Scott's Botanical Links--September 2002


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Past links:

September 30, 2002 - The Invasive Plants Fact Book
The Invasive Plants Fact Book features the unique features of specific invasive plants, what techniques produce the best results. The site includes invasions of croplands, lawns & gardens, rights-of-way, rangelands and pastures, forests, desserts, wetlands and specific sites. The resulting book gathers much information about success of introdutions on the environ was. Interestingly, there seem to be no specific olicies. This site is produced by the military to aid in the control of invasive species. (***1/2) -S
September 27, 2002 - San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project
The San Francisco estuary is threatened by Spartina species from overseas, the east coast and even southerly California species. The site has detailed information about the species as well as forms to fill in to help to map and eliminated the invasive species. The invasive species threaten endangered species, cause the conversion of tidal mudflat to meadow, destroy shorebird foraging habitats, change channel habitats and threaten extinction of native cordgrass species. Much of the site consists of PDF files to ID plants and to report them. Plants are introduced both by seed and clone, and are very invasive. Removal procedures are listed, but there is much work. (***1/2). -S
September 26, 2002 - Agropolis Museum: Food & Agricultures of the World
The Agropolis Museum is a Science Center physically located in Montpellier, France, but accessible virtually everywhere. The museum has exhibits on the "History of food and agriculture", "Farmers and farming over the world", "Banquet de l'Humanité" (showing one eats according to one’s income, food resources and cultural background), and "Agrarian landscapes of the world" which illustrates current practices. Travelling exhibitions are constructed by scientific researchers and designers with public and/or private support and have already toured elsewhere. The site focuses on a worldwide historical perspective food, nutrition and agriculture related topics. The site can be taken to many depths. (****) -S
September 25, 2002 - Descriptions of Plant Viruses (DPV)
Over 390 viruses are currently listed in the database, with mixed degrees of knowledge of their biology. Characteristics of the viruses that are discussed include the species, diseases caused, geographical distribution of virus & host, symptomatology, strains, means of transmission (vectors, seed, grafting, parasitism [dodder], serology, nucleic acid hybridization, relationships, purification and much more. Produced through the work of researchers at Scottish Crop Research Institute, Central Science Laboratory, and IACR-Rothamsted. (****) -S
September 24, 2002 - Bio-Web: Resources for Molecular and Cell Biologists
The Bio-Web is a scientific news/resource site for molecular and cellular biology. With a newspaper-like appearance, the left column leads to major sections, cool sites (including powerhouse sites like Science, Nature, PubMed and others), followed by more news sources. The center of the site is occupied by lead sentences from science news article from many sources. On navigation bar at the top of the site are links to a link directory, sequence tools, submit news site, Biomail, a mailreader and Pubmed. If you are looking for genomics research you will want to bookmark this. This site represents a nice compilation of noteworthy scientific news that gives new meaning to what a "busy" webpage looks like. (***1/2) -S
September 23, 2002 - NSF Net Center for Plant Genomics
Created in collaboration with NSF, the Plant Genome project and the UCSD supercomputing facility, the NSF Net Center for Plant Genomics represents a massive collection of plant data--most complete among plants, of course, being Arabidopsis thaliana. Currently, a total of 87 sites are searched for genetic data. Using this site a researcher may try to match base pair sequences, derive genes and search the genetic literature. New to the site is the ability to search for insertions that may already be inserted in Arabidopsis to "knock out" specific genes as a means of testing functional hypotheses. The negation of a gene can be a powerful tool for discerning gene function. (****) -S
September 20, 2002 - Fungi of California
The Fungi of California site is a remarkably complete and well constructed web site, with excellent images and detailed information, species by species, for numerous taxa. Currently, the site reports posting 357 species, 1506 photographs and 753 links. Pages on the site include a site introduction, species index, simple key, edible fungi, a glossary, bibliography, as well as recent developments, notices and acknowledgments. Information about most species is quite complete. Be sure to read the warnings if you eat mushrooms: a species labelled as "edible" may still elicit an allergic or toxic response from some. The usefulness of this site stretches well outside of California. This site created and maintained by Michael Wood and Fred Stevens.
