The NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 13

June 24, 2005

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

A Note to our Readers




Topic In Depth

A Note to our Readers

Internet Scout Project Says Goodbye to NSDL Scout Reports

Dear Reader,

With this edition, the Internet Scout Project ends the NSDL Report for Life Sciences after four years of publication. We are very excited about our newest NSF National Science Digital Library-funded effort, the Applied Mathematics and Science Education Repository (AMSER), a new four-year project that will link community and technical colleges to online applied math and science resources via a Web portal and complementary services. Our goal is to make AMSER-- -- the same kind of high-quality source of information about online resources that the NSDL Scout Reports have been.

As part of our effort to make AMSER useful and usable we have created an online survey -- -- to help us better understand how faculty and staff at community and technical colleges are currently using digital materials. We would encourage readers from these environments, as well as those from the rest of the education and library communities, to complete the survey. Your valuable feedback will help inform the work of AMSER and NSDL as a whole. If you have questions about AMSER or an interest in using AMSER in your classroom, please e-mail, or watch for information about the project on the Scout website at -- where you can also find information about subscribing to our flagship publication, The Scout Report.

Chris Long
Managing Editor


Duke University: The Clark Lab [pdf]

Based at Duke University, the Clark Lab "conducts research in plant community ecology, paleoclimate and fire ecology." The lab website contains brief descriptions of various research projects on Forest Dynamics and Environmental Change, Dispersal and Tree Population Migration, Molecular Biogeography, and New Computational Approaches for Forest Dynamics, to name a few. Notably, the site contains a nice selection of downloadable articles that have appeared in such publications as Ecology,Forest Ecology and Management,Ecological Monographs,Nature, and Canadian Journal of Forest Research. The site also offers brief information about several lab members including email addresses. [NL]

Paleontological Research Institution

The mission of the Ithaca, N.Y.-based Paleontological Research Institution (first mentioned in the January 10, 2003 NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences) is "to increase and disseminate knowledge about the history and evolution of the Earth and its life." The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) website offers brief information about the work of several different researchers including mastodon-related research, and studies looking at turritelline gastropods, and hard-to-identify fossils. Site visitors who are just learning about paleontology will find that the information is presented in an accessible manner. The site also provides information about the rich PRI collections, and descriptions of a variety of related publications for amateurs and professionals. In addition, the site contains detailed Instructions for Authors wishing to submit manuscripts to Bulletins of American Paleontology or Palaeontographica Americana.[NL]

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute: The Cancer Genome Project

Supported by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Cancer Genome Project (CGP) "is using the human genome sequence and high throughput mutation detection techniques to identify somatically acquired sequence variants/mutations and hence identify genes critical in the development of human cancers. This initiative will ultimately provide the paradigm for the detection of germline mutations in non-neoplastic human genetic diseases through genome-wide mutation detection approaches." The CGP website links to a number of Data Resources including the Cancer Gene Census, Cancer Cell Line Project, Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (reported on in the March 4, 2005 NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences), Somatic Mutations in Protein Kinase Genes, and more. The site also contains an extensive listing of publications from 1998 to 2004 with links to PubMed Abstracts. [NL]

Bibliography of Lake Malawi Biology

This extensive, online Bibliography of Lake Malawi Biology is part of a larger scientific website titled The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa (reported on in the March 4, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) which is maintained by Michael K. Oliver. The regularly updated Bibliography has an emphasis on "the taxonomy of the lake's fishes and their ecology, evolution, and genetics, but also includes literature on all other organisms." The Bibliography "provides links to hundreds of literature abstracts and dozens of full text downloads." The well-organized Bibliography contains an alphabetized list of references with hyperlinks to different alphabetic sections. Preceding the alphabetical list is a selection of highlighted publications from a range of years, as well as annual lists of research publications from 2001 to 2005. Oliver has certainly compiled a very useful resource for ichthyologists and other biologists interested in the African Great Rift Lakes. [NL]

