Scott's Botanical Links--February 2002


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Past links:

February 28, 2002 - Biodiversity Economics Library
Biodiversity is threatened largely because of economic pressures. This site presents resources that provide long term economic reasons for sustaining biodiversity. Much of the library consists of PDF files, which require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Major headings include Business, Finance, Incentives, Trade, Assessment, and Valuation. Each heading has subheadings on hot topics (literature), key events (conferences, meetings) and useful links (Internet resources). An excellent resource based largely on a collation of the primary literature, this site is sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Some donors to the site are monetary and others have contributed literature. (****) -S
February 27, 2002 - TopoZone.Com
TopoZone.Com has downloadable USGS (United States Geological Survey) topographic maps of the US in several scales, including 1:100,000, 1:63,360, 1:25,000, and 1:24,000. This resource can be especially useful in plotting plant distributions and locating plant populations. The maps have a useful search feature as well. Most of the resources on this site are available for free. Those who hike, or just want to know where they are on the map, may find this site useful. (***1/2) -S
February 26, 2002 - Rare, Endangered and Vulnerable Plants of the Republic of Georgia
The Republic of Georgia is a biodiversity hot spot that is in danger from habitat distruction. At present, there are 1200 at-risk species listed with habitat and geographic distribution. The site includes an introduction, list of families, image browser and a long PDF file of the list (91 pp). Preferable to the PDF is the web version, which includes a small collection of modest sized photos of selected plants. Site by Marina Eristavi, Tatyana Shulkina, Shalva Sikhuralidze & Lamara Asieshvili through the N. Ketskhoveli Institute of Botany, Georgia Academy of Sciences and Missouri Botanical Garden. (***1/2) -S
February 25, 2002 - Phylum Bryophyta - Mosses
The Phylum Bryophyta, or mosses, include a diversity of land plants that are remarkably specialized, with leaves, stems and rhizoids. They even have vein-like structures in leaves and stems. Some cells approach a vascular-like tissue. Sporophytes and gametophytes are lucidly explained with the major terminological groups examined. Images are provided of major stages of the life cycle using macroscopic and microscopic views. Links are provided for additional images and to the hepatic DNA holdings in Genbank. Site by Dan Nickrent and Karen Renzaglia. (***1/2) -S
February 22, 2002 - Phylum Hepatophyta: The Liverworts
The Phylum Hepatophyta, or liverworts, include three major types: leafy, simple thalloid, and complex thalloid. Introductory botany classes only emphasize the latter group, which is sad given the incredible diversity of the group. The filmy leaves and glistening surface of leafy liverworts is striking. Sporophytes and gametophytes are lucidly explained and all organs shown. The images provided are high quality and include macroscopic and a few microscopic views. (Some work is still pending on phylogenetic relationships and character lists.) Links are provided for additional images (outdated though) and to the hepatic DNA holdings in Genbank. Site by Dan Nickrent and Karen Renzaglia. (***1/2) -S
February 21, 2002 - UW System Botanical Image Library
The University of Wisconsin system offers this site for botanical instruction across the state and beyond. Most of the slides are donated by UW-Madison's Botany 130 collection, which provides images of nearly 40 topics, ranging from angiosperm diversity to cell biology. These images are modest in size, but high in technical quality. There is little said about the topic of the images. As a resource, it is most useful for students (or instructors) who are already familiar with the material or have a good textbook. This is an outstanding resource for still images. The site also features some multimedia presentations using Macromedia Authorware (requires appropriate plug-in). (***1/2) -SR
February 20, 2002 - Botany, Master Gardener Training
This site provides one of the best overall botanical review sites that I have seen. Units include an introduction, plant life cycles, internal plant parts, external plant parts, plant growth & development, environmental factors affecting growth, plants in communities and plant hormones & growth regulators. There are also quizzes at the end. Initial links include studying hints and other useful educational information. This page is part of the Extension Service, Oregon State University, and is part of their external instruction program. For those who are interested, there is some informative, well presented and well illustrated basic botany here. (****) -S
February 19, 2002 - Phylum Anthocerophyta - Hornworts
Hornworts have always occupied a special interest in evolutionary plant biology. After all, these are the only land plants in which both the gametophyte (haploid plant, which produces gametes) and sporophyte (diploid plant, which produces spores) are indeterminate, though there is little more to the sporophyte than the spore-producing capsule. Currently, this group is viewed as a basal offshoot to the other land plants (but wait for the next round of molecular data to come in). This site has detailed descriptions and abundant illustrations on the organization, organography and reproduction of these interesting plants. They also have the best collection of hornwort images I have seen. (****) -S
February 18, 2002 - BOTANY Online - The Internet Hypertextbook
This is an encore listing of what is really the ultimate botany text book. Up to now, 43 themes have been translated into English. The current major headings include: an Introduction; Anatomy of Cells and Tissues; Classic Genetics; Molecules and Molecular Reactions in Plant Cells; Intercellular Communication; Interactions between Plants and Fungi, Bacteria, Viruses; Evolution; Plant Kingdom - an Overview; Ecology. Some of the chapters are traditional and some are contributed exercises and essays. As the authors note, this web site will be constantly under construction. Visit often and send encouraging emails. In the case of this online textbook, you receive far more than you paid for it--in this case, much more. Over 50 authors have provided materials, compiled and maintained by the lead authors, Alice Bergfeld, Rolf Bergmann, and Peter v. Sengbusch. (****) -S
February 15, 2002 - The Elements of Style
Surprisingly (perhaps to beginning students), the sciences provide no refuge for those who cannot express themselves well. There is constantly a demand to write sentences that are clear, precise and succinct, and not necessarily much guidance from the sciences. "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. dates back to 1918, but remains arguably the most concise guide to the basic rules of effective expression in English. Wordiness, non sequitir and vagueness limit the usefulness of scientific literature. The examples and style of this classic remain as crisp today. Worth a bookmark and periodic study, it is sad that Barlesby has despoiled it with banner ads! (****) -S
February 14, 2002 - DNA for Dinner?
