Scott's Botanical Links--September 2003


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Past links:

September 30, 2003 - Tissue Culture in the Home Kitchen
Plant tissue culture is not a difficult technique for propagating plants, but it does involve unusually stringent precautions for sterility and kind treatment of tender plant tissues that merits detailed explanation. This site provides step-by-step information, with full lists of ingredients needed, to grow a variety of species from cells or organs into independent viable plants. The site has an informative explanation of the culture process and the basis of the hormones used. There is enough data to satisfy curiosity AND to grow plants here. This site by Rick Walker was also featured 3/22/99 at a different URL. (****) -S
September 29, 2003 - Why do leaves change color in the Fall?
"Science Made Simple" is made with K-8 students in mind, but includes increasingly more detailed explanations as the page progresses. At the end, it is essentially AP biology or beginning college botany in its level. The site includes word jumbles, detailed explanations, and "activities to do together" -- inquiry-based examinations of leaf pigmentation. Chromatography of green and leaves that have turned color reveal the individual pigments involved. Lighting and masking leaves tests the effects of light on color development. A nice educational site. (***1/2) -S
September 26, 2003 - GOBASE: The Organelle Genome Database
This database focuses on DNA of the heritable organelles: the mitochondria and plastids (chloroplasts). In the future, GOBASE will include genomes of bacterial ancestors of mitochondria and chloroplasts. Principally a search engine-driven site, there are special interfaces to sequences, genes, proteins, exons, introns, genes & products, RNA structure, maps, and taxonomy. This is a single-minded useful site, with a useful guide for beginners. Site by Departement de Biochimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada. (***1/2)
September 25, 2003 - Earth Observatory
"The purpose of NASA's Earth Observatory is to provide a freely-accessible publication on the Internet where the public can obtain new satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet." At this site, you will find event monitoring (drought & vegetation), reference pages (ozone, global warming, uv radiation, measuring vegetation, drought, water cycle, land cover classification, phytoplankton facts), features (glowing algae, global garden gets greener, flame & flood, human footprint, boreal forest, hunting dangerous algae from space, seeing leaves in a new light, watching plants dance to ocean rhythms, perspective on plants, photosynthesis, grasslands), and experiments (e.g., Mission: biomes). The depth and illustrations are phenomenal! Site by NASA. (****) -S [encore, featured first 8/30/00, LF]
September 24, 2003 - Biosphere 3D
Biosphere 3D uses QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR, available as part of the free Quicktime Player from to visualize 2D world atlas information on a 3-D globe. This is an incredible idea, and even better in action. Files are large, so this is ideally a broadband application: globes seen from equatorial view are 1-2 MB, and tiltable globes are 3-4 MB per file. Globes may be rotated using the mouse, zoomed using the shift-key, and unzoomed using the crtl-key (see also navigation devices at the bottom of the image). Topics include agricultural sustainability, climate (temperatures by season, moisture, ocean currents and wind, for instance), population impact and life expectancy, to mention a handful of the 40 parameters currently plotted on separate globes. Very impressive and very interactive! QTVR images created by Julia Johnson and Stephen Reynolds. (****) -S
September 23, 2003 - The Wollemi Pine — a very rare discovery
The Wollemi Pine, not really a pine, but a member of the Araucariaceae, falls between the two previously known living genera: Agathis and Araucaria. Wollemi nobilis is a fairly recently discovered tree. It was first described from fossils -- in strata 2 million or more years old -- and rediscovered in 1994, alive in a wilderness area in New South Wales, Australia. Information ranging from facts & figures to age & ancestry, sex life, ecology, habitat, how to grow it, see it, protect it, photograph it, and more, follow. The site also provides information on many ongoing research projects that may help to assure the Wollemi Pine a better chance for survival. Interesting tree and site, by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia. (***1/2) -S
September 22, 2003 - Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: 1951 to 1975
This is a single page site of a critical enumeration of the primary sources that have most affected our thoughts on the geographical and ecological distribution and diversity of life. Some entries are available available through JSTOR requiring appropriate institutional access (linked in green). Biographies are linked in red and listed resources that have not yet been encoded are not linked. This enhanced bibliography is meant to serve advanced students and faculty involved in biogeography-related studies and coursework. This complements his assembled bibiography of references from 1950 and before. Site by Charles H. Smith, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. (***1/2)
September 19, 2003 - Natural Inquirer
The Natural Inquirer is a PDF newsletter designed for middle school students that features thought provoking articles about science in action. The current "Wildland Fire Edition" examines fire from the perspective of safety measures & strategies to minimize damage, controlling the spread of fire, preventative measures and management plans. Each article begins with a glossary, an opportunity to meet the scientist(s) who did the work, the actual work done, practical repercussions of the work and then questions and factivities for students -- hands-on exercises allowing students to apply the concepts presented. Throughout the book are testimonials about why scientists love their jobs, many cartoon characters and much factual material. The Natural Inquirer is a product of the USDA Forest Service, online since 1998. Downloading the issues (as PDFs) requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader; alternatively free issues are also available by mail. Teacher's guides are available, along with many activities and state standards. Site by the US Forest Service. (***1/2) -S
September 18, 2003 - APSnet: Plants Get Sick Too!
