The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - November 8, 2000

November 8, 2000

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

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


Atmospheric Disturbance Climatology--USFS
Provided by the US Forest Service, this page on Atmospheric Disturbance Climatology offers multiple series of spectacular color figures depicting geographic distributions of the major abiotic factors influencing biota in the north central and northeastern US. For instance, daily maximum and minimum temperature data from the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) are displayed as color maps, showing average monthly max/min temperatures and occurrences of 'extreme' max/min temperatures. Also shown are color maps of Precipitation (averages and extremes), Spring Freezes, Fire Weather patterns, Ozone Concentrations (in the Great Lakes region), and Pine Shoot Beetle Outbreaks (1992-1998), as well as explanations of the methods used to summarize the data. For ecologists seeking broad summaries of abiotic conditions at the intermediate landscape scale, this Website will serve a valuable purpose. For others curious about medium-scale climatic processes, the numerous color images offer a wealth of information. Two additional sections on Winds and Winter Thaws are under construction and will be launched shortly. [LXP]
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Mercury Research in the USGS [.pdf, .xls]
Announcements, publications, and science activities by the US Geological Survey (USGS) regarding the widespread contaminant mercury are available at this metasite from the USGS. The site brings together links to METAALICUS, a US-Canada joint mercury assessment project, the USGS page on mercury contamination of aquatic ecosystems, nationwide fish advisories, and the EPA's Mercury Report to Congress. Tables giving locations, status and contact information for USGS mercury projects can be read in .pdf or .xls format. USGS's mercury research is part of their Mineral Resources Division. [HCS]
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TRITON: Taxonomy Resource and Index To Organism Names Project -- BIOSIS
TRITON, the Taxonomy Resource and Index To Organism Names system, is currently being developed by BIOSIS, a nonprofit, UK-based organization that organizes life science information and publishes essential resources such as Biological Abstracts and Zoological Records. TRITON serves to make data available on the Web -- specifically, data related to "names of both fossil and recent organisms, and in particular animal nomenclatural data from the Zoological Record." Rather than providing a list of valid organism names (see Species 2000, described in the February 3, 1999 Scout Report for Science & Engineering), TRITON summarizes how animal names have been used in the scientific literature and identifies formally proposed changes. TRITON's free electronic Index of Organism Names (ION) gives basic nomenclatural and hierarchy information for animals, algae, bacteria, fungi and mosses. Additional information about BIOSIS, TRITON, and related services are available at the homepage. [LXP]
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FY2000 AVIRIS Flights
This frequently updated database of AVIRIS (Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer) images taken during AVIRIS flights in 1998, 1999, and 2000 includes hundreds of black-and-white jpg files. For the most recent remote images of US sites, click on 'FY2000 AVIRIS Flights (to date).' Here, users may select links to images of dozens of locations in Hawaii, the Western States, and a smattering of Eastern States. Images vary in quality and are organized by Flight ID and site name. For further information on the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, see the AVIRIS homepage. [LXP]
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Seabird and Forage Fish Research in Alaska
Alaska Biological Science Center--USGS
The US Geological Survey (USGS)'s Alaska Biological Science Center (ABSC) conducts research in a number of areas, including this research on seabirds and forage fish in Alaska. Organized by topic, the site includes general information on marine animals and ecosystems in Alaska, specific information on ABSC seabird and fish projects (including some methods and results), and several informal 'sketches' of participating scientists. Although of particular interest to the research community, the site simultaneously serves as an excellent example of how scientists study complex ecosystems. By clicking on each "What we learned" icon, viewers may access results of specific projects and explanations of how those results tie into "the bigger picture." Further information on the Alaska Biological Science Center is provided at the ABSC homepage. [LXP]
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Deep Sky Database
"This site is a tool for amateur astronomers who love to pursue deep sky objects. It employs a web-based version of the Saguaro Astronomy Club's database (ver 7.2), consisting of over 10,000 records. This online version of the SAC database allows amateur astronomers to compile detailed and customized observing lists," says the text on the Deep Sky Database homepage maintained by members of the Saguaro Astronomy club of Phoenix, Arizona. Fields that users can designate are constellation, magnitude, and "sort by." A detailed data documentation page gives the key to all "sort by" and constellation fields available. When the user submits a query, results are presented as a table that can be pasted into a word processing or spreadsheet program. Objects available for query include: Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters, Open and Globular Clusters, Bright and Dark Nebulae, Planetary Nebulae, All objects within a Constellation, Unusual objects in the sky, The Messier Objects by Season, The Herschel 400 Objects by Constellation, The Herschel 2500 Objects by Constellation, Double Stars by Constellation and Separation. Although this site is billed as being for amateurs, it might also be a good resource for students and researchers in astronomy. [HCS]
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Learning Resources

