Scott's Botanical Links--October 2001


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Past links:

October 31, 2001 - Alltimezones.Org
With the change in time zones, Alltimezones.Org is even more timely. This site, of course, features times & time zone look-ups, also has nice maps of myriad countries. The major limitation to the maps is that they are small, perhaps too much for large countries. A standard paper map may be more useful (I was pleasantly surprised to find that they do not sell them and an absence of commercial content.) The FAQ has a nice and fairly detailed discussion of time zones. This is a simple but functional site that fulfills a tight mission. Site by (***) -S
October 30, 2001 - NCBI Entrez Taxonomy Homepage
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is a clearinghouse of information on genes, proteins, gene control, and on these pages, taxonomy. For any genus and many species, there is an entry that will provide a table of phylogenetic relatedness, particularly to model organisms (i.e., Arabidopsis, for higher plants). Presence in the database indicates that at least one datum of molecular information has been cataloged for that species. Lots of Java & buttons; scant documentation, but this is the right tool if this is your question! Site by NCBI, part of National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. (***1/2) -S
October 29, 2001 - Translation Experts
Featuring online translation services for almost 30 languages, this site provides some free online services for a wide variety of world languages. The translations are quite rough (you get what you pay for!) but they may be useful in understanding an occasional email or reading a site published in a different language. If you think that you will be able to write in another language, be forewarned that you may have unexpected results as the program will frequently choose inappropriate synonyms and unanticipated grammar structures. This site is funded by their paid translation services (which you may need to straighten out the confusion you may cause). Navigation to the free content is a bit of a problem. (***) -S
October 26, 2001 - Web Search Engines FAQS: Questions, Answers, and Issues
As the site muses, the phrase "Web search" did not exist a few years ago. We rely on search engines for information, but what are the capabilities and limitations of each search engine? How many pages has each scanned? How frequently does it visit a page? This article has useful advice on the quirks and characteristics of the most commonly encountered web search engines, including Google, AllTheWeb, Altavista, MSN Search, Northern Light. This article is by Gary Price, who is a research and Internet consultant. (***1/2) -S
October 25, 2001 - Landmarks In the History of Genetics
"Can matter store active information?" is the starting point of this site that features: (1) a timeline of genetic discoveries and the discoverers, and (2) the genetic implications of these findings. This is a startlingly concise history with a sparing number of key references and fewer (even more carefully selected) journal articles archived on the site. Part of a site on evolutionary psychology. If you were bookmarking one page sites (not counding references!), this should definitely be one of them. (****) -S
October 24, 2001 - World of Dermatophytes: A Pictorial
Fungi typically are parasites or saprophytes of plants (organisms with a high C:N ratio), but some prefer animals. This site characterizes some of the common fungi that attack animals, and particularly, the skin. (I decided to include this site since fungi have often appeared in traditional botany courses -- though usually not our predator species!) This site particularly focuses on Epidermophyton, Microsporum and Trichophyton. Pages provide images of cultures & diseased skin, and detailed information on the organisms. Site by the National Centre for Mycology, University of Alberta Hospitals, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (****) -S
October 23, 2001 - Freakin Fucus -- Guide To Seaweeds and Phycology
More than just Fucus, this site describes algal studies from an introductory standpoint, with some advanced material. Among the pages include an introduction, glossary, information on becoming a marine biologist, common algae of North East England, and various essays, including a research project on phenotypic variation of Fucus spiralis growing on exposed and sheltered shores at Filey Brigg and a spotlight on Halimeda. The site has a somewhat hidden depth; what it may lack in detail it makes up for in enthusiasm -- worth a bookmark! Site by Andrew Davies who is now a PhD student in Marine Biology at Queens University, Belfast. (***1/2) -S
October 22, 2001 - Why Leaves Change Color
This one page explanation introduces the biological basis for why leaves turn color and fall in the autumn, from pigmentation changes, to other chemical changes, to the conditions for the best display of colors. As a fairly simple page, it is better designed for K-12 students, but contains the basics also for beginning undergraduate students. Site by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. (***) -S