September 19, 2002 - Invasive and Exotic Species of North America
Invasive and Exotic Species of North America is a site that compiles images & information on invasive weeds, insects, diseases, other invasive or exotic oganisms and biological control agents. Although much of the data is offsite at the USDA PLANTS database and at, the most novel feature of this site is its ability to create flexible lists by scientific name, family, order or common name by clicking on the header subject. Lists from different boards and authorities are conveniently and prominently positioned. Site by University of Georgia - College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences/Warnell School of Forest Resources. (***) -S
September 18, 2002 - Images of Dry Tropical Habitat
Contrary to the common impression, over 75% of the tropics are dry during at least a significant part of the year. This site is Mark Olson's site featuring images from his doctoral work. There are many types of such forests, including tropical dry forest, tropical deciduous forest, thorn forest, spiny desert, savannah, cerrado, and caatinga. This site features dramatic images and narratives on dry forests in Argentina, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Oman and Somalia. (****) -SR
September 17, 2002 - Life at High Temperatures
Thermophilic bacteria and cyanobacteria dominate the environment of geysers, thermal pools and streams in geological hot spots around the world. This online brochure, is edited from a booklet distributed by the Yellowstone Association for Natural Science, History & Education, Inc., which is famous for such features. The text well-written and accompanied by striking photos. Pages include descriptions of geological features, kinds of hot springs, thermal microbial mat and organisms, thermal and pH tolerance extremes, plant and animal life in the hot springs, and biotechnology in Yellowstone. The last chapter recounts the discovery of Thermus aquaticus, source of Taq polymerase used for the PCR reaction in molecular biology. Unlike other DNA polymerases, it is stable at high temperature and can thus be reused for many reaction cycles. From the print booklet by Thomas D. Brock (****) -S
September 16, 2002 - Lichens, Tardigrades, and SO2
Part of PathfinderScience, this site provides a hands-on class project of assaying lichen growth as a sensitive index for pollution, particularly from sulfur dioxide. These results are then combined with others' data from across North America to provide comprehensive information on lichen density from many places on the continent. This is designed as a grade 7 to 12 exercise, but could be modified easily for undergraduates. The site is organized a bit like a thesis, with background info, research methods, data, results, data analysis, and conclusions. Chat, listservs, bulletin boards are available with lots of content. Site by Pathfinder Science. (****) -S
September 13, 2002 - Plant Seeds of Learning: Classroom Lessons Bring Plants to Life!
Education World offers a number of lesson plans designed to "involve students in growing things and learning about scientific classification, plant cell structure, the importance of plants in our history, and the many uses of plants." Links are also provided for offsite plant-related resources for teachers. Exercises range from pre-K to 12th grade in level, with a diversity of exercises, including how many peanuts are there in a jar, to three-dimensional reconstruction of plant cells. This site overall looks like an excellent resource for high school students to kindergartners. (****) -S
September 12, 2002 - New York Times: Life Science
Readers with a knowledge of science will enjoy the quality of the New York Times' coverage of the life sciences, and science in general. This week, articles discuss "Forest Thinning Challenged as Tactic to Control Fires", "Georgia School Board Requires Balance of Evolution and Bible" and such essays as "... Alien Invaders Proliferate, Conservationists Change Their Focus". Coverage is in depth compared to many other print media, but there is little substitute for visiting the principal source. New York Times requires a free registration to view full articles. Nice features for articles include the ability to email the article to friends, and the Times News Tracker, which allows key words to be scanned once per day, with matches sent by email (and a "reasonable" privacy policy). (****) -S
September 11, 2002 - Kew's Titan Arum
This spring Kew Gardens has had three blooms of the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), which is the world's largest 'flower' (really an inflorescence [stalk of flowers]). The titan arum remains as a tuber with a single vegetative stalk for up to 30 years or more, and blooms only when it has sufficient energy. The exact trigger for flowering is not yet know. The inflorescence can be up to mearly 3 meters tall. According to the web site, the plant gave "the sexual performance of its life in the Princess of Wales Conservatory." This site chronicles the development of the plants and their interesting biology. (****) -S
