Scott's Botanical Links--October 2002


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Past links:

October 31, 2002 - Lycaeum Images
Lycaeum is the ancient school of Aristotle, where many scholars, including Theophrastes, the founder of many basic botanical concepts, taught. This site is still one of free exchange of ideas. Many of the 1284 images posted are related to botanical medicine -- plants that produce drugs and the plant products themselves. Although many of the images are not accompanied by any narrative material, the images are nonetheless quite compelling. The images of plants are among the best available. Needless to say, medical advice should come from physicians and this does not advocate use of plant products as drugs; my link is just to bring attention to the plant images and plant products. (***1/2) -S
October 30, 2002 - Why do leaves change color in the Fall?
An annual question for botanists is why trees drop their leaves and why the colors change as they do. This is a one-page site designed as an outreach effort by the ASU Photosynthesis Center, with funding by NSF. In addition to a nice narrative, there are also three projects, fun facts and a word scramble. Subscriptions to their "Science Made Simple" series are free online. This is a nice site that is designed for science students in the K-12 range, but there may be undergraduates who could be aided by this as well. (***1/2) -S
October 29, 2002 - Big Trees - Biggest, Tallest, Oldest Trees; Big Tree Project
As Joe Armstrong's narrative notes, The Tallest, Biggest and Oldest Trees web site "presents a pictorial field trip from the Pacific coast of California to the Great Basin in search of the biggest, tallest, oldest trees." Images are digitized from slides and presented with interpretive comments explaining their significance. This 1979 trip (now virtual) explores an east-west transect from the California coast to the Great Basin. Images by Dr. David W. Lee, Florida International University, who retains all rights (email him for permission to use images offsite). The concept is great, but the faded images would have benefited from color processing to restore the old colors and remove dust. The ecological importance of this transect, which dramatically illustrates the importance of elevation on climate, makes this site worthy of a visit, regardless. (***) -S
October 28, 2002 - Plants and Civilization - online essays
Professor Arthur C. Gibson's course on economic botany, taken by over 8600 undergraduates at UCLA, incorporates material from a wealth of essays on economically important plants. This web page version has 94 main pages, extending from taxon-related topics (e.g., algae, figs, tea, myriad plants) to process-related sites (e.g., papermaking, poisons, dtugs, dyes). Although some pages are mostly or all text, the online information is interesting and fact laden. The narrative is useful, even if the images are faded, and many topics are covered. This is a good site to bookmark for both students and instructors of economic botany classes. (***) -S
October 25, 2002 - Glick's Picks
Barry Glick is an avid gardener with a website and a commercial interest in "uncommonly rare and exceptional plants for the discriminating gardener and collector." Most of his site is involved with plants and plant sales. Glick's Pick, however, is selected once a week (or so) as a plant that has caught his eye. First and foremost, it is an anecdotal site containing plants that he has know and photographed, so be forewarned that you are not looking at a plant encyclopedia; this site is mostly for fun. Each plant selected has a story (or two) linked with it, and a table of data on the systematics of the plant. This is a nice site for images; a site you may enjoy. This is also served by a listserv for "home delivery." (***) -S
October 24, 2002 - Birmingham Botanic Gardens and Glasshouses, UK
Birmingham Botanic Garden is was opened in the United Kingdom in 1832. The grounds appear well managed and the placement and quality of the buildings are suitably impressive. Major features on the web site include the Gardens and the Glasshouses (well and carefully illustrated), Visitor Information, a Diary of Events, Education, Banqueting, Contacts and Facilities at the Garden. This looks like a wonderful place. Especially as shorter, colder days arrive, there is comfort thinking of a tea garden, free roaming peacocks, mynah birds, and the lawn aviary. (***) -S
October 23, 2002 - Plant Diversity BIOL 266
This course site provides a detailed overview of the non-animal phyla traditionally lumped with plants in biology classes. These include the cyanobacteria, algae, slime molds and fungi, in addition to plants. Online course materials include a comprehensive checklist of organismal characteristics that is quite classical. As a desktop online guide to the phyla, this could be a very useful site to bookmark. One warning: some of the treatments (particularly fungi) are dated and this is NOT a modern taxonomy. What he calls a division is now called a phylum (like animals) and this changes the suffix. Knowledge of diversity used to be the mark of a well rounded botanist; I guess I am conservative on this--I still think it does. No frills, no images; just facts. Course and site by Dr. Anthony G. Futcher, Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD. (***) -S
October 22, 2002 - BL Web: Growing Dinoflagellates at Home
Dinoflagellates are unicelled organisms, usually allied with algae, that are responsible for bioluminescence, redtides, and some algal blooms. They are in the Pyrrophyta. Some representatives may be photosynthetic or not, photoautotrophs, saprophytes or parasites! Full instructions for growing dinoflagellates are given, along with sources of cells, their cost, descriptions, observations, experiments, circadian rhythms, static images and movies. "Growing Dinoflagellates at Home" is part of the Bioluminescence Web at UC-Santa Barbara. **** -S