Boreal Ecology
Dr. Vincent St.Louis of the University of Alberta, Edmonton (Canada) offers this interesting course on Boreal Ecology. Ranging from Postglacial landscapes/ environments in Boreal Ecosystems, to Animals of the Boreal Forest, to Energy Flow in Boreal Lakes, the course addresses ecological topics across temporal, spatial, and topical scales. The heart of the website is contained in the Course Outline & Lecture Notes, where online lecture notes discuss material in various details and provide links to additional resources. A further section on Links to Interesting Web Sites contains a dozen annotations, pointing to Websites with general information on the Boreal ecoregion with emphasis on Canada. [LXP]
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Reactive Reports #9
The latest issue of the chemistry webzine, Reactive Reports, is now available. Reactive Reports , a publication intended to "provide the chemistry community with cutting edge reports of exciting developments in the world of the chemical sciences and related fields," was reviewed in the Nov. 24 1999 Scout Report for Science and Engineering. Issue #9 includes articles on solar applications for fullerenes, meteoric fullerenes, new molecular structure base software, a compound developing contest for students, hot chemistry Websites, and more. This is a light yet informative resource for chemistry students. [HCS]
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Resources for Ecological Anthropology [Stella, RealPlayer]
Professor Steve Lansing of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona (Tucson) offers several free computer applications (two simulation models and one GIS) for use in ecological anthropology. The MacroScope program performs "simple analyses of geographic data, such as agricultural, social, and ecological information," to assist agricultural extension workers in management decisions. The Bali Model (Mac only) explores "the relationship between Balinese water temple networks and rice terrace ecology" via a simulation model. The Skokomish model (Mac only; uses Stella) simulates economic and ecological effects of alternative management scenarios for the Skokomish River. All applications are accompanied by additional files, including detailed instructions, published articles (in some cases), and audio or video clips (RealPlayer). [LXP]
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The Art of Renaissance Science: Galileo and Perspective [.mpeg]
Modern astronomy, physics and engineering would not be the same without the contributions of Galileo, Da Vinci, and other Renaissance figures, and this site pays tribute to science in the context of Renaissance art and society. Prof. Joseph W. Dauben, who teaches history of science at the City University of New York, oversees this page, "The Art of Renaissance Science: Galileo and Perspective," based on his video of the same title. An illustrated biography, summary of the scientific discoveries of Galileo, and details of his surveillance by the Inquisition are presented. Another highlight of the site is an illustrated discussion of mathematics, perspective, and illustration of the human form in fifteenth century art. Architect Brunelleschi, artists Massachio and Piero della Francesca, and Leonardo Da Vinci are among those discussed. The "Galileo and the Mathematics of Motion" section includes animations of his inclined plane and projectile motion experiments (.mpeg), along with the associated mathematical equations. Under "Applications of Perspective in Renaissance Art," a video clip allows readers to fade from an architectural drawing to a modern photograph of a church interior in order to investigate the accuracy of perspective (.mpeg). Some of the sections contain links to related pages on the history of science from the Vatican's website. Although this Website is not new, it is a valuable resource allowing science students to appreciate the history of their field and its relation to the arts. [HCS]
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Human Anatomy
The EMuseum at the University of Minnesota-Mankato provides this educational site on human anatomy. Although some parts of the site are still under construction, the Introduction to the Skeletal System section offers a straightforward introduction to the topic, complete with black-and-white skeletal photographs. Topics in this section include skeletal functions, axial and appendicular divisions, types of bone, bone composition, and a brief list of anatomical terms. For educators of introductory human anatomy, this site should provide interesting supplemental information. [LXP]
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General Interest

Sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, this Website offers information and news related to bioethics (also called Medical Ethics) -- namely, the study of moral issues in the fields of medical treatment and research. In addition to providing a variety of continuously updated news stories on bioethics across the nation, the Website offers links to upcoming bioethics conferences. Finally, a selection of links on the main page introduces viewers to the field of bioethics, and describes upcoming career opportunities in bioethics. [LXP]
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2000 Report on the Status of Women in Physics
The American Institute of Physics has published this report, available for download in .pdf format, on the number of girls and women in physics and related fields. Results discussed include the percentage of girls taking high school physics from 1987-1997, women's enrollment and degrees (Bachelor through Ph.D.) granted in physics and other selected fields from 1975-1997, the proportion of women teaching physics by academic rank, and a comparison of mean salaries between males and females in physics (for government, industry, academia, and federally funded research). The report is sixteen pages and contains thirteen color figures and five tables. [HCS]
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Urban Rivers Awareness
The Academy of Natural Sciences (Philadelphia) hosts this page on Urban Rivers Awareness. Offering information both general (e.g., the importance of water and watersheds) and specific (e.g., Manatwany Creek dam study), the site introduces viewers to urban river issues via an ecological study on the removal of a dam in Pennsylvania. Site content is directed towards raising awareness of urban rivers and is educational in flavor. Also at the site is a series of links to other Academy projects, external resources, and related articles. [LXP]
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Two on Asteroids:
Discovery of Companion Asteroids
Trick or Treat it's Toutatis!
This site displays the first-ever images of a large, double asteroid once assumed to be a single asteroid called Antiope. The images were recently released by the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI). Each asteroid in the pair is approximately 50 miles across, separated by about 100 miles. This discovery was made using the W.M. Keck Observatory, Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Images of another discovery, that of a small moon orbiting the large asteroid Pulcova, is featured at this site. In addition to still images, movies show the motion of the asteroids. The second page, from NASA, describes the recent near-Earth approach of the asteroid 4179 Toutatis. Toutatis is one of the largest known "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids" (PHAs). A three dimensional model of Toutatis' orbit and an .mpeg animation of the asteroid in motion are highlights of the site. [HCS]
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Two on Mangroves
Florida Plants Online: Mangrove
Field Guide to the Mangroves of Queensland
Florida Plants Online provides the first of these two resources on mangroves, featuring brief annotations and links to dozens of mangrove-related pages. Although the pages described at Florida Plants Online vary in depth and quality, many are worthwhile. The second resource, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, is an online field guide to the mangroves of Queensland, Australia. The online guide features several dozen species accounts offering distinguishing characteristics, color photographs, and contextual information (e.g., habitat type, flowering and fruiting phenology). [LXP]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the The Scout Report for Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

Rails to Trails: The lanes in Spain run mainly on the plain
As noted on the news Website ENN (Environmental News Network), a national network of 80 bicycle trails has just opened in Spain, a country that has been historically unfriendly to bicyclists. Nearly 600 miles of greenways, formerly old railway lines, have been newly surfaced and signed, with another 400 offering mountain biking access. These 'vias verdes' cross spectacular landscapes and mountainous terrain, and represent a new era in self-propelled transportation in Spain. [LXP]
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Fossil Reptile Shows Early Bipedalism
The November 3rd edition of the journal Science contains news of the recent discovery of what might be the earliest bipedal reptile. This page from the University of Toronto is an illustrated news release about the discovery. The 290-million-year-old fossil, found in Germany in 1993, looks like an upright lizard approximately 25-30 cm long with forearms and a long tail. The reptile lived before dinosaurs between 295 and 250 million years ago. It was discovered by an international team of researchers, including two paleontologists from the University of Toronto. [HCS]
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New Publications

Student Review Articles Chemical Ecology (EN 570) - Spring 2000 Colorado State University
Following a 1999 course taught by Colorado State professor Dr. Louis Bjostad (see October 29, 1999 Scout Report ), this year's online collection of review articles focuses on Chemical Ecology. The articles are compiled by students as part of a graduate level course held Spring 2000; review articles consist of several paragraphs summarizing research, followed by a dozen or more recent references. This year's topics range from "The Ecological Significance of Lipophilic Alkaloids in the Dendrobatidae (Amphibia: Anura)," to "American Drugs in Egyptian Mummies: A Review of the Evidence." [LXP]

Aerospace America
Selected articles from October issue of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' journal Aerospace America are now available free online. The journal is intended for those in the aviation and defense industries. [HCS]

Estuaries and Clean Water Act of 2000 [.pdf]
The Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency has posted online this document on the new Estuaries and Clean Water Act of 2000. Available in .pdf format, the document summarizes the Act, which emphasizes restoration of estuary habitat. [LXP]

