Scott's Botanical Links--April 2003


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Past links:

April 30, 2003 - Plant diversity in Paraguay
This Web site contains a database of Paraguayan plant specimens from the Natural History Museum herbarium in London that is also linked to Tropicos (at Missouri Botanical Gardens) and to the New York Botanical Garden database, as well. An allied site is the Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve, which includes information on its history, habitats, and peoples. This project is funded in part Darwin Initiative of the UK. (***1/2) -SR
April 29, 2003 - Nationaal Herbarium Nederland
The herbarium includes three collections at Universiteit Leiden, Utrecht University and Wageningen University (WAG). Type collections are now included in the general collections database. The Leiden branch has two major research projects, Plants of the IndoPacific Area (PITA), Phanerogams and Cryptogams of the Netherlands and Europe (PCNE); Utrecht has Annonaceae Project and Flora of the Guianas; and Wageningen has Flora of Benin project, ECOSYN project and programs with Southeast Asia and Tropical Africa. Publications, training programmes, publication and contacts are featured. (***) -S
April 28, 2003 - PhRMA Bioinformatics: Plant Databases
This commercial site provides links to plant genomic databases of the NCBI/NIH (GenBank), USDA, NSF, CNRS, L'Institut Pasteur, UK HGMP Resource Centre, PlantGDB, and the NSF Net Center for Plant Genomics. I mainly note the site because of convenience and its linkages to the many other genomic projects that are currently active. The site also features transcripts of hearings before the Subcommittee on Basic Research, House Science Committee and reports on the Plant Genomes Project, including the NAS Report on The National Plant Genome Initiative: Objectives for 2003-2008. -S
April 25, 2003 - Gramene: A Comparative Mapping Resource for Grains
Gramene is a "Web-accessible data resource for comparative genome analysis in the grasses. Data formerly in RiceGenes is now integrated in Gramene." The rice genome is complete for 9 of 12 chromosomes and nearing completion for the others. This facilitates research on cross-species homologies including interpretation of biochemical pathways, gene and QTL localization and descriptions of phenotypic characters and mutations. Major parts of the site include databases (genome, EST, BLAST, marker, protein, literature), maps & data for downloads, and submissions. Supported by funding from USDA IFAFS. (***1/2) -S
April 24, 2003 - UCMP Paleobotany: Cleared Leaf Collections
The Daniel I. Axelrod and the Berkeley leaf collections, containing database entries and images of over 2000 cleared leaf specimens of extant (living) for online analysis. Images are viewable in low, medium and high resolution by use of a Java-based viewer, which requires a modern browser. So far, this includes a minority of the database entries. Specimens were prepared by bleaching in caustic chemicals, staining them to make their venation patterns more visible and mounting them between sheets of glass. Provided by the University of California-Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, with images by the Digital Library Project, University of California, Berkeley. (***) -SR
April 23, 2003 - Microscopes Help Scientists Explore Hidden Worlds
This web site, located on the Nobel site, includes succinct information on microscopy, as well as interative simulators. This site provides an excellent model for what is possible on the web. The simulator requires the latest Shockwave Player (free from Macromedia at, portraying phase contrast and transmission electron microscopy with surprising accuracy. Single page summaries are available on the history of microscopy, resolution limits, and four types of microscopy: phase contrast, fluorescence, transmission electron and scanning tunneling microscopy. This site is supported by Zeiss. (****) -S
April 22, 2003 - Secret of Photo 51: The Story of Rosalind Franklin & DNA
NOVA commemorates the discovery of the structure of DNA by examining the work of X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin--a brilliant scientist who died of cancer before the Nobel Prize was awarded for DNA. Her neglected photo 51 contained all of the secrets of DNA's inner structure: the double helix, its periodicity, the position of base pairs. At the time of her premature death at 37, her work contributed to two Nobel Prizes. This site has an excellent summary of the early work on DNA, a scientific biography of Franklin, scientific images of DNA, ribosomes, and RNA, the interpretation of photo 51, and an animated journey into the tiny world of DNA. The program also portrays a male-centric world that minimized Franklin's influence, as unauthorized distribution of photo 51 solved the secret of THE genetic material. This program airs on PBS this week. (****) -S
April 21, 2003 - Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program
The Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program is a GIS-based metadata site with broad interagency data for mapping the Mojave Desert Ecosystem, extending into California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. The site features interactive mapping, document and photographic databases on plants, animals, people, places, landscapes, objects and geology, as well as links on biologic, cartographic, geologic, hydrologic, satellite, topographic data, and standards that allow sharing of metadata. Although the site may be viewed by older browsers (e.g., Netscape 4), the maps require a modern browser. Site by MDEP on a DoD computer--security disclaimers, terms and agreements abound. (***1/2) -S