October 21, 2002 - Floriade 2002
Sorry to say this, but the Floride--the extensive trade show of the garden industry of the Netherlands--has just closed. Since these occur only once every 10 years (and since horticulture is such a major industry in Holland), one should expect a lavish park and grounds. You would not have been disappointed. It took three or more kilometers to follow the major paths in the park. The Floriade park is on the outskirts of Amsterdam, but from now on it is mainly a virtual entity. The website is quite nice in Internet Explorer, but essentially non-functional in Netscape 4.7 or older browsers. I visited Floriade at the end of a conference in July. My uncaptioned digital pictures are at Page 1 includes the national exhibits near the big lake, pages 2-3 show images of the most incredible collection of carnivorous plants I have ever seen (a temporary 1 week display I was lucky enough to see), and a massive hydroponics facility and the spotter's hill complete the images. (**1/2 to **** depending on browser!) -S
October 18, 2002 - Cal's Plant of the Week
This is the fourth year anniversary of OU's Plant-of-the-Week site, which is now the longest running POTW (that actually changes plants weekly!). The photography and narratives are by our greenhouse grower, Cal Lemke, who always has something in bloom in his diverse collection. Like much of what we do at the University of Oklahoma, if it is not athletics, it is a bit of a heroic effort. Achieving excellence using the meager resources available is a challenge, but Cal has succeeded. Despite annual freezes when steam pipes fail, overheating when evaporative cooling fails and less than ideal conditions when Cal is absent, he has around 250 to 350 species at a given time. Each week he has chosen something that caught his eye with few repeats. This is a repeated link--something I do rarely--but it is a pet project that should be a site OU should be proud of. -SR (featured last November 11, 1998).
October 17, 2002 - James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve
James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve is a donated natural area near UC-Riverside owned by the University of California for use in education and enjoyment of nature. The website is the clever work of the director, Mike Hamilton, with a weather station, numerous webcams, educational activities, an online calendar, virtual ecology, activity planning area, and for those who stay, very reasonable overnight rates. Major links include Reserve facts at a glance, the Director's Notebook, a reservations area, an environmental observatory, webcam observatory, digital library, trailfinder memories, and the current month's calendar in addition to numerous other links. This site is a nice model for a near wilderness reserve website. The reserve is kept locked 24 hrs, requiring advance reservations, but the website is open 24/7, no reservations for virtual activities. (***1/2) -SR
October 16, 2002 - EPA Global Warming Site: Climate Change Education Resource Database
The EPA Global Warming Site presents information at educational levels beginning in elementary school, but the bulk of the links include numerous formal government research reports. The following topics are available: waste management reports, sea level rise reports, reference material (from UNFCCC, IPCC and others), position papers, outreach material, international material, greenhouse gas emissions reports, EPA conference reports and additional documents. Although there is general agreement that the earth is becoming warmer, there is no clear sense of what will happen. One idea in fact proposes that the warming may trigger a new ice age. Lots of activities and discussion topics. (***1/2) -S
October 15, 2002 - Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR)
TAIR is a central research site for the Arabidopsis genome. With the completion of the genome, this site has accumulated increasingly more powerful genetic resources, including data on sequences, proteins, genes, markers, clones, microarrays, stock seeds, insertion mutants, knockouts, other mutations and more. The heart of the site is a centralized searchable relational database with many datatypes, and a number of analysis tools, with FTP access to download parts of the database for offline analysis. New and updated resources are clearly marked. TAIR is a collaboration between the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Plant Biology, Stanford, California, and the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR), Santa Fe, New Mexico funded by the National Science Foundation. (****) -S
October 14, 2002 - New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers
There are few countries on earth that are in as much danger from foreign plant and animal invaders than New Zealand, and few mounting a more vigorous defense. Since 1999, this trust has helped scores of conservation projects to rally hundreds of volunteers from throughout New Zealand. Given the unique flora and fauna of New Zealand and their competition with economic threats, dwindling natural areas and invasive species, the trust helps to mobilize volunteers and to publicize projects as a means of protecting the islands. This is a nice model site for conservation action by the public. (***1/2) -S
October 11, 2002 - Images from Birmingham Botanical Gardens
A steelworker and freelance photographer named Larry Gay emailed me last week with a website that he thought "...may be of interest." Called "Images from Birmingham Botanical Gardens", it consists of flower close-ups. In fact, it was quite interesting. The images: digital, vibrant, sharp and colorful--are like reality turned up a notch. In some regards, this looks like a garden captured under too bright a summer sun. Seeming to have captured a unique view this may be a well deserved distraction! (****) -S