Use of Tracer Injections and Synoptic Sampling to Measure Metal
Loading from Acid Mine Drainage
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has recently released this online information sheet about testing methods for acid mine drainage areas. An overview, discussion of stream discharge measurements in mountainous areas, tracer and synoptic sampling methods, conclusions and a bibliography are provided. The text, which comes from the USGS Water Resources Program, is accompanied by a few diagrams and graphs. [HCS]

Three from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
"Differential Effects of Coyotes and Red Foxes on Duck Nest Success"
"Description and Identification of American Black Duck, Mallard, and Hybrid Wing Plumage"
"Statistical Comparison of Nest Success Rates"
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center has posted online three more biological resources. Marsha Sovada and others wrote the first paper, examining the hypothesis that "nest success of upland-nesting ducks is higher in areas with coyotes than in areas with red foxes." The paper was originally published in 1995 in the Journal of Wildlife Management [59(1):1-8]. The second paper, by Ronald E. Kirby and others, is based on a recent (2000) US Geological Survey publication and offers a key for identifying wings of hybrids between American Black Ducks and Mallards. Third, author Douglas H. Johnson describes a method for comparing nest success rates among multiple (=>2) categories of nests. The latter was originally published in 1990 in the North Dakota Academy of Science Proceedings [44:67]. All three resources may be downloaded online as .zip files. [LXP]

Evaluating the Biological Potential in Samples Returned from
Planetary Satellites and Small Solar System Bodies
The National Research Council's Task Group on Sample Return from Small Solar System Bodies Space Studies Board's eight-chapter report of 1998 is newly available in online electronic format. The report's introduction states that, "As advances in the biological and planetary sciences enable a shift from mere observation to active exploration of the solar system, space missions are increasingly likely to collect samples from planetary satellites and small solar system bodies and return them to Earth for study." Therefore, "this report of the Space Studies Board's Task Group on Sample Return from Small Solar System Bodies considers whether samples returned to Earth from small solar system bodies might harbor living entities that could harm terrestrial organisms or disrupt ecosystems." [HCS]

National Reconnaissance of Emerging Contaminants in the Nation's Waters
This factsheet from the USGS gives an overview of the stream sampling being done by the USGS Toxics Hydrology Program in order to provide baseline information on the potential environmental occurrence of select "emerging contaminants" (such as human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, industrial and household wastewater products, and sex and steroidal hormones). Color maps of nationwide stream sampling sites and well sampling sites (designated as urban, agricultural, or other) are provided. A table of the target compounds is also accessible. [HCS]

National Geodetic Survey Equations for Transforming ITRF97 Positional
This page, posted October 23, 2000, lists equations for transforming ITRF97 positional coordinates (XI, YI, ZI) at a specified epoch date (denoted t) to their corresponding NAD 83 values (XN, YN, ZN) at this same epoch date and gives a short explanation with hypertext references. Both the United States' National Geodetic Survey and Canada's Geodetic Survey Division have adopted the equations. [HCS]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Society of Professional Engineers Employment Page

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Career Planning and Placement Services
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Urban Systemic Program in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (USP)--NSF
Deadline: January 31, 2001

TRAM: Texas Research Administrators Group Research Funding
Opportunities and Administration
Deadlines: variable

2010 Project: To Determine the Function of 25,000 Genes in Arabidopsis thaliana by the Year 2010--NSF
Deadline: January 31, 2001

DOE: Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Development Program
Deadline: February 7, 2001
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Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society: 2001 Meeting
March 11-14, 2001, Pittsburgh, PA
Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2000

Society of Automotive Engineers
March 5-8, 2001 Detroit, MI

Landscape Dynamics of Riverine Corridors
March 25-30, 2001, Ascona, Switzerland
Online Registration and Abstract Submission: Ongoing

Fractured Rock 2001
March 26-28,2001, Toronto, Ontario
Abstracts Due: December 1, 2000

American Physical Society April 2001 Meeting
April 28 - May 1, 2001, Washington, D.C.
Abstracts due: January 12, 2001
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New Data

