Scott's Botanical Links--November 2005


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November 30, 2005 - Backyard Conservation
"Backyard Conservation" illustrates how conservation practices can be used to conserve and improve natural resources on the land around your home using ideas from agriculture. Ideas include backyard ponds, backyard wetland, composting, mulching, nutrient management, pest management, terracing, tree plantings, water conservation and improving wildlife habitat. Each of these steps may improve the liveability of the home environment and may mean less weekend work through working with nature, rather than against it. This site is by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in cooperation with the National Audubon Society (****) -SR
November 29, 2005 - Scientific Inquiry through Plants (Sip3)
"Scientific Inquiry through Plants (Sip3) is an innovative forum allowing students to discover biological core concepts through hands-on inquiry projects coupled with online science mentorship from plant scientists." Botanical Society of America has launched a participatory science site where groups of students conductiong experiments are matched with botanist volunteers from around the country trading information and ideas over the Internet. If you have some time to donate (about 1 hr per week to answer emails when experiments are running), please volunteer. This is a great way to stimulate interest in science through plants. (****) -SR
November 28, 2005 - Collaborative Pre-University Science Projects
Collaborative Pre-University Science Projects advertizes itself as a site that "facilitates a new age of COLLABORATIVE science projects for grades K through 12 to parallel how professional scientists from around the world work together." On the site are novel ideas, with an emphasis particularly on microorganisms (bacteria, algae, fungi). Growing microorganisms typically requires some supervision, given the large numbers of organisms generated, and knowledge of sterile technique is needed for some of these. Some topics have won science fair awards. This is an interesting idea site given proper precautions. (***1/2) -SR
November 23, 2005 - World Science
World Science is an online magazine of science articles. As with most such science news sites, there is not much on plants, but some may still be interested to receive more news on science regardless. Covered in most detail are astronomical items, issues of human health and paleontology. The site includes some items that are not picked up by other media distributors, and the site has an RSS feed for the computer savvy. This is a well laid out and information rich site with highly varied stories. (***1/2) -SR
November 22, 2005 - Plastid Proteome Database (PPDB)
The collection of all of the proteins of an organelle, cell or organism is known as the proteome. As genomes reach completion, attention turns toward gene expression, and that is where this research site comes into play. This website presents the state-of-the-art of our knowledge of proteins of plastids--most familiar of which are chloroplasts. The site provides a central, curated location for predicted and experimentally determined plastid proteins in Arabidopsis and maize from the Klaas J. van Wijk Lab and Computational Biology Service Unit of Cornell University. (****) -SR
November 21, 2005 - Wildflowers and Other Plants of Southern California
This is a completely revamped version of the site I featured over four years ago (November 19, 2001). This has increased from 400 to about 1,860 taxa, with improved descriptions and photography. Several hundred taxa are 600 x 800 pixels and of very high quality. Botanical detail is available for each species, as well as links to an etymology page that shows the origin of common genus names and species epithets. These distinguish the site from similar ones. Wildflowers and Other Plants of Southern California (formerly Blooming Plants...) clearly merits being featured again, and has kept up with continually increasing quality needs. Site by Michael L. Charters. (****) -SR
November 18, 2005 - Southern Wetland Flora
Southern Wetland Flora is a web version of a booklet produced by the USDA Soil Conservation Service, South National Technical Center in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999 (or so) and updated since then online. The guide provides color images, drawings, distribution maps and plant descriptions for each of 300 species. There is also a key to groups, which are a bit eclectic, and a nice illustrated glossary. Ironically, this is archived at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in South Dakota. (***1/2) -SR
November 17, 2005 - Southern Appalachian/Blue Ridge Mountains Trail Wildflower Index
This site has numerous images of wildflowers encountered on trails in Southern Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain areas by Tony Presley. Images may easily be browsed on the 20-page index and are browsable also by common name, scientific name and dates of photos. This is a nice collection of images accompanied by information on where the plant was observed. The images are medium resolution but higher resolution images are available on CD. (***1/2) -SR
November 16, 2005 - IUCN/SSC Top 50 Plants Campaign
"The Top 50 Plants Campaign, conceived by the IUCN/SSC (World Conservation Union/Species Survival Commission) Plant Conservation Committee, aims to help save plant species that face a high risk of extinction by providing information to and raising awareness among decision makers, conservation practitioners and the general public." This is a huge project involving over 1000 individuals in detailed and finely divided specialist groups. The pilot project concerns Mediterranean island plants, but will be expanded to meet the worldwide threat. The site has detailed information on each plant and will hopeful dramatize the need. (****) -SR
November 15, 2005 - NASA: World Wind
