Scott's Botanical Links--May 2005

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May 31, 2005 - Know Your Grasses (Texas-based)
Know Your Grasses presents the grasses of Texas, with a black-and-white scanned drawing and a description of each species. The main means of accessing the species is a table of contents in alphabetical order by common name, with an accompanying scientific name. A vegetation map, available though the regional map link, is useful to find out which grasses are usually found in the region. Although designed for Texas, this may be useful for a number of mid-southern states. Authors: G.O. Hoffman, J. Daniel Rogers, R.J. Ragsdale, Roy V. Miller, provided through Texas A & M University. (***) -SR
May 30, 2005 - Scientific Names: How to Say Them
Since scienfic names are Latin, many beginners find them quite hard to pronounce (or remember, for that matter). This site provides some formalized guidance on spoken Latin and its meaning. There are two systems of pronunciation using English Latin - a traditional and an academic. Nonetheless, once learned, speaking Latin words is not forgotten easily. One warning, however, is that each country seems to have its own dialect, for instance Italian Latin. Although Latin is theoretically dead, I would suspect that Italians have a home court advantage. Meanings of epithets and the appropriate endings to the words are also useful to know. This is a useful site for learning how to say the proper names of plants--a skill for scientists and learned gardeners alike. (***1/2) -SR
May 27, 2005 - FreeDictionary.Com
FreeDictionary.Com provides a free dictionary that advertises itself as lacking popup ads with two provisos: there are context sensitive ads and some context could not be acquired free and therefore is for purchase. Besides these observations, the site presents good coverage of English words, including many botanical terms. Synomyms, antonyms and related words are given and linked. Pages are lavishly hyperlinked; critical terms often link to their own pages. The home page has items of interest, including: words, quotes, articles and people of the day, as well as the day in history, and popular search terms. (***) -S
May 26, 2005 - Great Petaluma Desert: Home of the Fat Plants
The Great Petaluma Desert site features specially adapted arid plants known as "fat plants" because their stems are so disproportionately large. The principal business of the Great Petaluma Desert shop is selling plants, but in the course of their work they have posted numerous images of fat plants (see discussion group link at bottom of the home page), and also an expedition to South Africa, home to some of the most spectacular of the Old World fat plants. At least the images are free. Growth facilities and other nursery activies are linked throught the nursery info page. (***1/2) -SR
May 25, 2005 - Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum features a unique collection of desert plants in their native habitats in the Tucson area. This web site accompanies the experience, with information on the park, exhibits, kid stuff, educational materials and local research. Web pages on local topics are well constructed, concerning a biological survey of Ironwood Forest National Monument, Eastern Sonora Ecological Studies, Baja California Succulent Diversity, Migratory Pollinators Project, Regional Natural History and Image Galleries, and Invasive Species. Particularly noteworthy is a Desert in Bloom site that documents how the Sonoran Desert bursts into bloom when spring rains trigger massive seed germination, and lawns of wildflowers bloom (see wildflower alerts under Desert in Bloom). Site by the museum. (***1/2) -SR
May 24, 2005 - Strange Days on Planet Earth
Strange Days on Planet Earth is a companion site to a four part series on PBS. Under this enigmatic title, four themes of global change are presented, including invaders, temperature change, predators and water quality. The source of the troubles is never obvious, but always seems to trace back to human action, with consequences that are difficult to predict. In the show on predators, one example involves the relationship between the decline of jaguar populations and the demise of Venezuelan rain forests. This site presents and examines scientific evidence, with an accompanying teacher's guide for classroom use. This series is produced by National Geographic Society. (****) -SR
May 23, 2005 - Association Endemia - Faune et Flore de Nouvelle CalÚdonie
Through a remarkable combination of environmental stability and isolation, New Caledonia has the richest collection of endemic fauna and flora species found in the world today, including many relictual species that are extinct elsewhere. This association collects scientific information on these species and makes the information and databases free to the public, of course, in French, which is the governing language. The database on the Tracheophytes includes 3243 species, including 2407 endemics, with illustrations for 1174 of these species, so it may be worthwhile to learn some French if you wish to examine some of the most unusual and ancient plants. For those who are linguistically impaired, you may look at the remarkable, often unique images, or translate the pages at Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.com/) or an equivalent web translation service. (****) -SR
