Scott's Botanical Links--May 1999


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Past links:

May 31, 1999 - Memorial Day
Memorial Day Holiday. (****) -SR
May 28, 1999 - How the Terminator Terminates
This site explains, "for the non-scientist", how the "terminator" gene will prevent farmers from planting second generation seeds of crop plants. In brief, this engineered gene will allow farmers to sow seeds and grow plants that set fruit, but the seeds abort due to production of a late stage toxin. For agricultural companies, this "protects their investment" but may but may prevent the best seed from being planted in third world countries which cannot afford to buy seed annually. This report is a scientifically solid explanation of a biotechnology breakthrough that will be a major issue for years. Paper by Martha L. Crouch, Associate Professor of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington for the Edmonds Institute. References but no photographs - deal with it! (***) -SR
May 27, 1999 - Los Areboles en Espana
This database of trees cultivated in Spain is fully illustrated with text principally in Spanish and an English homepage. Included in the database are common and Latin names, with information on seeds (collection, cleaning, storage & some photographs), edible fruits, bark structure, leaves and classification. Given the technical nature of science, language may not be as big a barrier as some other fields, but if you need help in English, visit where a translation program can convert content into dictionary English (rough, but better than nothing!). Site by Jose Manuel Sanchez, member of A.E.A. (Spanish Society of Arboriculture) and AEPJP (Spanish Association of Parks and Public Gardens). (****) -SR
May 26, 1999 - ENSIWEB - Evolution and Nature of Science
This site includes selected classroom lesson plans to help biology teachers present basic concepts in the areas of evolution and science more effectively. Three topics were covered in detail: Nature of Science, Evolution, and Origin of Life. Developed and tested during nine years of summer institutes by biology teachers from across the nation, this work was funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted by Indiana University. (***1/2) -SR
May 25, 1999 - Plant Map of Costa Rica
This site highlights a dozen or so economically important plants found in the tropical climate of Costa Rica. Each topic is accompanied by photos and detailed descriptions. Designed at a beginning undergraduate level, this is a nice introduction to some of the more striking plants. This site was created by Barry Hammel, InBio (Costa Rica's National Institute of Biodiversity - note links to their species biodiversity database) on the Missouri Botanical Garden's site. (***1/2) -SR
May 24, 1999 - Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database
This site is dedicated to matching botanical names (valid with past or present synonyms) with common names in many languages. The database, which has been under construction for the last several years will still be under construction for another decade or more. Some of the data are presented on other comparable sites, this one ambitiously attempts to integrate all of the data. Site and database by Michel H. Porcher, Insitute of Land and Food Resources, University of Melbourne, Australia. (****) -SR
May 21, 1999 - Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk
Tom Clothier's website features some truly cool articles, photographs, anecdotes, and useful information, with most enjoyable style. He explains, "A few of the articles have been written by guest authors with real botanical or horticultural credentials." But his own essays, like "Botanical Binomials- What Do Plant Names Mean?" are chock full of wise sayings such as "Do not do business with a seller of seeds or plants that does not provide you with the botanical name of the plant," and "Systematics must be the most engaging area of Botany, because there is no level in the classification of plants which is not under assault." Things are pretty well summed up in the section titled "Non-Insect Pests," where, it is so profoundly witten, "Left alone, nature will provide the proper balance, but it is our destiny to interfere with nature at every opportunity." Site by Tom Clothier, Zone 5a, 20 miles southwest of Chicago, IL.(****)LF
May 20, 1999 - Kansas Wildflowers
It would be great if all the United States of America each had at least one wildflower site like "Kansas Wildflowers" and all would link to each other. The method of indexing is most accommodating, with links to close up photographs and data organized by Common Name, Scientific Name, and Color, with a separate link for Native Grasses. Two new scintillating features on the site include the "Glossary" and "Nomenclature Authorites," a list of abbreviated author names, having short biographical entries for each. Not just another roadside wildflower guide, here flower children and professors alike can download their favorites for personal use and study at this site by Mike Haddock, Agriculture Librarian and Science Libraries Web Coordinator at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.(****)LF