University and Jepson Herbaria

The University of California Berkeley's "University Herbarium (UC) and Jepson Herbarium (JEPS) represent the largest collection of herbarium material west of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the largest at a public university in the United States." Visitors can discover the scientific uses of the many specimens held in the UC, which was established in 1895. The website describes the JEPS's research on systematics and floristics of vascular plants. Researchers and students can find concise overviews, articles, and publications about the Californian - Iranian Botanical Program, angiosperm and bryology studies, and additional botanical studies. [RME]

Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology [gif]

The Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology, a peer-reviewed online journal and database provided by Infobiogen, is "devoted to genes, cytogenetics, and clinical entities in cancer, and cancer-prone diseases." Users can search the materials by genes, leukaemias, solid tumors, cancer prone diseases, and chromosomes. Researchers can find links to scientific societies and meetings. Students can explore educational materials on Mendelian and non-Mendelian Inheritance, chromosomes, population genetics, and additional human genetics topics. The website also offers reviews and case reports. [RME]

University of Toronto Libraries: Anatomia

Developed by the University of Toronto Libraries, the Anatomia website offers a collection of about 4,500 plates and images of human anatomy from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library ranging in date from 1522 to 1867. Visitors can search the plates by entire plate description, artist, subject words, and/or plate title or can browse the plates by artist, title, or subject. By selecting the Anatomia highlights link, users can view images of importance due to their contributions to the advancement of knowledge, educational value, or artistic value. Students can discover the three processes of creating illustrations during the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries: relief, intaglio, and planographic. The website supplies a concise history of the study of anatomy. [RME]

AIDSinfo: Clinical Trials

The US Department of Health and Human Services offers information on the clinical trials studying HIV and AIDS at this website. Visitors can search the clinical trials by category or keywords. For each study, users can discover the purpose, conditions, eligibility, publications, and additional information. Students and educators can find an overview of the components of an AIDS clinical trial. The website supplies the latest clinical trials news and links to related websites. Frequent visitors can quickly browse the trials that have been listed at the website in the last 30 days. [RME]


American Field Guide--Ocean Habitats: The Intertidal Zone [pdf, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player]

From PBS-American Field Guide, this website offers seventh- through ninth-grade teachers a downloadable unit comprised of four activities exploring the ocean's intertidal zone. The unit encourages students to consider the lives of marine organisms in this dynamic oceanic zone. The brief activities include links to video segments about several different tide pools, and a beach habitat as well. The longest activity requires 45 minutes, while the rest can be done in 30 minutes or less. The concise activity descriptions include sections regarding Materials, Objectives, and Teaching Instructions. The site also includes corresponding National Content Standards. [NL]

Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry [Macromedia Flash Player, Chime]

Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry is a nicely designed companion website to Dr. Rodney Boyer's Concepts in Biochemistry, second edition. Developed collaboratively by Science Technologies and others, this multimedia site is archived on the Wiley Publishers website. Site visitors will enjoy exploring the engaging and instructive collection of Interactive Animations. The collection includes Animations about DNA Replication, Signal Transduction, Photosynthesis, Cell Structure, Protein Synthesis, and more. The site also features a number of tutorials regarding Kinesin, Myoglobin & Hemoglobin, tRNA, and Protein-DNA Interactions, to name a few. In addition, the website offers reviews of such concepts as Logarithms, Thermodynamics, and Elementary Kinetics; quizzes that correspond to chapters in Boyer's book; and a collection of articles that consider the role of biochemistry in addressing issues like Lactose Intolerance, Alcohol Abuse, and using Methanol as Fuel. [NL]

Animal Skull Collection

This intriguing and impressive website of animal skull images and information was developed by DeLoy Roberts, a high school biology and zoology teacher in Idaho. The site is quite extensive with separate skull galleries for mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, and fish. Site visitors will find clear skull images of such animals as a badger, wolf, boa constrictor, golden eagle, salmon, great gray owl, and many more. The site also includes lists of Animal Skull Sizes (organized alphabetically by animal as well as by size) for mammal and bird skulls in the collection. For school groups that can make the trip, the actual skull collection is maintained by Mr. Roberts at his high school in Idaho Falls, Idaho. [NL]

Evergreen Native Plant Database: Lesson Plans [pdf]

