving taxonomists throughout the world in the Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life (CoL) programme, collating a uniform and validated index to the world's known species, for use as a practical tool in inventorying and monitoring biodiversity worldwide." This CoL website contains the 2005 Annual Checklist of world species. CoL species records include entries on Accepted Scientific Name, Latest Taxonomic Scrutiny, Family Name, Source Database, and more. Checklist search options include All Names, Scientific Names, Common Names, and Distribution. Site visitors can also browse by Classification or Taxonomic Tree. [NL]

Cornell University Library: The Hive and the Honeybee

This online collection of rare books from the Phillips Beekeeping Collection at Cornell University's Albert R. Mann Library is sure to delight apiarists and others with an interest in the history of beekeeping. For those unfamiliar with the Phillips Beekeeping Collection, it "is one of the largest and most complete apiculture libraries in the world." This Hive and the Honeybee website presently "consists of the full text of ten rare books from the Phillips Collection, and each book is fully searchable." Distinctive period titles include Mysteries of bee-keeping explained: being a complete analysis of the whole subject: consisting of the natural history of bees, directions for obtaining the greatest amount of pure surplus honey with the least possible expense, remedies for losses given, and the science of "luck" fully illustrated-the result of more than twenty years' experience in extensive apiaries (published in 1853); A description of the bar-and-frame hive (published in 1844); and New observations on the natural history of bees (published in 1806). [NL]

Medline Plus: Videos of Surgical Procedures [RealPlayer]

From Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this webpage "provides links to pre-recorded webcasts of surgical procedures. These are actual operations performed at medical centers in the United States since January 2004." Surgical Procedure video categories include Digestive System; Bones, Joints, and Muscles; Cancers; Heart and Circulation; Brain and Nervous System; and more. The webpage also links to videos concerning Child and Teen Health, Men's Health, and Women's Health. RealPlayer is required for viewing videos, and the site provides a link to a free download. [NL]

Harvard@Home: Changing Habitats...Vanishing Species [RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player]

Hosted by Harvard@Home, this website presents video clips from a symposium presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History in November 2004. The symposium was "a scientific discussion, meant to engage a lay audience, of how environments are changing and why species are being lost. Presentations discuss the root causes, including climate and land use change, and their impact on species' habitats." The video clips include a presentation by Professor E.O. Wilson on Habitat Loss and Species Extinctions; a presentation on Ecological Extinction in the Sea by Professor Jeremy Jackson; and a presentation by Professor Paul Moorcroft on The Effects of Population Change. The site also includes brief bios of the presenters, and links to related Harvard@Home programs. [NL]

The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing: Altweb

From The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Altweb is intended for use by biomedical researchers, animal welfare community members, students, veterinarians, and others "as a gateway to alternatives news, information, and resources on the Internet and beyond." Resources on Altweb include an international Directory of Funding Sources for Scientific Pursuit of Alternatives in Animal Research, Testing, and Education; a Calendar of Upcoming Meetings; and links to related Databases, Publications, Statistics, and News Headlines. Links are also provided to websites of Altweb Project Team members including the Canadian Council on Animal Care; the European Resource Centre for Alternatives in Higher Education; the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research; the University of California Center for Animal Alternatives; and more. A link is provided to the World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences as well. [NL]

Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse [pdf]

The Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse (SWEPIC) is a collaborative project of the USGS, the National Park Service, and Northern Arizona University "to provide reliable and organized information on the distribution and ecology of these weeds in the southwest, with an emphasis on forests, rangelands, and other natural areas." SWEPIC is designed to aid "people and organizations committed to protecting the ecological and economic values of southwest resources from degradation from harmful non-native weeds." Information about many weed species can be accessed through alphabetized lists organized by scientific and common name. Site visitors will also find noxious weed lists for Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Other site services include the Alien Plants Ranking System (with software and database download options), and the Southwest Exotic Mapping Program (also with a database download option). [NL]

University of Edinburgh: Butterfly Identification Page

This Butterfly Identification website is part of the University of Edinburgh's Natural History Collections site. The website covers extinct and extant butterflies "from the UK and Eire, including rare immigrants and seasonal visitors." Notably, the butterflies are categorized by both family and the region in which they are found. The site exhibits images of beautiful butterflies from eight different families including Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Hesperidae, and more. For regional searches, the site provides a map with eleven hyperlinked regions such as Northern Scotland, Southern England, Northern Ireland and the North of Eire, Eastern England, and Wales. [NL]

Predator Conservation Alliance [pdf]

The Predator Conservation Alliance (PCA) "is dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring native predators and their habitats in the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains." The PCA works as an advocate for fourteen species including the burrowing owl, mountain lion, lynx, fisher, and black bear, to name a few. The PCA website contains information about different predators, research activities, mapping projects, staff members, and more. A number of PCA publications are available for download including the Spring 2005 newsletter, and a copy of the 2004 Annual Report. Younger visitors will enjoy taking the Wildlife ID Quiz. The site also contains ordering information for free copies of Keeping the Wild in the West, a 16-minute video about carnivores and conservation in the American West. [NL]

Topic In Depth

Spring Wildflowers

Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History: Spring Flowering Records
Missouri Department of Conservation: Common Spring Wildflowers of Woods and Prairies
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Ohio's Spring Wildflowers
Butler University-Friesner Herbarium: Spring Wildflowers
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Spring Wildflower Walk
Ozark Mountains Website: 15 Easy-To-Find Early Spring Wildflowers
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Wildflower Sightings
The Theodore Payne Foundation: 23rd Annual California Wildflower Report

After persevering through the long, cold months of winter, spring wildflowers delight our senses, and serve as welcome harbingers of the warmer days to come. The following websites share images of, and information about, spring wildflowers found in different regions of the United States. The first (1) website, from the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, offers information about spring wildflowers in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. The site includes a 100 Spring Wildflowers section with photographs of selected herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees listed by average first blooming dates; a Spring Flowering Database; and information about a study examining earlier flowering trends and global warming. The second (2) site, from the Missouri Department of Conservation, offers illustrations of common spring wildflowers found in prairies and woodlands. From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the third (3) site contains images of 60 spring wildflowers such as Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Ill-scented Trillium (Trillium erectum), and Fire-pink (Silene virginica). The next (4) webpage, archived at Butler University's Friesner Herbarium website, features nice, annotated photographs of a variety of spring wildflowers found on the campus of Butler University in Indiana. Photographed wildflowers include Toadshade (Trillium sessile), Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum), Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica), and more. From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Education for Kids! electronic journal, the next (5) site introduces fourth- through eighth-graders to a number of common spring wildflowers such as Skunk Cabbage, Pasqueflower, Wood Anemone, and Dutchman's Breeches. The Ozark Mountains Website (6) offers an eye-pleasing photo exhibit of 15 Easy-To-Find Early Spring Wildflowers accompanied by brief descriptions. For residents of Texas, the seventh (7) site is an online bulletin board, hosted by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, allowing visitors to post and view information about wildflower sightings around the state. The final (8) site, from the Theodore Payne Foundation, features the 23rd Annual California Wildflower Report with brief entries about wildflowers in the Greater Los Angeles Area, San Diego County, Deserts, Points North, and Northern California. To reach the Report, simply select Wildflower Hotline from the menu on the left side of the homepage. [NL]

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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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