May 20, 2005 - Eye of Science: Life in a Microcosmic World
Eye of Science is devoted to artistic scientific imaging where the portrayal of microscopic structure becomes art in its own sake. Colorized scanning electron microscopic images of commonplace materials provides both scientific and aesthetic insight into the world in which we live. Although there are relatively few botanical images on the EOS site (these can be reached through the gallery link, partially hidden in gray), the quality and impact are high. Many images are offered for sale at other sites, but you can enjoy their thumbnail images for free. Images by Oliver Meckes and Nicole Ottawa. (****) -SR
May 19, 2005 - UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
This site for the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research is quite ambitious, with features as diverse as seminar schedules, essays, plant conservation, research, projects, plants, blogs, RSS and more. Perhaps the best constructed departmental site that I have found, the webmaster, Daniel Mosquin, has picked up a variety of news feeds from the world around, as well as a photo of the day and most information a visitor would ever want. I am flattered that one of his news feeds on Resources and Writings is my recent botanical links. This is a great place to see botanical news from around the world and also about the UBC garden and research as well. (****) -SR
May 18, 2005 - Eco-Portal - The EnvironmentalSustainability.Info Source
Eco-Portal is a companion site to Climate Ark, with the goal of collecting information, mostly in the form of external links, on news items related to ecology and global sustainability. In addition, there are links to search tools, a news archive, news feed, site Links, a blog, and overview of the site, discussion board, sources and a site map. This is another ambitious and frequently updated site by Glen Berry, Ecological Internet, Inc., Madison, WI. (***) -SR
May 17, 2005 - Climate Ark - Climate Change Portal
Climate Ark is a web site devoted to collecting information, mostly in the form of external links, on news items related to global climate change. In addition, there are links to search tools, a news archive, site Links, a blog, and overview of the site, discussion board, sources and a site map. This is an ambitious and frequently updated site by Glen Berry, President ClimateArk, a project of Ecological Internet, Inc., Madison, WI. (***1/2) -SR
May 16, 2005 - An Introduction to Lichens
An Introduction to Lichens is essentially a one-page overview to the organization and diversity of lichens. This site hosts a concise description of fungi as an algal-fungus symbiosis, outlining the association of the two organisms, and providing information about their spread, identification, use as environmental indicators and ecological importance. The 13-term glossary and links to other sites makes this an ideal one page reference for a beginning botany course. This site is by Salvatore De Santis, an herbarium intern at New York Botanical Garden. (***1/2) -SR
May 13, 2005 - Great Botanical Books: A Booksellers' Perspective
This web site represents a script of a presentation on the Great Botanical Books at the Natural History Museum, London, England in 1997. This erudite site recounts a remarkable number of paradigm shifting publications of the early through the medieval to modern times. Relatively few of the works are discussed because there are few of these sources that have survived for many of the books that you mentioned. This site recalls a proud history and is now privately hosted and maintained. (***1/2) -SR
May 12, 2005 - Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse
SWEPIC is a shared effort to compile information on exotic species of the US Southwest, serving to "protect the ecological and economic values of southwest resources from degradation from harmful non-native weeds". Pages on the site focus on weedy species and their profiles, weed lists, noxious (and other) weed lists, maps, and interactive maps (as available) of Southwest non-native invasive plants. The site also includes the Southwest Exotic Plant Mapping Program (SWEMP). Contibuting agencies include the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and Northern Arizona University (***1/2) -SR
May 11, 2005 - Pfiesteria and Harmful Algal Blooms in the Mid-Atlantic
Pfiesteria piscicida is a microscopic oceanic dinoflagellated that is perhaps the most common and virulent of close to one hundred algal types. A principal problem with these algae is the production of toxins that may kill fish and affect human health. Algal bloom species have become serious in estuaries in North Carolina and Delaware and in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The site has information about key locations for coverage, some key current research results and external web links for principally dinoflagellates. (***1/2) -SR
May 10, 2005 - Bryophyte Flora of North America