April 18, 2003 - NCSA Mosaic Tenth Anniversary
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) was the first to produce a graphical web browser for the Internet, releasing its first public version (for free) in April 1993. The program, known as Mosaic, formed pages with integrated images, rather than online text and pictures that were downloaded for later observation, offline(!). Its popularity caught everyone by surprise. By 1994, millions were using Mosaic, though it still did not enter the mainstream till 1995. By then, two Mosaic developers had founded Netscape and Bill Gates, having essentially slept through the birth of the Internet, made MSIE Microsoft's highest priority. Development of Mosaic ended in 1997 as a stupendous success, triggering ecommerce and communication potential that would have been difficult to predict. The historical Mosaic home page can still be accessed at -SR
April 17, 2003 - Littleflower's Medicinal Plants of North America
Numerous plants are listed by common names on this site, which features botanical descriptions, current uses, and most interestingly, historical references describing their uses. References date to as far as the 1600s. This site is listed purely for interest in the plants, not their medicinal content, as many plants have medicinal effects. Keeping in mind that the selective advantage of plant chemicals is to prevent infection and herbivory, eating plants from nature can be very dangerous; humans are not as resistant to chemical insults as other animals. Plant chemicals differ widely in concentration and effect, and common plant names are misleading. For medical information, see a physician. Numerous ads will pop up--visitors beware. (***) -SR
April 16, 2003 - Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center
The Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center site presents an attractive source of information on its many areas of oversight, including the Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Natural Heritage Plan, Register of Heritage Resources, Dedicated Conservation Areas, Research Natural Areas, Endangered Invertebrate Program, Biodiversity Data, Data Requests, Oregon Gap Analysis Program, Protected Areas, Existing Vegetation, Historic & Potential Vegetation, Wildlife Models, Publications and Reports. Plant activities currently have included a reassessment of endangered plants in the state. The information is extensive, but locating a resource is difficult. There may be a site map or search engine here, but I couldn't find them. (***) -S
April 15, 2003 - UC Davis Natural Reserve System - Jepson Prairie Reserve
The Jepson Prairie Reserve is "an island of remnant natural prairie in a wide alluvial floodplain used primarily for agriculture. The reserve protects one of the best few remaining vernal-pool habitats, an uncommon habitat in the western United States and few other places in the world." The native bunchgrass prairie used to be a prevalent one in California. This site includes a site map, bibliography, driving directions, applications to use the reserve, the Jepson Prairie annotated plant list, maps, proposed burn plans, the 2000 burn area and the 2001 burn area, and external links, including the NRS (Natural Research System) Systemwide Homepage and other UC Davis NRS sites. The site is not as attractive or ambitious as the prairie reserve itself. (***) -S
April 14, 2003 - Jepson Online Interchange
Jepson Online Interchange is part of the Jepson Flora Project--a continuing online revision of the Jepson Flora of California. This web site is a metadatabase providing access to families and genera as well as individual species. It consolidates related information on taxa from UC data with that from other authoritative web sites. University and Jepson Herbaria data are linked using the Specimen Management System for California Herbaria (SMASCH) database, augmented by bioregional maps, county records, CalPhoto images, International Plant Names Index (IPNI) nomenclatural/bibliographic information, Tropicos taxonomic information from Missouri Botanical Garden, Flora North America treatment, and information from the CNPS Inventory. Links are provided to facilitate submission of updates. Site by the Jepson Herbarium, University of California-Berkeley. (****) -SR
April 11, 2003 - Picture Profile of the Northern Namib
The Namibian desert is an area of fascination, as well as native habitat of Welwischia mirabilis, one of the most remarkable plants known to man. It is native nowhere else. Welwischia mirabilis is in a monotypic family of the Gnetales that has many highly advanced characters for a gymnosperm, forming a saddle-shaped trunk with vessels and sieve tubes, unisexual strobili derived from bisexual ones, a form of "double fertilization" in which two embryos are formed, and a remarkably reduced vegetative organization. In its lifetime, it forms only four leaves, two of them cotyledons and the two mature leaves growing for the remainder of its often quite lengthy lifetime. This is a very nice photo essay (ignoring for a moment that they are selling tours!). Also, travel information, from "Slow Coach Travel". Nice images of Welwischia and the desert. (***) -SR
April 10, 2003 - Global Forest Science - Research Projects