This multimedia site tells the story of plant pathology using cleverly-drawn cartoons and an engaging narration, as told (in English or Spanish) by a "stand-in" for the Father of Plant Phytopathology, Heinrich Anton de Bary (who passed away in 1888). Major diseases, pests and the means of combatting them are outlined in this Macromedia Flash Player slide show. Intermediate school students through introductory botany undergraduate students may enjoy the site, which mentions a wide variety of topics. The site's great advantage is a succinct script and beguiling narration. This well-constructed site should do much to popularize phytopathology among students and those who enjoy a nice story on sick plants. The narrative took about 10 minutes, but I lost track of time. A CD is available with further leaning activities for classroom use. Initial funding by American Phytopathological Society, developed at Purdue University. (****) -S
September 17, 2003 - National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center
The National Hurricane Center provides detailed information and predictions on the status of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storms to 140 degrees W. The left column offers a wealth of weather resources, including a definition of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale, the history of past great storms, methodologies and data sites. Radar and satellite images in a myriad of detection modes are also available. Predictions vary from 3-hour bulletins in crises to seasonal predictions, such as the one that 2003 will have a number of major hurricanes. Site run through NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration). (****) -S
September 16, 2003 - SERPIN: Southeastern Rare Plant Information Network
The goal of the Southeastern Rare Plant Information Network (SERPIN) is to capture information on the disappearing flora of the Southeastern US and distribute it worldwide as part of a coordinated effort to save the flora. The database includes state and federally listed plants found in Georgia, north and central Florida, and the Carolinas, including botanical data, literature, as well as other resources relating to the plants. SERPIN is a joint project of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Duke University Biological and Experimental Science Library. (***1/2) -S
September 15, 2003 - The Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden
The British Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden is their first living exhibition, is located on one acre of land occupying the Museum's west lawn. The Wildlife Garden gives a flavour of British habitats represented include the Oak woodland, Lowland heath, Chalk downland, Hedgerow, Pond and Reedbed. The site includes a tutortial expanations of the habitats, scientific investigations being undertaken at the garden, visiting the garden, interactive exercises, volunteer work, and related links. Site by Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London. (***) -S
September 12, 2003 - Paintings representing the work of systematic botanists at The New York Botanical Garden (1995-2000)
This site presents paintings of Michael Rothman made from 1995 to 2000 portraying subjects of research interest to 14 researchers at the Institute of Systematic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden. Links are provided for each researcher's name to a page with a picture of the curator, a statement of their research interests, and a short explanation of their painting. The images are explained and coded, showing the species (plants and animals) in the painting. This site by Scott A. Mori & Michael Rothman. (***1/2) -S
September 11, 2003 - Cell Cycle and the Plant Cell
Cells Alive! produces multimedia representations of plant, animal and microbial cells using computer representations, videos, and animations. The cell cycle animation presents "basic animation" or "checkpoints" via a mouse click. Basic events include DNA synthesis, portrayed by chromatid formation (and a squeaky noise) and mitosis (musical tone), portrayed by chromatid separation and cell division. Checkpoints are natural decision times in the cell when specific conditions must be met to proceed. This is a nice animation. A very nice interactive plant cell may be accessed using a link on the left of the screen. The Cells Alive! web site is the work of James Sullivan. Cell cycle requires Macromedia Flash Player. (***1/2) -S
September 10, 2003 - AskERIC: Lesson Plans in Botany