The Evergreen Native Plant Database was developed as an educational project providing school groups, home gardeners, and other residents of Canada with information about native Canadian wildflower, aquatic, grass, vine, shrub, and tree species. In addition to this abundance of native plant species information, the website offers an extensive collection of K-12 lesson plans for educators to use in outdoor settings. The concise lesson plans are available in HTML for viewing online or in pdf for downloading. Examples of lesson titles include Bug Study, Sound Portraits, Study of a Rotting Log, Conducting an Ecological Inquiry Investigation, and many more. Although this website was developed for Canadian residents, many of the lesson plans are applicable for use by teachers in other regions as well. The Plant Database website also offers a wealth of additional information to residents of Canada, and anyone with an interest in Canadian vegetation. [NL]

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Bird Site

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has compiled some general information about bird evolution and diversity, anatomy and physiology, adaptations and behavior, flight mechanics, and conservation. Educators will find suggested classroom activities, which have been developed to assist educators in preparing students for a visit to the Ralph W. Schreiber Hall of Birds at the museum, but can also be adapted for use in any K-12 classroom or at home. A short description is provided for each of the activities, which are "designed to help young people develop an appreciation, respect and understanding of the diversity and nature of birds." A vocabulary section reviews some key terms used for learning about birds. [VF]

Annotated List of Online Continuing Medical Education [Microsoft PowerPoint]

Bernard M. Sklar, M.D., M.S., a psychiatrist in Oakland, Calif., provides this Annotated List of Online Continuing Medical Education (CME). Online CME allows physicians to earn CME credits over the Internet. The instruction might involve reading an online journal article, listening to or viewing a lecture, playing a game, answering quiz questions, enrolling in correspondence courses, or having an opportunity to make choices according to the clinical presentation using a case-based interactive format. This website provides a description and link to each website, with a total of over 14,500 courses offered through more than 275 online CME sites. The listing can be browsed alphabetically by the first letter of the site name, or by dominant medical specialty or medical topic. Although most of the courses are fee-based, a number of the courses are available free of charge. The bottom of the website provides information on how the websites were selected, as well as a link to Sklar's master's thesis, "The Current Status of Online Continuing Medical Education," and PowerPoint presentations that provide an introduction to Online Continuing Medical Education and updates its current status. [VF]

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Problem Solving for Immunization Programs [pdf]

Through this OpenCourseWare program website, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) offers a "snapshot" of its course offerings. The course entitled "Problem Solving for Immunization Programs" addresses immunization basics and provides an overview to the public health, sociological, and economic literature in relation to the topic. Covering a wide range of developed and developing countries, the course covers vaccine-delivery strategies, program management and supervision, epidemiological surveillance, community participation, and disease eradication. One primary activity for the students who enrolled in this class involved analyzing actual vaccination data using the US Center for Disease Control's CASA software program. The materials available here include the syllabus, lecture notes, assignments, and links to related websites, such as information on the CASA software program. Due to copyright restrictions, the schools is not able to provide the readings online, but has posted a bibliography to help users locate the materials. (Note: The materials are not applicable for credit towards any degrees or certificates through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.) [VF]

The New York Times Daily Lesson Plan: No Place Like Home?

The New York Times Daily Lesson Plan website regularly features lesson plans for grades for six through twelve on a variety of topics. In this lesson plan, entitled "No Place Like Home: Arguing for the Protection of Endangered Species," students research and present analysis on the impact of the physical environment on an endangered species. Based on their investigations, they also create "a plan for the ideal care of the species" and develop an advertisement that is intended to promote awareness about species protection. The authors list the materials needed, describe the activity and identify the science standards for grades six through eight and grades nine through twelve met by this lesson. Interdisciplinary connections and related resources available online are also presented. [VF]


The Flying Kiwi: Life on Earth [jpeg]