September 10, 2002 - Bibliography of References Related to Seed Dormancy and/or Germination in Higher Plants
Although online databases abound, this one on seed dormancy and germination is unusually authoritative, including entries (12,000 items!) from 1890 to the present, compiled by Prof. G.M. Simpson, Plant Sciences Department, College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan. The site generates bibliographic data, much of which may be copied, or selected & emailed. The interface is reasonably intuitive, complementing other more general databases (e.g. AGRICOLA). Although primarily a research site, amateur gardeners and plant biologists alike may find interesting and useful data here. (****) -S
September 9, 2002 - Ancient Forests International
The goal of Ancient Forests International is to protect old growth forests and their diversity though acquisition, working with local people, farmers & developers, and providing attractive economic models for sustainability. The site clearly points out the irony of turning biodiversity into "chips" as a very short-sighted, short term philosophy. AFI also presents web pages of educational material on forest types, forest protection strategies, as well as current projects in California, Chile and Equador. The pages have impressive black-and-white photography of ancient trees and forests. Site by AFI. (***1/2)-SR
September 6, 2002 - USDA/ARS Research Q&A: Bt Corn and Monarch Butterflies
Scientists genetically engineered corn to produce toxin from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This controls the attack of certain insect pests, which reduces the need for pesticides. Engineers expected no effect on other organisms, but in 1999 a small study indicated that Bt pollen was toxic to monarch butterflies, and considerable controversy ensued. The US Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service recently reexamined this question and the results are presented in this Q & A. In short, pollen is not toxic in normal quantities. This is an interesting, in depth examination of the problem. A bigger problem is that this animal crop was comingled with the human supply and some people, who were not intended to be exposed to it, can be acutely allergic. (****) -SR
September 5, 2002 - Botanical Explorations in the United States and Canada
The Infography.Com site incorporates "citations to books, Internet sites, journal articles, and other sources that provide excellent information" and resources chosen by selected specialists. These are designated (at least by Infography) as among the best in a given topic of interest. Featured at this site are some noteworthy sites of historical botanical interest. Topics include Taxonomic botany and floristics; a variety of history of science sites, including botany, gardening, horticulture; a directory of botanists, plantsmen, landscapers, gardeners and writers; and a scientific revolution site featuring readings, resources, links. (***1/2) -SR
September 4, 2002 - PlantsT: Functional Genomics of Plant Transporters
This is an advanced research site that focuses principally on membrane proteins involved in transporting materials through membranes. The major searches available here include: the PlantsT and ICP searches with upload capabilities. The "Membrane Protein Families" site includes transport protein classification lists, integral membrane protein lists, transporter family sequence alignments, cation transporter families (of Arabidopsis) and key transporter words. Genechip Tools includes a data set that has 8297 entries, which forms Affymetrix's first Arabidopsis GeneChip. Educational resources and links are also supplied. Site by the University of California and San Diego Supercomputer Center, forming part of the Plant Genome Program of NSF. (****) -SR
September 3, 2002 - The Patten Collection of Herbals and Early Gardening Books
Herbals and gardening books have a long history that dates to the very earliest understanding of species. Herbals categorize and identify plants, but place most emphasis on describing their medicinal effects. The drawings of plants, however, are often meticulous and the most valuable are carefully handpainted with watercolors. This site describes 149 items from the Doris and Marc Patten Collection at ASU. Most works are simply described, but some images are shown at this site, located at Arizona State University. It would be nice to see more of it online. (***) -SR
September 2, 2002 - Labor Day
Labor Day in the US and Canada is celebrated by not working, thus, I have taken the day off. Have a good one.

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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