AskERIC is an outreach program of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), a national information system funded by the U.S. Department of Education that provides a variety of services and products on a broad range of education-related issues. This web page features 18 lesson plans on botany. The preponderance of these are for grades 1-4. Plans cover a wide range of topics from bark casts, leaves, Bonsai, monocots & dicots, to photosynthesis & transpiration, trees, cacti and flowers. Lessons are subjected to peer evaluation and assessment of their educational value. Ratings may also be submitted by viewers through checkoff buttons at the bottom of each plan. These lessons form a nice resource publicly available for educational uses. Site by ERIC. (***1/2) -S
September 9, 2003 - ExploreLearning: Photosynthesis
ExploreLearning uses clever interactive software models called "gizmos" to protray complex mathematical interactions. Their treatment of photosynthesis is designed to explore relationships between light intensity, light color and carbon dioxide with oxygen production. The results are shown on tables (as raw data) and plotted on graphs. The theoretical basis of the work is predictable enough, but it is hard to believe that middle school students will have the patience to wait for the apparatus to stabilize--but it is quite a believable effect. Results can be copied to the clipboard and saved in a word or graphics processor. Very clever; does require free registration. Site by ExploreLearning requires Macromedia Flash Player. (****) -S
September 8, 2003 - Growing Pains: Assessing the Complexities in Plant Growth and Reproduction
The New York Times sponsors "Teachers Connections"--a site featuring lesson plans for elementary and secondary education. The center point of this lesson plan is a NYT article on the 4,600 year old Methuselah tree begeting new offspring. Using this as a basis of discussion, the lesson plan explores the difficulties of assisting plant growth. State science standards (collected by Achieve, Inc. and McREL [Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning]) are provided as supporting reference material. Important web resources are also included. (***1/2) -S
September 5, 2003 - Australian New Crops Web Site
The Australian New Crops Web Site is a service that organizers hope will improve communications among new crops workers in Australia and elsewhere. Publications include the Australian New Crops Newsletter and New Crops Publications. Plants featured in the Newletter vary from ginseng to a wide range of native crops. This site emphasizes that new crops require an integrated plan of development within a whole industry framework to become agriculturally and economically feasible. Site by Rob Fletcher, School of Agriculture and Horticulture, University of Queensland, Gatton, Australia. (***1/2) -S
September 4, 2003 - 1upINFO: Botany Encyclopedia, General Articles
The 1upINFO site provides an online encyclopedia with numerous articles on many topics. This link provides access to those on botany. Advantages of the site include: ready links and instant indexing of terms; entries are succinct and accurate. Disadvantages of the site include: lack of illustrations, short entries (not really encyclopedic). Although the articles are nice, ads seem to take priority over content; pop-up windows may appear with each mouse click (I guess that is how they pay for the site). The coverage is reasonably good, though the depth often spotty. This site is part of the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, copyright by Columbia University Press. (***) -S
September 3, 2003 - ARKive - Images of Life on Earth
ARKive envisions itself as a "Noah's Ark for the Internet era" -- part of a virtual conservation effort, with a goal of archiving web-accessible information on 11,000 species threatened with extinction. This will represent a massive, centralized digital library of films, photographs and data about these endangered species. The site is planned as a comprehensive and enduring audio-visual record of these species. The scope, quality, and depth of materials available here is amazing. The site is most easily viewed and navigated using a modern browser, though still visible on old ones. ARKive is a not-for-profit initiative of The Wildscreen Trust. Equally impressive are sister sites: Planet ARKive (for children 9-10 years old) and ARKive Education (for parents and teachers). (****) -S
September 2, 2003 - The Evolutionary History of Green Plants
This site at Palaeos.Com covers a wide diversity of green plant evolution-related topics, including palaeontology, evolution, systematics, geochronology, earth systems, diversity of life, ecology, and timescale. This site is punctuated with textbook illustrations and a systematic emphasis. The coverage of major phyla and kingdoms make this site a suitable reference for a plant-centered tree of life. Sadly, the navigation devices take up too much space, but the detail is there if you scroll for it. Site by M. Alan Kazlev, part of a larger history of life site. (***1/2) -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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