Scott's Botanical Links--March 2002


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Past links:

March 28, 2002 - Science Behind Tobacco
"The Science Behind Tobacco" site describes in considerable detail, farming, manufacturing and health risks involved with tobacco usage. Each of the three parts of the site are quite detailed. The Flash Player by Macromedia is needed to view a slick high bandwidth version of the manufacturing process, but a low bandwidth web version is also available. I found the information about methods used to increase nicotine delivery and decrease its detection particularly interesting. Addition of ammonia converts nicotine to its free base configuration, enhancing absorption while defeating cigarette tests (which mainly measure the salt form). Practically every additive has a negative health impact. This site by the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ should be required reading. (****) -S
March 27, 2002 - WorldAtlas.Com
This world atlas site includes much more than political and geographic maps. Although much of the information is located at other site, it is a good starting locations to find rankings of continental size, populations, latitude & longitude of major cities or geographic features, country & state flags, and much more, supplanting much of an "Information Please" almanac. The only price paid for this service is the annoying appearance of pop-up ads that seem to multiply while one visits the site. Still this is nice as a starting reference. (***1/2) -S
March 26, 2002 - An Analytic Bibliography of On-line Neo-Latin Texts
This bibliography provides links to historical and classical texts from a variety of sources. Each item in the list is an unusual library item; some are rarer than others. All are now available to scholars around the world in scanned form. These contents are particularly significant for the history of science, but there are a number of important botanical works (e.g., de Candolle, Humboldt, Linnaeus). Most are high quality graphics or PDF files. The site is updated frequently and currently includes over 5400 items. Site by Dana F. Sutton, Professor of Classics, University of California, Irvine. (***1/2) -S
March 25, 2002 - Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg began in 1971 with the goal of making "information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search." There are three portions of the Project Gutenberg Library, basically light & heavy literature and references. Versions of classics that are past copyright protection are presented in ASCII (plain text) or ZIPped text. This is a distributed labor, free project. Many titles are available, including the human genome. Works of Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin are here as are Mendel and other required reading classics. (***) -S
March 22, 2002 - The United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden is located close to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC but of course, the web site is only a click away. The online site features educational activities, an online Quicktime VR tour of the orchid house, plant collections and an info sheet, faqs, links, contacts, travel information, site index and more. Although well constructed and easy to navigate, there is not much here yet. Site by the United States Botanic Garden. (***) -SR
March 21, 2002 - Curriculum Guide for the Climate Impacts Map
This site complements a "Global Warming: Early Warning Signs" map that depicts local and regional consequences of global climate change. Produced as a collaborative project by several environmental organizations, this has been peer-reviewed by scientists. The Union of Concerned Scientists produced the Curriculum Guide for this exercise. Although this is designed for use in high school, there may also be application in introductory post-secondary classes. Six environmental organizations co-sponsor the site. (***) -SR
March 20, 2002 - Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: To 1950
This single page site represents a critical enumeration of the primary sources that have most affected our thoughts on the geographical and ecological distribution and diversity of life. Some entires are available freely in full text (linked in blue), resources available through JSTOR requiring appropriate institutional access (linked in green), biographies (linked in red) and listed resources that have not yet been encoded (not linked). This enhanced bibliography is meant to serve advanced students and faculty involved in biogeography-related studies and coursework. Site by Charles H. Smith, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. (***1/2)
March 19, 2002 - Exploring Biodiversity
This site by the Natural History Museum in London introduces the major concepts of biodiversity "for GCSE and A-level students, and for amateur enthusiasts." Major topics include an introduction, methods of measuring biodiversity, an introduction to cladistics, exploring distributions, comparing areas (UK), discussion & fieldwork, tools and Worldmap software. This site seems to provide a fairly rich and straightforward introduction to some major ideas through informative exercises. (***1/2) -S
March 18, 2002 - Yellowstone Ecological Research Center
Yellowstone Ecological Research Center (YERC) was conceived in 1993 (a few years after the big fires), "based on a bold vision of conducting research and education in the Greater Yellowstone region to increase the role of science at the decision-making table." The YERC is interested in extended duration examinations of whole "landscapes" with contributions by researchers from every important discipline as a team. Current projects include studies of the great carnivores at Yellowstone, water quality issues and remote sensing of changes at Yellowstone (including recovery from the 1988 fires). YERC cooperates in research and education projects. This overview shares more enthusiasm than science, telling clearly the directions that they plan to take without much raw data. Site by YERC. (***) -S
March 15, 2002 - Rare Books from the MBG Library
The Missouri Botanical Garden Library has digitized 15 titles from its collection of rare books on this growing site. Each is digitized using a camera (much gentler than a scanner) and encoded in large format images, viewable on the Internet as JPGs. The goal of the project is to preserve and distribute these beautifully illustrated and botanically significant books to scholars, gardeners, and book enthusiasts worldwide. The quality is excellent and the contents are searchable. The Rare Book Digitization Project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. (***1/2) -S
March 14, 2002 - BBC Wild - Image Site
BBC Wild is an online service of the BBC Natural History Unit Picture Library. The online collection comprises some 13,000 scans from a collection of more than 120,000 photos. Some are Premium images, photographed by some of the best wildlife photographers in the world, available at a significant price. The "multiple use" images are less expensive and are royalty free. Downloaded images from the site carry strong logo branding. Nonetheless, the images are quite nice. Site by BBC. (***1/2) -S
March 13, 2002 - Poison Ivy Toxicodendron radicans (Rhus radicans)