World Wind "lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there." Features include a 3D engine, blue marble (whole earth imaging), Landsat 7, SRT (Shuttle Radar Topography) imaging, spectrographic earth imaging with data overlays for climate and other data. This requires broadband for utility and memory; otherwise you might not want to get started! (****) -SR
November 14, 2005 - Gallery of Plant Images (University of Seville)
This gallery of images is not self explanatory, but they complement courses taught by Prof. Abelardo Aparicio Martinez on systematics and comparative morphology of angiosperms and gymnosperms. First posted in 2002, there are numerous images and apparently more all of the time. This site is in Spanish, but the genera and scientific names remain the same. If you know which images you are looking for, they are often accessible by family and scientific name. Site by Prof. Abelardo Aparicio Martínez, Faculty of Pharmacy, Botanical Pharmacology, Uni Seville, Spain. (***) -SR
November 11, 2005 - Inside Plants Live
Inside Plants Live is really a plant blog. Featured in October were table top plants with lighting. It is not really that exciting, but something that might be useful in the back of an office or a dark office. This has been going on for almost 1-1/2 years, covering containerscaping, dormscaping, education, green building, green business, greenscaping, hydroculture/hydroponics, inside plant care and more. Site by Bob Hyland. (***) -SR
November 10, 2005 - Google Earth
According to the site description, "Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop." For a brief download, you can browse satellite imagery of the entire globe, but you need a reasonably new computer and broadband. Moving around the globe is easy using the mouse or clicking controls under the image. The slider on the right (next to the thumbtack) lets you view 3D terrain. If you register, you can post comments and place markers for others to see. Be sure you have some time to browse!! It is amazing!! (*****) -SR
November 9, 2005 - More Misconceptions When Teaching about Plants
This is the sequel to David Hershey's prior article, back by popular misconception. In this article, numerous mistakes and misstatements are elucidated by subject: plant reproduction, plant taxonomy, plant anatomy, plant morphology, plant physiology and plant mineral nutrition. Once again, critical thinking has to start at the top, with textbook writers and teachers, to make it into the classroom! (****) -SR
November 8, 2005 - Avoid Misconceptions When Teaching about Plants
David Hershey has accumulated 50 plant misconceptions in this essay, in which he classifies misconceptions in five broad categories: oversimplifications, overgeneralizations, obsolete concepts and terms, misidentifications, and flawed research. Common misconceptions are so common that they are presented by topic: pollination, photosynthesis, tropisms, physiology, reproduction, history and miscellaneous. This kind of web site is extremely useful, particularly if textbook authors, editors and publishers refer to them! (****) -SR
November 7, 2005 - Plants and Their Uses
Plants and Their Uses is a web companion to Integrative Biology 363 at University of Illinois by David Siegler. Links are provided to announcements, lectures and powerpoint presentations, although the latter are under password control. Lectures provide a succinct outline on the domestication of cultivated plants and an in-depth look at the major uses of plants in the world today, by plant and by usage. Images are linked through the lectures, and most are available without password. Some unique market pictures from around the world are posted. Looks like an interesting course. (***) -SR
November 4, 2005 - BAD PHYSICS: Misconceptions spread by K-6 textbooks
The is a personal site of William J. Beaty, who while designing museum science exhibits, decided to see how elementary school books explain it. He had a BS in Electrical Engineering and was not so sure how to explain simple physics, but he DID know that what he read was very, very wrong -- electricity, light, essentially all of it. This website is thus a very useful thought exercise; you simply can't read it without thinking critically. Some of the pages are enlightening; some are almost a primal scream, but the site goes far in elucidating why scientists have so much trouble explaining what science is. Well worth a look! (***) -SR
November 3, 2005 - Rice Knowledge Bank
The Rice Knowledge Bank has vast information on the crop plant that feeds most people in the world: rice, Oryza sativa. This site provides information that spans from how to grow rice, extension materials, training materials, research materials, and other resource, including a translation tool, kid's site, nutrition information and even recipes. Individual knowledge banks are also available in the native language of each of the 13 participant countries. This is an impressive site and useful reference site, by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). (***1/2) -SR
November 2, 2005 - Grass Manual on the Web
The Grass Manual on the Web features information compiled for the Manual of Grasses for North America project. A vast scrolling window features all of the available species -- just press 'choose species'. The press of a radio button moves the users to displays of distribution maps, systematic treatments, illustration, images, notes and synonomies, as available. The completeness is impressive and progress is still being made. This multi-agency, multi-institution project is coordinated by Utah State University. (****) -SR
November 1, 2005 - Mediterranean Garden Society
The Mediterranean Garden Society site features links on climate, discussions, gardens, groups (links around the world), books in print, people (not so complete), but the plants and resources make up for the rest. Many well illustrated plants sites are included by scientific name. Plants for mediterranean climates are pretty much bare (unlinked) lists, but they specialize on planting in deer visited areas, plants for dry shade, fast growing trees and plants tolerant of clay soils. The growing plants section is worth looking at. (***) -SR

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