October 19, 2001 - Access Excellence: About Biotech
This site presents the major concepts of "biotech" at a high school to beginning undergraduate level. Topics include "Issues and Ethics" (genomes & gene products, gene therapy, bioethics), "Biotech Applied" (how biotech is used today), "Careers" (jobs classified and described) "Graphics Gallery" (illustrated overviews of complex scientific principles and processes), and "Biotech Chronicles" (history and biographies). Overall, the treatments are excellent and topics diverse! The site may be a bit superficial for undergraduates, but the graphics gallery in particular includes a depth of information. Originally founded with funds from Genentech, Access Excellence is currently part of the National Health Museum. (****) -S
October 18, 2001 - HortPlex Plant Database
The HortiPlex database boasts having 93,000 records; 74,000 links; 50,000 taxa; 42,000 cultivars; 11,000 images/image links making it one of the most complete sites of its kind. The site is query-driven, returning infomation about species, genera, families and common names. Species records have links to the national-level databases, such as USDA's Plants site, EthnobotDB, and the TAMU-BWG Digital Library, to name a few resources. If you have registered, you may add your comments and/or images. HortPlex is on GardenWeb. (***1/2) -S
October 17, 2001 - Home Propagation of House Plants
This one page site is an overview of some fundamental methods for establishing new plants from old. This focuses on the use of stem and leaf cuttings, but also presents a highly illustrated version of air layering and treatment of cuttings in general. A nice introductory site, this is the online version of a pamphlet, also known as Agricultural publication G06560, published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia. (***1/2) -S
October 16, 2001 - Barbara McClintock - 1983 Nobel Laureate
Barbara McClintock's life work was understanding maize genetics. Early in her career, she was the first to describe crossing over during meiosis in plants. At the peak of her career, she realized that genes were not immobile on the chromosomes, but could move and rearrange themselves with startling consequences. Until rediscovered in fruit flies (almost 20 years later) and many other organisms, the importance of her discovery almost escaped recognition. Afterwards, she was propelled from obscurity to an unwanted degree of celebrity. This site, run by the Nobel e-Museum contains the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1983 Press Release, Barbara McClintock's Autobiography, her Nobel Lecture, images of her Swedish Nobel Stamp, and an in memoriam essay by Howard Green. Similar biographies are available for many Nobel Laureates. (****) -S
October 15, 2001 - Biophysics Textbook Online
Designed as a successor text to Cantor and Schimmel's 1400 page text/treatise, this online textbook is appropriate for advanced undergradate and graduate students. Chapters are in great detail, including: Bioenergetics & Photosynthesis; Channels, Receptors & Transporters; Computational Biology & Theory; Electrophysiology; Intermolecular Forces; Membranes; Muscle & Cell Contractility; Nucleic Acids; Photobiophysics; Proteins; Supramolecular Assemblies; Diffraction & Scattering; EPR; NMR; Separations & Hydrodynamics; Sequence Analysis; Single Molecule Techniques; Spectroscopy; Thermodynamics; Becoming a Biophysicist; Biophysics Experiments; Teaching Biophysics - BJ articles; and BJ Supplements/Computer Programs. Some chapters are still coming online. This book was produced by the Biophysical Society. (****) -S
October 12, 2001 - Botanical Image Database, University of Basel
The Institute of Botany, University of Basel has made 4,341 images of plants, vegetation and pollinators available via searchable database. Images are of excellent quality, taken with a Nikon Coolpix 950 or 990 (~2 megapixel) and reduced to more modest sizes (600 to 800 pixels on a side). Entries can be searched by taxomonic unit (species, genus, family, order), geography (Basel, Samos, Tenerife), topic (growth form, morphology, pollination, ecology, specific sites). Many choices are by radio button, so the "reset" button may be needed to clear choices. Individual pictures may be used without cost or permission for non-commercial purposes (including PowerPoint), though attribution is needed (consult site for further data). A very comprehensive set of images is accessible using their convenient web-interfaced search engine. Most images were taken by H. Schneider. (****) -S
October 11, 2001 - AlgaeBase
AlgaeBase is a systematics and ecologically oriented searchable database scientific names and distributional details of "seaweeds" including algae, cyanobacteria (=bluegreen algae) and seagrasses. More than 20,000 seaweed and seagrass names are currently listed and data are updated continually. Each familiar genus that I searched produced more than a page of links. The genus and species pages provide excellent taxonomic history, some provide much more. Illustrations, when available are of high quality, so this is a good image source as well. Site by Environmental Change Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. (****) -S