The Flying Kiwi website was created by Richard Seaman, a software engineer and talented amateur photographer with a penchant for traveling. Seaman's Life on Earth section shares great photos of reptiles, fungi, insects, birds, and marine life taken in countries around the world. For example, the Reptiles section links to images of iguanas in Belize and Guatemala; the Insects section contains photographs of butterflies in Costa Rica and Vietnam; and the Life Underwater section offers beautiful images of butterflyfish in the Red Sea. Select the thumbnail images to view larger versions of the photographs, and click on various text-embedded location and animal hyperlinks (e.g. New Zealand, Japanese Tiger Beetle) to connect to additional images. Although the Life on Earth section is not terribly extensive, it does feature some fine images of a variety of animals living on our planet. The site also offers a helpful selection of annotated links. Be sure to check out the Lizards of the Valley of Fire, and the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Fiji sections on this website! [NL]

The Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus Foundation

The Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI) "Foundation was formed to support education, research, treatment and cure for Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus." One notable NDI Foundation website service is a sizable glossary of medical terminology with definitions for such terms as apoenzyme, basal nuclei, neuroglia, valine, and many more. The website also contains numerous abstracts of related journal articles. The article references and abstracts can be located by browsing extensive lists organized by Date, Author, and Journal. In addition to abstracts, some of the article references also link to less technical Lay Translations. The Foundation has requested permission from publishers to display full-text articles, and some of these versions are currently available as well. The referenced articles span more than a decade, and have appeared in such journals as Endocrinology,American Journal of Physiology,Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Nature, to name a few. An additional website service is the Researcher Directory which lists related researchers alphabetically, as well as by Institution, and Country. [NL]

Siberian Spiders

This website on spiders of Siberia was developed by Russian entomologist Oleg Berlv. The site contains species lists for more than 20 families including Oxyopidae, Gnaphosidae, Lycosidae, and Salticidae, to name a few. In addition, the site features a number of excellent, close-up photographs of several spider species such as Araneus nordmanni, Argyroneta aquatica, Steatoda grossa, and Aculepeira ceropegia. This website also references and links to The World Spider Catalog located on the American Museum of Natural History website. [NL]

USDA Forest Service-St. Paul Field Office: How to Publications [pdf]

From the USDA Forest Service's St. Paul Field Office, this website offers a collection of instructive, online publications (first mentioned in the January 21, 2005 NSDL Scout Report for Life Sciences) that "are written for homeowners, land managers and others who want to know more about how to care for trees." The publications provide information about dealing with a number of diseases and other threats to a variety of tree types including Jack Pine, Oak, White Pine, Aspen, Basswood, Sugar Maple, and more. Examples of the more than 30 publication titles include How to Identify and Control Leaf Spot Diseases of Black Walnut; How to Identify and Manage Dutch Elm Disease; How to Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt; How to Control Sapstreak Disease of Sugar Maple; and more. Several of the publications are available in pdf as well. [NL]

Garden Writers Association (GWA)

The Manassas, Va.-based Garden Writers Association (GWA) claims a membership of more than 1,800 professional communicators in the lawn and garden industry. Its website, in addition to providing information about the organization and the benefits of membership, including the association's annual symposium scheduled September 9-12, 2005, in Vancouver, also includes several features that will be of interest to the broader community of gardeners. Visitors may peruse an extensive listing of books authored by GWA members and can also download a sample edition of the organization's newsletter, Quill & Trowel. The Speakers Bureau may help meeting planners, club leaders and others find a speaker to meet their program and budget needs. The site also introduces the organization's Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) project, describing it as an effort "to create and sustain a grassroots program whereby garden writers utilize their media position with local newspapers, magazines and radio/TV programs to encourage their readers/listeners to donate their surplus garden produce to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America's hungry." Visitors can download the PAR cookbook in pdf format for free to see various member-submitted ideas for preparing fresh vegetables for the table. [CL]

Environment Health News

Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit organization founded by the grassroots Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) in 2002 to help increase public understanding of emerging scientific links between environmental exposure and human health, tracks a broad range of relevant information on this well-designed and useful website. The In the News section of the homepage lists breaking news stories from the world press about environmental health and is updated daily. The New Science area offers paragraph summaries of newly published scientific findings from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, with links to more in-depth synopses at one of other organization's other websites, (scientific findings specifically about endocrine disruption) or (scientific findings about a broader range of human health and environment related research). The New Reports section provides links to new reports published on the Web by organizations working on environmental health issues. Most of the links are to work by nonprofit profit organizations; some links are to government reports. As of this writing, the site's searchable Archives contained 55,722 items dating to 2002. Users may also subscribe to a free daily electronic newsletter, Above the Fold, containing links to top news stories published in English news sources from around the world. All site content is available for syndication in both RSS and Javascript formats. [CL]