May 19, 1999 - AGRALIN Desktop Library
AGRALIN is an acronym for "Agricultural Bibliographic Information System of the Netherlands." Its Desktop Library is loaded with biological, botanical, agricultural, and environmental databases, some with free access. The heavy-hitters are available by subscription through the Silver Platter Databases office in Boston. A snap to navigate, the Library is concisely organized into Shortcuts (direct links to library resources), Guide, and Services.The Bibliographies feature is great for students looking for citations to organize research papers, providing links or other means to search the contents of a number of major biological journals. At the Electronic Reference Desk find conversion tables, encyclopedias, dictionaries, glossaries, biographies, phone books, maps, and more! Site by Wageningen Agricultural University and the Agricultural Research Department DLO, Netherlands.(****)LF
May 18, 1999 - Spanish Moss- Its Nature, History, and Uses
Tillandsia usneoides is a plant capable not only of causing consternation to new property owners in Florida who fear it is a parasite devouring everything in the yard, but improperly treated and brought into the home as decor, it can also result in an unwelcome onslaught of chiggers in all the wrong places. It is shrouded in myth, folklore and old wives tales, enjoying a long history of practical uses. It is also misnamed as a "moss," being in reality an epiphyte. Plants such as these can be made into very useful one page web gems, like this one titled "Spanish Moss- Its Nature, History and Uses." The text is well referenced with numerous links throughout to various authorities on the subject. Highly recommended for moss (information) gathering individuals, don't miss this site by Dennis Adams, Information Services Coordinator, Beaufort County Library, Beaufort, SC.(****)LF
May 17, 1999 - The Phytochemical World
Now that the web has triggered an insatiable thirst for instant answers to type-in questions, it is good to see internet presentations accepted as Master's projects which once completed might otherwise languish in a filing cabinet for none to enjoy. This outstanding introduction to plant secondary metabolism assumes a general background in organic and biochemistry, providing molecular structures and biosynthetic pathways for a number of Flavonoids, Alkaloids, Phenylpropanoids, and Terpenoids. Case studies, such as "The Absinthe Drinkers," "Cocaine" and the scientific explanation of pink/blue hydrangea sepals are excellent choices to pique interest in the subject of phytochemistry. Site by Michael Looney, Department of Plant Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.(****)LF
May 14, 1999 - Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Dr. Alice B. Russell has several guides on the internet published through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, and "Poisonous Plants of North Carolina" has a number of plants on its list that are found in everyday horticulture or in the wild just about everywhere plants are sold. Text entries, indexed by common and scientific names have at least one accompanying image. Most cool is the Search by Plant Part search engine, where, for example, if one wanted to narrow down what leaves might be poisonous (part) out in the yard (location), one need only check the appropriate boxes and voilá, a list of likely culprits! Site by Alice B. Russell, James W. Hardin, and Larry Grand, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.(****)LF
May 13, 1999 - Everglades Field Trip
Part of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke, and under the direction of Curtis J. Richardson, The Wetland Center has been keeping tabs on the hydrology, nutrient cycling, and biology of the Florida Everglades for the last eight years. "Everglades Field Trip" is excerpted from a research project, and summarizes the Everglades, its formation (geology) and natural attributes with a look at anthropogenic effects and present day reclamation efforts. Hydrology, so far probably the least understood aspect of the Everglades, is introduced very well. Not until recently was it openly discussed that the Everglades are much bigger than the Park and the Water Conservation Areas (WCA). Now, even Floridians have a shot at understanding the world's most expensive wetland restoration, if they'll diligently check out this site by Spencer Crowley, Duke University, Durham, NC. (****)LF
May 12, 1999 - USDA PPQ Scientific Services