October 10, 2002 - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
CITES is an international agreement between governments to control international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants so that it does not threaten their survival. This site lists 25,000 species of plants that are protected by CITES against over exploitation. This site also decribes how the operation works. If you have a question about your ability to retain a species, there are contact numbers. The means, source, and nature of the capture is reviewed. (***1/2) -S
October 9, 2002 - Plant Propagation
These are lecture materials for a beginning course on Plant Propagation taught by Dr. Ellen Sutter as Plant Biology 171 in the Department of Pomology at the University of California, Davis. Lectures require PDF (Acrobat Reader is available free online from Adobe) and cover the widest range of introductory topics, from seed production & handling, to cutting & grafting, layering, micropropagation, cloning & chimeras and virus eradication through tissue culture. Visual materials provide illustrations of many of these techniques. Past exams and web links are also included. A nice introductory site. (****) -S
October 8, 2002 - CAEDYM: Computational Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics Model
CAEDYM is a research site consisting of a suite of models for predicting the behavior of aquatic ecosystems under a variety of different conditions. The entire work contains 16 topics from phytoplankton to seagrasses (& macrophytes), macroalgae, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, nutrients, suspended solids, pH and various specific macronutrients (like iron, manganese and aluminium). There are also extensive references. Site is by David Hamilton and Michael Herzfeld, Centre for Water Research, The University of Western Australia Nedlands, WA 6907, Australia. (****) -S
October 7, 2002 - ISI's Web of Knowledge
The Institute for Scientific Information creates several all but essential databases for the natural and social sciences. The major products for the life sciences include Current Contents (CC) and Science Citation Index (SCI). CC tracks article titles in periodic journal listings of tables of contents. SCI, in contrast, tracks literature citations -- who is citing whom and who is being cited -- in the refereed literature. Journal Citations Records further processes these data to determine which are highest impact journals (through 'impact factor'), which journals cite and are cited by other specific journals. Usually, I restrict my resources to free ones, but the Web of Knowledge is of such importance that it seems that it needs to be mentioned as a critically important research tool for evaluating the scientific literature. (****) -S
October 4, 2002 - US National Arboretum
There is a remarkable depth in coverage and content in this site, which is a virtual arboretum, presenting many educational opportunities. Operated by the USDA, this operation provides some routine "county agent"-like services to farmers, hobbyists, and those trying to grow plants. The menu of options provides a plethora of pull-down menus, where services like the zone hardiness map is displayed, sheets on disease characterization and prevention, and planned plant introductions into the U.S. Site by USDA, located in Washington. (***1/2) -S
October 3, 2002 - Virtual Oxford Science Walk
Oxford University's numerous contributions to the history of science are commemorated by the "Virtual Oxford Science Walk". Although they claim many astronomers and physicists including Robert Boyle (of Boyle's Law), Edmond Halley (of Halley's comet), and Stephen Hawking, they also claim the discoverer of the structure of Vitamin B12, Dorothy Hodgkin. The walk begins in the Botanical Garden, recounting its pre-Linnaean establishment to study herbs and medicinal plants. A penicillin memorial is next. The tour is concluded by the History of Science Museum and philosopher/alchemist Roger Bacon. This is a short, sparingly but carefully illustrated site covering a very long history. (***1/2) -S
October 2, 2002 - Michael R. Martin's Aquatic Plant Image Library
This image collection contains scanned drawings and digital images of some of the more common aquatic plants--some of which are quite invasive (marked in red). Representatives of 13 monocot families, 15 dicot families and two non-seed families, Equisetaceae and Isoetaceae, are listed on the site. The images are said to be "for your reference and enjoyment". Request permission before using the images "off-site" to stay in compliance with the site license. The digital photographs are usually high quality. There is little narration on the site. One interesting potential detour on the site is a page devoted to GIS. Overall, an interesting site. (***) -S
October 1, 2002 - Victoria Adventure
This site is about the magnificent waterlily, Victoria -- a plant distinguished by bearing the largest floating leaves of any flowering plant, with very recognizable marginally bent leaves. The efforts of Kit & Ben Knotts to build a garden and a business at Cocoa Beach are chronicled here, both apparently doing very well. The site contains well-illustrated and well-written pages on Victoria, other waterlilies, lotus, water gardening, breeding and other related topics. There is a lot of material here and some spectacular images! If you are interested in water plants or water gardening, you will want to look at this site. (****) -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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