This site presents the complexities of establishing public policy for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), particularly in the context of biotechnology of food crops. This site provides information on both sides of the issue and also some practical class exercises. Although the exercises seems more designed for a secondary school environment, there are links that take the information to a greater depth. Certainly, this can be a very charged issue, although to a lesser degree in the U.S. than in many other countries. Site by William E. Peace. (***1/2) -S
February 13, 2002 - BIODIC Image Gallery
If you are looking for electron microscopic pictures of biological specimens from plants to organelles, this site is one you will appreciate. There are currently 1107 images of both transmission and scanning electron micrographs listed by organelle. An interactive menu deftly subdivides potential interests and guides you to a gallery of thumbnail images. These list a size for the final image size, but all I have seen seem to be about half of the dimensions listed. The most major weakness is that no explanations are given, so the instructor needs to be able to discriminate plant from animal images, mode of preservation and type of microscopy. Nonetheless, there are not many such sites and the images are reasonably high quality. Contact person is Prof. Louis De Vos, Free University of Brussels, Belgium. (***) -S
February 12, 2002 - Cycad Photo Gallery
This cycad gallery is a companion to the palm gallery featured yesterday. This site currently has 437 images with scientific names and many to species. The collection is browsable by list, thumbnail images, and search engine. Images are half page and have no descriptions, but most genera are represented, especially Encephalartos and Zamia. This site is associated with a garden store in Encinitas, California. Site by Phil Bergman. (***1/2) -S
February 11, 2002 - Palm Tree Photo Gallery
Twenty years of photographing palms are presented on this site, with some 1544 images of palms - all with scientific names and most to species. The collection is browsable by list and thumbnail images, but with 97 pages of thumbnails, the search engine is a welcome feature! The site is composed of just images, no data and no common names, but a wonderful resource for the diversity of plants shown. Most are cultivated specimens, and many of the plant species are represented by several images. This site is also associated with a garden store in Encinitas, California. Site by Phil Bergman. (***) -S
February 8, 2002 - Googlewhacking: The Search for 'The One'
Everyone has heard of - and most have used - the most popular search engine "Google" ( Usually real words reveal quite a few matches among the 2,073,418,204 web pages in the search engine today. Those that turn up no hits are often misspellings! Googlewhacking is a pursuit of the one true match in two billion, a rising web fad for the moment. I tried to find one with Scott in it that matched a page on my site. I did not do very well because I needed four words ("Scott Reykjavik Solis Muntinlupa"), but this is short-lived. When Google sees my site of the day, it will no longer be unique. Well, this is the nature of Googlewhacking and sharing. Perhaps, during this weekend you can do better! ...while you are not working, of course. -S
February 7, 2002 - Commitment to Origins: On Good Grounds
Starbucks owes its livelihood to coffee and presents this site as an example of their commitment to biodiversity and protection of the rainforest, highlighting El Triunfo. This site covers the life/harvest cycle of coffee, biodiversity hot spots around the world, special animals of the El Triunfo, and interactions in the rain forest. The beans for the shade grown Mexican coffees bring top price, stimulating an economic benefit for naturally grown rain forest beans. There is no doubt of sponsorship, and you can find out where to buy sustainable coffees here, but you also learn that $3 for a cup of coffee can buy a very good website. This one is aimed at the upper high school level but is active enough to support younger and older interests. (****) -S
February 6, 2002 - Nature Conservancy Carribean Island Metadata
A collection of reasonably high definition data maps (some >4000 pixels wide) of Carribean islands is provided at this site. Color coding provides vegetation types, with a legend on the far right. These data are part of the Inter-American Geospatial Data Network (IGDN), a project that uses geospatial data to characterize areas of the islands for conservation. Partners include Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and for this dataset, The Nature Conservancy. (****) -S
February 5, 2002 - Catalog of the Woody Plants of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Biological Survey is a University of Oklahoma and state agency involved in the inventory and protection of natural habitats. This site was constructed to aid in the study and identification of woody plants in Oklahoma (there are about 330), though many of these species occur throughout the central U.S. Information provided includes: family, common name, synonyms, botanical description, distribution, habitats, comments, an Oklahoma distribution map and photographs, as available. This is a useful site for identifications, but it helps knowing the scientific names. Site by Bruce Hoagland, Oklahoma Biological Survey. (****) -S
February 4, 2002 - Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics
MathWorld is an amazing resource for all sorts of mathematical formulae, concepts and terminologies. If you have a specific question regarding topics from algebra, to geometry, to calculus, to topology, this is a resource you need. Each page (and there are almost 2000) describes a specific math problem or concept with excellent clarity and definitive accuracy. There is also a sad story of attempt to control the web site by a print publisher. This is an outstanding site if you ever do mathematical modeling, biological problem solving or need a math dictionary. Site sponsored by Wolfram Corp. (****) -S
February 1, 2002 - Hawaiian Reef Algae
Hawaiian Reef Algae - Your gateway to limu! is a teaching site run by Peter S. Vroom, Botany Department, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Although much of the content is meant for classes, this site provides detailed images and information on marine algae. Many of those shown are ubiquitous to tropical waters. The site has many dichotomous keys, taxonomic data, and provides useful images for quick identifications, at least to family and genus. The keys have a disclaimer that the materials are meant for class, but the keys are functional and well designed. A very information rich site for novices to beginning graduate students. (****) -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