Poison ivy is one of a number of members of the Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family) that can cause severe contact dermititis. Equally severe are poison oak (dry forests) and poison sumac (near wetlands, boggy environments). This plant forms an aggressive woody vine or shrub that can become quite large. It is native to North America and Asia, but has been introduced in Great Britain, Europe, and Australia. The triple leaflets this easy to identify. Plants (practially all parts) produce a pale yellow oil called urushiol that affects 85% of the people with an immunological response. Botanists who are immune have conducted outrageous antics, carrying whole lianas to classes and asking them to identify it, etc. This page has useful information on treatment and control. (***1/2) -S
March 12, 2002 - Biology Online
Biology Online aspires to become a portal site for the study of the life sciences. The site features online tutorials, a 1600 term dictionary, and selected biology links. The online tutorials are the best feature, with succinct and well illustrated entries on many introductory biology topics. Categories include: adaptation, biological regulation, cell biology, freshwater ecology, genetics & evolution, growth & control, human development and neurology. The selected links are pedestrian in quality, and are skeletally brief, as are the dictionary entries. Dictionary terms with spaces in them (and there are many) cannot be retrieved due to an "incorrect parameter"! But as I mentioned, the tutorials may be useful. (***) -S
March 11, 2002 - Herbals & Early Gardening Books
The Herbals & Early Gardening Books provides a brief description of 148 herbals and usually an image of the frontispiece. Books are listed by author, title and subject (interestingly, these are not cross-listed, so it is a bit confusing). Thumbnail views are available for the frontispiece images. As noted in the introduction to the site, "...writers of early herbals were more concerned with curing illnesses than describing plants, and thus these early publications included remedies not only from the plant world, but also from the animal and mineral kingdoms." Many pre-date Linnean botanical classification. As with most herbal treatments, you would be better off seeing a doctor than following 16th century remedies on unidentified plants, even if you had the whole book. These are from the Doris and Marc Patten Collection at Hayden Library's Special Collections Department, Arizona State University. (***) -S
March 8, 2002 - California Rare Fruit Growers
The California Rare Fruit Growers site provides an exceptional amount of information on all aspects of fruit growing with a primary focus on semitropical fruits and uncommon fruits and vegetables. Among the resources are: The Fruit Gardener magazine, CRFG Fruit Facts on-line, a 20-year index of CRFG Publications (1969-1989), descriptions of 250 rare and unusual edible plants, and the CRFG Fruit List. Information can be quite detailed and is well organized. There are also CRFG local chapters, a book service, book reviews, a seed bank, a volunteer fruit specialist Q & A, CRFG member nurseries and fruit sources, "tidbits of information", and an annual fruit shoot photo contest. According to the CRFG, their worldwide membership includes many nationally recognized botanical gardens, rare fruit enthusiasts, commercial fruit growers, and internationally recognized horticultural researchers. (***1/2) -S
March 7, 2002 - Toporama Canada
Canadian topographic maps derived from the National Topographic Database are available free online at "Toporama" - a product of the Centre for Topographic Information Sherbrooke. Although hardcopy versions are sold through agents, these maps, which cover resolutions from 1:50,000 to 1:250,000 are free, via rights granted by the Queen through the Minister of Natural Resources. It is a resource extending the mapped area of North America from the US border well into the Artic. An excellent resource for mapping Canadian specimens, this resource is developed from data provided by Ressources naturelles / Natural Resources Canada. (***1/2) -S
March 6, 2002 - Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
GNIS is the U.S. official repository of domestic geographic names information, containing almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features. Databases are available for domestic U.S. sites and Antarctica through the "Query the GNIS Online Data Bases" links. Searches can be made for many geographical feature types from "populated places" (aka communities) to geysers, in any of the states and territories, by population or elevation range, and by topographic map (if known). A blank field is a wildcard. The depth of the data is remarkable, linking to Terraserver image data, online maps, FIPS55 place codes and online feature mapping. A remarkable mapping resource, worth a bookmark by USGS. (****) -S
March 5, 2002 - ISIS - Intron Sequence and Information database
ISIS presents itself as the first multiple organism nuclear intron database. The site contains an overview of introns, scholarly articles, phylogenetic relationships, intron elements, protein familites, intron viewer & gene viewer. The database is extensive, and it is searchable by a variety of parameters, including organism, sequence, intron element, GenBank locus, and protein keyword, among others. Conducting taxonomic searches and searches using common elements contained within introns seem to be among the most useful applications. Definitely worth a bookmark for molecular biology and genomics projects. (***1/2) -S
March 4, 2002 - International Pollination Systems
Pollination is required for fruit and seed development of numerous crop plants. This web site provides considerable information about pollinators and pollination on an individual to industrial scale. Pages at the site discuss managed bees (including the alfalfa leafcutting bee, alkali bee, bumble bee, blue orchard bee, and honeybee), bees in the classroom (under development), publications & research, products & services, current projects, online grower support, a bee glossary, links and further information. Although there is no doubt that this is a commercial site, there is useful information here. Site by IPS. (***1/2) -S
March 1, 2002 - Forest Pests of North America
This site features many help sheets on the insects, diseases and other pests of trees on this continent. Most of the entires are listed by the common name of the ailment. These link to succinct and usually illustrated descriptions of how to identify the pest, its biology and how to control it. Much of the data was originally in the form of USDA circulars, so it is likely to be pretty reliable--for most people it would be hard to find without the Internet. This is a fairly complete site, but there are still quite a few listings that are unlinked. Forest Pests of North America is also somewhat regionally biased and not always accurate from a mycological viewpoint. The site is part of the Bugwood Network, run by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences/Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Tifton. (***) -S

Past, past links (by date):

2006: January
2005: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2003: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2002: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2001: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2000: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1999: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1998: January*, February*, March*, April*, May*, June*, July, August, September, October, November, December   (*Leigh's links)
1997: January, February, March, April, May, June, September*, October*, November*, December*    (*Leigh's links)
1996: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Or search by: Subject Index