The Biotechnology Permits page of this section of USDA's Plant Protection and Quarantine Division, in addition to providing services to aid applicants in the process of introducing genetically engineered organisms, has a valuable list of link resources for keeping botanists and biologists abreast of the times. The "Biology of Crop Plants" compiles useful summaries for 7 major crop species; a BSS Biosafety Library contains a collection of biosafety/risk assessment documents and resources. There's the Federal Noxious Weed List, Common Viruses In Plants and the State Virus List of widely prevalent viruses by state, as well as the elusive Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program (FWS) State Lists of Endangered Species, and U.S. Endangered Species Indices of Listed Flowering Plant Species. Site by John T. Turner,USDA, APHIS, PPQ, Riverdale, MD. (****)LF
May 11, 1999 - Photomicrographs of Phytoplankton at the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility
There's always room for another Euglena or Chlamydomonas in the life of the biologist- this image collection represents members of the Bacillariophyceae, Chlorophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Cryptophyceae, Cyanophyceae, and Euglenophyceae at the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility. A Key to the Algae links genera to images containing an embedded scale. A brief written description of each alga is provided, references, and summary of the facility's work, all adding up to a well-rounded presentation at this site by Scott Davis, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.****LF
May 10, 1999 - Wildflower Nirvana
Not just another flower-power website, Wildflower Nirvana is a mother lode of images for teachers and students seeking high quality photographic close-ups with focus directly on the flower or floral parts. Represented are Cacti and Succulents, Eastern United States Woodland Plants, Florida Wildflowers, Midwestern United States Prairie Plants, Orchids, and Puerto Rican Native Plants, all indexed by Common Name, Scientific Name, and Category (i.e Shrub, Tree, Annual, Perennial). The Florida collection is outstanding, offering a look at several plants seldom seen by the South Florida botanists, such as Cuthbertia ornata, Scutellaria arenicola, and Pogonia ophioglossoides; though like what's left of Florida native flora, the list is decidedly peppered with a few would-be natives from the West Indies and elsewhere. Altogether these photographs are worth a special trip! Site by Rufino Osorio ****LF
May 6, 1999 - Biology of Plants - Raven, Evert and Eichhorn
Increasingly, the sale of textbooks is becoming tied to book-specific websites. This is a model companion site to the popular introductory college textbook entitled "Biology of Plants." On the site are over 400 illustrations, 35 animations, answers to selected study questions, many annotated web links, flashcards, essays and in the future, quiz resources--each grouped chapter by chapter. Requires free QuickTime and Shockwave software for full functionality. Site by W.H. Freeman & Co. (****) -SR
May 5, 1999 - Aquaculture Facility Algae Guide
This newly opened site emphasizes photomicrographs of freshwater algae currently in culture at the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility. The current image collection has over 100 photos of algae from six major groups (including cyanobacteria). The major limitation is that the images are not really big enough for many microscopists and there are refractile margins around the objects. Still, this is among the largest sites of its kind and is still growing; good for getting an overview of microalgal diversity. Site by Scott Davis, Clemson University, Clemson, SC. (***) -SR
May 4, 1999 - Anthophyta - Flowering Plants
This site constitutes a three-page overview of flowering plants. The first page covers angiosperm evolution, diversity, monocots vs. dicots, and ovary morphology. The second page summarizes the typical angiosperm life cycle, with images of pollen, embryo sac and embryo formation. The third page discusses functional modification of flowers, and classification of flowers, dry and fleshy fruits. A quiz (covering gymnosperms also) is linked to page two. This site is part of an online course, H&CS 300 - General Plant Biology by Michael Knee, The Ohio State University. (***1/2) -SR [OSU courses were reviewed before 9/24/96.]
May 3, 1999 - National Severe Storms Laboratory
On May 3, 1999, the most severe storms of recorded history in Oklahoma ripped through much of the metropolitan Oklahoma City area leaving scores dead and hundreds of homes destroyed. The NSSL, which is located on the North Base of OU, researches such storms in the very center of tornado alley. At least one of the tornados on May 3 reached F5--which is the highest the scale goes--with winds of up to 300 mph, capable of leaving buildings as bare foundations. Due to their efforts and those of local TV stations, which broadcast live radar and helicopter views, people were forewarned of the storms and took shelter. The efforts of the NSSL are romanticized in the movie "Twister" which was filmed here (at 20 times the cost of the research project that they described!). To learn about storms and link to an excellent tutorial, go to their tornado pages. Site by NSSL, Norman, OK. (***1/2) -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
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