Scrophulariaceae Names Index
The Natural History Museum in London (UK) offers this Scrophulariaceae Names Index as part of a larger, developing Scrophulariaceae Information System. Featuring one of the weirdest and most interesting of plant Families (the Scrophulariaceae), this preliminary list currently contains some 21,000 names, mainly species binomials. Also to be included in the database are names of species in closely related families reflecting historic changes in taxonomic classification. To begin using the searchable Scrophulariaceae Names Index, first click on the "additional Information" link; then enter the Genus and Species names (or the first letter of each). Typical returns include reference information, sorted by scientific species name. [LXP]
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Flooding on the Po River, Italy, as imaged by RADARSAT
The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing has released this imagery of October flooding of the Po River in northwestern Italy. The RADARSAT Fine 1 Far image is in color .jpeg format. [HCS]
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Database: National Survey of Mercury Concentrations in Fish,1990-1995 [.zip, dBASE, Access]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assembled a nationwide database on total mercury concentrations in fish tissue. This Website hosts the database, spanning the years 1990-1995, as well as a national report describing the data and database field descriptors. The database may be downloaded as a zipped file in both dBASE (1.7M) and Access (1.4M). [LXP]
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Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 1999 Summary
This report from the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) summarizes the estimated amount (in metric tons) of anthropogenic emissions of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide Hydrofluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons, and Sulfur Hexafluoride. The report states that in 1999, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were about 10.7 percent higher than 1990 emissions, which are estimated at 1,655 million metric tons carbon equivalent. The 1.1-percent average annual growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 1999 compares with average growth rates of 1.0 percent for the U.S. population, 1.5 percent for energy consumption, 2.2 percent for electric power generation, and 3.1 percent for real GDP. The report, released October 31, is available in .html or .pdf (432 KB). [HCS]
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Annotated Checklist of the Flora of the Rio Escalerete Reserve
This preliminary checklist of plants in the Rio Escalerete Reserve, Valle, Colombia is updated by Family as data are compiled and added. Available in English or Spanish and posted by the Missouri Botanical Garden, the checklist currently includes species in the following families: Cecropiaceae, Clusiaceae, Moraceae and Rubiaceae. Several links offer brief descriptions of the checklist project and study area. [LXP]
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In The News

Desert Plant Communities Threatened by Climate Change
1. Deserts Threatened By Climate Change
2. "Elevated CO2 increases productivity and invasive species success in an arid ecosystem"
3. What is Photosynthesis?
4. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
5. US Global Change Research Program
6. Stanley Smith (Lab) Group-- University of Nevada
7. Nevada Desert FACE (Free-Air-Carbon dioxide-Enrichment) Facility
8. Brookhaven National Laboratory--North Carolina
Through a series of chemical and ecological processes, new research shows that climate change will likely result in detrimental shifts in desert plant communities. The process through which desert plant communities will shift is complex, involving increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and precipitation -- two fundamental ingredients of photosynthesis. Due to human industrial activity, concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased markedly in the atmosphere, and are expected to double relative to pre-industrial times by the year 2050. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide helps plants use water more efficiently. Simultaneously, climate change models predict a higher frequency of extreme weather events, such as the powerful El Nino of 1998. Through a series of experiments, ecologist Stanley Smith of the University of Nevada and colleagues have demonstrated that plant species respond differently to the combination of wet weather and high carbon dioxide concentrations. Their results, published in the November 2 issue of Nature, show that invasive species benefit more from these conditions, thus unsettling the balance by out-competing native desert plants. Additionally, the increase in plant matter boosts the amount of fuel for fires, an effect which could magnify over time since exotic species tend to recover faster than native species, after a blaze. This week's In The News describes the new findings and offers links to several educational and research Websites.

The first site, from ScienceNow, describes the new findings and their implications (1). To access the abstract of the recent article in Nature, search by author name in the November 2, 2000 issue (2). For a thorough and well-written introduction to photosynthesis, see this metapage (3) from Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis. To learn about desert environments and how plants cope with desert conditions, see the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum site (4), which provides information with an educational bent. Some results from climate change research conducted by this governmental agency are outlined at the US Global Change Research Program Website (5). For further information on the research group that conducted the recent study, see Dr. Stanley Smith's lab group homepage (6). Furthermore, the research facility at which the study was conducted is the Nevada Desert FACE Facility (Free-Air-Carbon dioxide-Enrichment). The FACE Website offers background information on FACE and relevant research that is underway there (7). Finally, for links to additional research using FACE, see the Brookhaven National Laboratory Website (8), which offers a host of research-related information as well as links to other sites. [LXP]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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