Natural History Museum: British Natural History [Windows Media Player, Quicktime]

Although some might fear that limited land resources and the usual development pressures are working to reduce Britain's natural history to footnote status, this website from the Natural History Museum in London effectively documents the UK's impressive biological and geological diversity. The site consists of interactive database features as well as videos (in both Windows Media and Quicktime formats). Exploring Biodiversity, an interactive introduction for students to UK biodiversity, allows users to compare the flora of different UK postal districts and also to download a version of WORLDMAP, the Museum's innovative distribution analysis software. The Earth Lab Datasite is a searchable database of fossils, rocks and minerals organized in part by geographic distribution. The Postcode Plants Database allows users to generate local lists of UK plants and/or animals. The British Natural History video, produced by the Museum's Darwin Centre, presents an online tour of the UK's wildlife scene, while Ornithology of the Orkney Islands looks at the work of bird researcher on these Scottish isles and also includes a discussion of migration studies with Museum ornithologist Douglas Russell. The site is best viewed with Netscape Communicator versions 4.5 to 4.8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5 and later. [CL]

The Lepidopterists' Society [pdf]

Founded in 1947, the Lepidopterists' Society "embraces a wide range of interests and viewpoints concerning the study and appreciation of moths and butterflies" and includes both academic experts and dedicated amateurs in the ranks of a membership that spans 60 countries. In addition to information about the Society and membership therein, the website includes several features of interest. From the Publications section, Visitors may download in pdf format free of charge recent issues of the Society's newsletter, News of the The Lepidopterists' Society, and also view the Contents pages from recent issues of the organization's peer-reviewed scientific Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society. The News includes a special Season Summary supplement each year, containing reports of species identified by members in the various reporting regions during the preceding year, all of which the site presents in a searchable database dating to 1995. The Identification Aids section offers photos and other identifying information for the nearly 165,000 species known worldwide. Certainly one of the more intriguing features of this website is the Unknowns page, which invites users to identify photos of Lepidoptera that have stumped someone. For neophytes, a Frequently Asked Questions page contains expert answers to a list of essential questions, such as "I've heard that you can predict how cold the winter will be by looking at how thick the black bands are on a Woolly Bear caterpillar. Any truth in that?" [CL]

Topic In Depth


The Permaculture Research Institute
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Introduction to Permaculture
Permaculture Magazine: Articles
La'akea Permaculture Gardens: Permaculture Forum
Organic Volunteers: Permaculture Hosts
Permaculture International Limited: Internship Opportunities

Since the concept of permaculture was introduced by biogeographer Bill Mollison in the 1970s, it has attracted increasing interest from agriculturalists, designers, ecologists, and others. The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) describes permaculture as "the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. It is also the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems." In addition to this definition of permaculture, the PRI website (1) contains a collection of related articles, a Discussion Forum, an annotated Photo Gallery, and brief descriptions of several recommended books. For those looking for more basic information about permaculture, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) offers an online (2) Introduction to Permaculture. As implied by its title, this ATTRA website provides brief, introductory information about permaculture, as well as a great selection of links to related resources. The Permaculture.Net website (3) offers several services to those interested in learning more about permaculture including a Courses & Internships Database, a Resource List of related websites, information about the American Permaculture Directory, and an assortment of permaculture definitions "from experts in the field." The next website (4), from Permaculture Magazine offers a selection of gratis online articles. For those looking to engage in some online permaculture-related conversations, the La'akea Permaculture Gardens website (5) hosts a Permaculture Forum. The final two websites, from Organic Volunteers (6) and Permaculture International Limited (PRI) (7), provide information about permaculture-practicing farms and other organizations that offer a variety of hands-on opportunities to learn about permaculture. [NL]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

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

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Internet Scout Project Team
Nathan Larson Editor
Chris Long Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Max Grinnell Contributor
Valerie Farnsworth Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Rachel Enright Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.