The Global Forest Society is a research-oriented consortium of research scientists affiliated with numerous universities that funds a wide diversity of research projects on forests. Topics include subalpine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, species at risk, inner city flora & fauna, redwood treetop ecology, biomedical & pharmaceuticals, environmental monitoring, unique ecosystems & habitats, forest entomology & pathology, and first peoples' non timber forest products. This extensive web site reports on progress on these studies, as well as providing children's materials, general information on forest ecology and various resources. Site by GFS. (***1/2) -SR
April 9, 2003 - Biodiversity Hotspots
Biodiversity hotspots are regions containing an unusually rich or unique assemblage of species, which by their very nature deserve preservation. Sites from each continent are featured, from islands to mountain tops and river valleys. The 25 selected biodiversity hotspots contain 44% of plant species and 35% of terrestrial vertebrate species, but occupy only 1.4 percent of the planet's land area. This site features information about biodiversity hotspots in general, as well as pages featuring each hotspot individually. Site constructed by Conservation International, sponsored by Intel. (****) -SR
April 8, 2003 - Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
This site is the location of many resources, including the Aquatic, Wetland and Invasive Plant Information Retrieval System (APIRS)--an online database that is useful for locating information and bibliographies for aquatic plants. The APIRS database includes 58,000 research articles, books and reports about plant ecology, physiology, utilization and control that date from the 1800s to the recent. This site also features an extensive image collection, including hundreds of photos and drawings of native and non-native species that grow in Florida, the AQUAPHYTE Newsletter, educational murals, and extensive information about aquatic plants. According to the home page, there are currently over 7,000 searchable pages. Site by the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. (****) -S
April 7, 2003 - Floralp - information platform of plant ecology in European mountain systems
Floralp is a metadatabase, primarily for plant ecologists in Europe, that incorporates information from over 80 web sites on the mountain flora and vegetation. These materials may be searched by project, program, institution, nature park, journal, book, paper, database, image, portal, person and event, linking resources from many regions of Europe. The goal of the project is to integrate the considerable available data into a more useful format for tracking ecological change, protecting diversity and informing the public. Floralp is a branch of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment network (GMBA). (***1/2) -S
April 4, 2003 - Photographic Tour: Nature in British Columbia
Derrick Ditchburn has assembled digital images of birds, flowers, animals, waterbirds, alpine, marine and trees. This images are modest format-sized jpegs that provide an impressive survey of many of the most recognizable flora and fauna that will be observed in a trip in British Columbia. Although there is not much narrative (mainly species and common names), some of the images are quite nice. This is very modem intensive, but worth the wait (unless you are late). This is a nice site for British Columbia and some of adjacent Alberta. Many of the images are scanned from photographic slides, so there is some visible dust. (***) -SR
April 3, 2003 - NOVA: Deep Sea Invasion
NOVA, which is the best science program on PBS, presents "Deep Sea Invasion", a story of the discovery and rapid spread of a toxic algae, Caulerpa taxifolia, far outside of its normal range. As an asexual intruder with no enemies, it is dominating the Mediterranean and there have even been skirmishes on the US West Coast. On the web site "explore a timeline of its growth, read an interview about strategies for controlling alien species, find out more about the impact of invasive species, and play a game matching alien species with their impacts." Watch TV schedules for local showings. Site by WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston. (****) -SR
April 2, 2003 - National Geographic Maps
The US National Geographic Society is well known for the maps that it includes irregularly with its famous magazine. Now it is possible to make your own custom maps using their online "MapMachine", which creates impressive surface relief images. Other format maps are also available for educational purposes, including high quality black-and-white maps from the Xpeditions Atlas. For younger visitors, "GeoBee promises to challenge your knowledge of the world with a new question everyday". Site by National Geographic Society. (***1/2) -SR
April 1, 2003 - April Fools' Day at BEN
Botanical Electronic News (BEN) conducts an annual parody of itself by running articles of botanical and ecological interest. This year's issue includes "My Dear Friends, Your Shoelaces Are Untied!, Job Search Etiquette During War Time, Ecological Thinking of The Two Czech Leaders: King Charles IV (1316-1378) Vs. President Vaclav Klaus (born 1941), You Don’t Have to Have Muscles Between your Ears in Order to Get this Job, But it Helps! , In The Northwest: to a Word, GOP 'Massaging' Environment Message, Polish Mineral Water "Zywiec Zdroj" - Nutrition Facts, Be Prepared! – All in The Family and an Epilogue." Interesting reading. Content by A. Ceska. (***) -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
Or search by: Subject Index