October 10, 2001 - How A Soybean Plant Develops
"How A Soybean Plant Develops" is essentially a one-page site that is, in the words of the developers, "designed to aid those involved in soybean production to more fully understand how the soybean plant develops." Both basic and applied information on life cycles, improving yield and caring for plants is included. Developmental stages are described by code and illustrated in detail. This is also available as Special Report #53, Iowa State University of Science and Technology Cooperative Extension Service, Ames, Iowa. (***) -S
October 9, 2001 - Planet Ark
Planet Ark is Reuters environmental news service and an environmental news search engine. Topics such as acid rain, biodiversity, air pollution, climate change, conservation, deforestation, forests and many other terms are linked. Others are available. This is made by the Reuters News Service. (***1/2)
October 8, 2001 - Botany in the Subantarctic
Unlike the continental mass characteristic of the northern subartic, there are only small island groups in the southern subantarctic. The warmest subantarctic islands are Campbell Island and Auckland Island (mean coastal temperatures 6-8°C). Macquarie Island, Marion & Prince Edward, Ilès Kerguelen and Ilès Crozet have mean coastal temperature of around 4-5°C. The coldest islands, Heard & McDonald Islands and South Georgia (mean coastal temperatures 1-2°C) have significant ice caps and are severely glaciated. This outlines some University of Queensland research programs. (***) -S
October 5, 2001 - Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the defining biochemical pathway for most autotrophic protists, prokaryotes and plants. This site provides an overview of the entire process. Topics covered include: "The Dark Reactions of Photosynthesis: Assimilation of Carbon Dioxide And The Calvin Cycle," "C3, C4 and CAM: Regulation of The Activity of Photosynthesis", "Light Reactions of Photosynthesis", and "The Photosynthetic Membrane." Literature follows. The history and current concepts of photosynthesis are covered here. This is one chapter of an excellent online hypertext by Peter v. Sengbusch, University of Hamburg. (****) -S
October 4, 2001 - Biological Weapons Control and Bioterrorism Resources from ASM
These reports, issued by the American Society for Microbiology, present information publically available on countering the threat of biological weapons as a means of terrorism. The very thought is chilling. Resources on this site include a current CDC Biological Agent Alert, Biological Agent Export and Import Regulations, Laboratory Registration/Select Agent Transfer Program, Bioterrorism Preparedness, Biological Agents - Laboratory Safety, and Biological Agents - Detection and Treatment, as subheadings. ASM has given considerable thought to this problem and has presented important recommendations to respond to this threat. (****) -S
October 3, 2001 - Cyber Attacks During the War on Terrorism - A Predictive Analysis
This report issued by the Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth College presents data gathered on potential attacks to the world electronic infrastructure, with particular attention to the United States. Interestingly, past attacks have peaked following important terrorist actions. To date, however, the attacks have not been well organized nor particularly effective, except against very specific targets/web sites. This report warns of the potential for far worse attacks in the future, and the need to secure servers PRIOR to worm/hacker attacks to minimize their effectiveness. At particular global risk are the 13 root servers for domain name service (DNS), as bringing these down could bring the world Internet to a standstill! (****) -S
October 2, 2001 - Ozarks Regional Herbarium
This site has information relevant to the local herbarium with links to internal and external pages in the US and elsewhere around the world. Among the best features of this site are the "Atlas of Missouri Vascular Plants," by Wallace R. Weber and William T. Corcoran and the two image databases of "Ferns & Fern Allies of the Ozarks and the Interior Highlands of North America" and one for "Flowering Plants..." as well. The latter has at least 1000 images in the index. These vary from medium- to full-page resolution and are often of very high quality. Nice site by M. S. Brunell, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield. (***1/2) -S
October 1, 2001 - Photoperiodism and Phytochrome
This one page site covers the major topics of photoperiodism and phytochrome, namely its mechanism, the role of phytochrome, long-day plants, how phytochrome works and other phytochrome roles. A nice overview, the page also crossreferences other topics in this vast online directory, which is part of Kimball's Biology site. I featured this page to answer a student email, and I realized I had no introductory pages on photoperiodism. This is part of Kimball's free site; there is also a paid service. (****) -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
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