This web site coordinates and facilitates the preparation, by more than 80 specialists worldwide, of volumes 27, 28 and 29 of the Flora of North America (FNA). Chapters on the 123 families of the mosses, liverworts and hornworts of the Bryophyta are assigned to numerous scientists on a genus by genus basis. For each chapter, artwork and text is published online as each chapter (or genus) is available. Only a small part of this work is completed at this time. The Lead Editor (and webmaster) of these three volumes is Richard Zander of Missouri Botanical Garden. (***1/2) -SR
May 9, 2005 - Res Botanica
Res Botanica means "Botanical Business" or "Botanical Concerns." This site has information on botanical Latin, the Bryophyte Flora of North America, bryology, chestnuts, education, selected essays, Flora Online, floristics, history, methods, miscellaneous, Niagara issues, philosophy, nomenclature, phylogenetics and selected reprints. On this electic site, many concerns are discussed in a botanical context. This site is by Richard H. Zander and Patricia M. Eckel of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. (***) -SR
May 6, 2005 - Malvaceae.Info
The Malvaceae.Info website features information and images on members of the Malvaceae (mallow family) in the widest sense, including such loosely allied plants as baobabs, balsa, kapok, kola, cacao, limes (lindens), durians and a wide variety of other plants. Information on groups is detailed for some genera, and mainly images for others. Many offsite images are also linked at the site, which is a nice site to start with if you are interested in the biology of these interesting and attractive plants. Some of the images are quite striking. This is the work of Stewart R. Hinsley, who has continued to build the site over the years. (***1/2) -SR
May 5, 2005 - UNESCO World Heritage Center
The World Heritage Center was established through a 1972 World Heritage Convention document that linked the goals of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. There are currently 788 natural and cultural places inscribed on the World Heritage List, including many of the most recognizable landmarks (e.g. the Statue of Liberty), but also many less famous sites all around the world that deserve protection through international recognition of their importance. The Flash media map is highly detailed and has an impressive zoom ratio. This site includes many unique natural areas and information about them. (***) -SR
May 4, 2005 - PhyloCode
The PhyloCode website contains information on an emerging set of rules governing phylogenetic nomenclature that arose with the modern tree of life research. This new code of nomenclature uses explicit reference to clades and phylogeny and is designed to be used contemperaneously with the current International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. The PhyloCode will unambiguously identify clades, define their meanings and limitations, and present a more tightly defined system of terminology in phylogenetic works. It is projected to be implemented in 2006. -SR
May 3, 2005 - Why do Paleobotanists Believe in a Cretaceous Origin of Angiosperms?
This website presents a wealth of paleobotanical evidence on the origin of flowering plants, with evidence for and against a Cretaceous origin. Conflict arises in that macrofossil evidence of angiosperms arising before the Cretaceous is controversial. Microfossil evidence of angiosperm-like pollen, however, exists before that time. This site by Bruce Cornet illustrates landmark images from the literature. This site compiles evidence from disparate sources, including information from pollen and pollinators, to mass extinction and mechanisms for rapid diversification. Dr. Cornet is not a stranger to controversy, and in fact he seems to invite it, but regardless of the accuracy of his opinions, the compilation of data by itself represents a significant resource. -SR
May 2, 2005 - Human Cloning: Techniques, history and perspectives
Among the techniques of biotechnology, no bioethics issue is more controversial than human cloning. This site, created for a Stanford University course taught by Michael John Gorman, explores the techniques of in vitro fertilization and cloning, a timeline of cloning, current policies, and viewpoints. An historical perspective on this issue is provided by viewing the issue in the eyes of six figures from different historical periods, including Aristotle (384-322 BC), Ovid (43 BC-17 AC), Paracelsus (1493-1541), von Kempelen (1734-1804), Shelley (1797-1851), to Kac (1962-present)--the latter an artist who created the GFP bunny, blurring the distinction between cloning and art. Paracelsus derived philosophical theories on man's spiritual and physical being that present a unique scholarly view of the subject at the close of Medieval days. This is a very thought provoking site that should be interesting to anyone teaching biology. (****) -SR
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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

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http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/bot-linx/may05.shtml