Scott's Botanical Links--February 2005


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Past links:

February 28, 2005 - Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS)
Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) is a site designed for elementary and high school students with the aim of developing new educational resources and promoting interest and excitement in young people concerning plants and molecular biology. The site includes publications & resources, practical investigations, courses & kits, a "Search and Ask" site and curriculum links, primarily for the UK, but useful elsewhere as well. The site has worksheets and practical advice. There is also a quarterly online newsletter called Osmosis. Site by SAPS. (***1/2) -SR
February 25, 2005 - Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
Wonder how an Internet web site looked a few years ago? Disappointed that some page is gone, you can't find an old bookmarked site, or Googled a page that has since disappeared? This site may be useful for you! Internet Archive has been archiving Web sites since 1996 and currently has about 30 billion web pages on file. All that you need to do is to type in the web address (URL) into the Wayback Machine and press "Enter". Versions are listed by year and date. Searching by keyword is not implemented, but if you can find a link through Google, you may still be able to retrieve some of the past on the WWW. Although functionality of stored pages may vary, it is still a valuable resource. (***1/2) -SR
February 24, 2005 - Advanced Molecular Genetics-Biology 566
For those looking to the forefronts of molecular biology, or perhaps to see a nice model for organizing resources for a comtemporary graduate school course, this well-laid out and visually appealling site is one to see. The challenge with any graduate class is to keep it up-to-date (which it was, as of 2004, when it was constructed). By basing classroom discussions on first tier review articles and ground-breaking papers, along with special features, including professionally produced videos, this format should provide a stimulating classroom environment for the students (whose PowerPoint presentation projects follow). Course and site by Claire A. Rinehart, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. (****) -SR
February 23, 2005 - Cell Biology Education
Cell Biology Education: A Journal of Life Science Education is currently in its third year of quarterly online publication, providing features, articles, essays and announcements for the community of life science educators. Each article is refereed and when published, there is a forum for discussion connected to each article. Offerings in the current issue include alternative methods of teaching (not a surprise, of course), discussion of National Academies publications & meetings, book & video reviews, tests of new technologies and more. The articles are well written and informative, hopefully inspirational, and seem carefully edited. Overall, this is a worthwhile resource, published by the American Society for Cell Biology, and supported in part by an Undergraduate Science Education Program grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (****) -SR
February 22, 2005 - Mammillaria: All About Mammillaria Cactus
Mammillaria is a cactus genus including some of the smaller stature button to cylindrically shaped cactuses with tufted podaria--definitely among the most common genera collected and cultivated. This site, Mammillarias.Net, includes than 1900 Mammillaria pictures, 200 Mammillaria species, 250 distribution maps, and more than 9000 Mammillaria field collections, cultivation tips, active discussion forums in 5 languages and more. The images are high quality and it seems that the collection, including images and descriptions, is growing quickly. If you like Mammillarias, I think you will really like this site. (***1/2) -SR
February 21, 2005 - Orchid Overview
This page has three relatively small pages that present a very nice summary of some noteworthy orchids useful for amateurs to recognize by genus. Links include (1) tropical Lady's Slippers and other terrestrial orchids, (2) Epiphytic orchids of Africa, Asia and Australasia (Old World) and (3) Epiphytic orchids of Central and South America (New World). These links present thumbnail images and short descriptions to larger images. The main plants page leads to a pitcher plant page. Site by Nicholas Plummer. (***) -SR
February 18, 2005 - Ant Plants
"Ant Plants" are plants with intricate relationships to ants. The plant provides shelter or food, whereas the ants defend the plant and provide nutrients. Families with ant plants include Rubiaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Nepenthaceae, Bromeliaceae and ferns. Some plants provide specialized chambers for ant colonies, called "domatia", and absorb materials that the ants leave behind as nutrients. Worth particular attention are pages and images on the Rubiaceae, particularly Myrmecodia and Hydnophytum. Site by Nicholas Plummer. (***1/2) -SR
February 17, 2005 - XVII International Botanical Congress
Every six years, there is an IBC. This year the XVII International Botanical Congress will be in Vienna, Austria. Beginning 12 - 16 July 2005, there is a nomenclature session--a meeting where the rules of naming plants are discussed and resolved for another six years by representatives from herbaria and botanical gardens around the world. The main sessions are 17 - 23 July 2005. Symposia have long ago been decided, but new abstracts are still being accepted for posters. This site will be the one to watch for finding the topics that will attract interest at the IBC. It will be an expensive meeting for those with US dollars, I am afraid. -SR
February 16, 2005 - Biota of Early Terrestrial Ecosystems: The Rhynie Chert
For understanding early vascular land plants, there is no more important fossil site than the Rhynie Chert, Scotland, where ancient plants fell into silica-saturated waters preserving anatomical information. Details down to cell structure are preserved in rock and fossils of genera including Aglaophyton, Asteroxylon, Horneophyton, Nothia, Rhynia, Trichopherophyton and Ventarura, each of which have separate pages here. This site discusses geology, preservation, collections and much more. The preservation is startling, even 400 MY ago. This site is constructed and maintained by University of Aberdeen, a mere 50 km from the site. (***1/2)
February 15, 2005 - UBC Cell Biology Bio-Media Database
The University of British Columbia provides numerous search engine-selected images obtained using various microscopy techniques from light- to electron- to confocal microscopy. Images are labeled with data on taxonomy, cell type, organelles, and microscopy details, which also serve as convenient search categories. Quality is quite variable, but there are some good images here and the labeling is good enough to allow useful searching. Search links are effective at accessing the many images on this site. Images are for educational and scholarly use. (***) -S
February 14, 2005 - South Florida Periphyton Research
This is a remarkably useful algae site, with emphasis on periphyton, which are the algae that grow attached to underwater surfaces. Two databases dominate the site: a browsable inventory on diatoms, and a search-driven database on "soft" algae (non-diatoms). Both are quite complete, including systematics data, habitat information, microscopic images, references and more. Research pages highlight projects on nutrients and periphyton response in the Everglades, mangrove periphyton and paleoecology of Biscayne & Florida Bays. Site by Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, Miami. (****) -SR
February 11, 2005 - Discovering Lewis and Clark
The bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which penetrated the interior of the United States west of the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, is a long-lasting celebration that will continue for more than a year from now. This site celebrates the trip and commemorates, among many other achievements, some of the first botanical collections in this region. Link to Natural History and Plants to see some of the most conspicuous plants collected. This site is a multimedia-rich site requiring the free Macromedia Flash Player. (****) -SR
February 10, 2005 - Giant Horsetails
The "Giant Horsetails" site concerns the largest of the horsetails: Equisetum giganteum, E. myriochaetum and E. x schaffneri, which are capable of producing plants up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall! The site includes an introduction to Equisetum, Sphenopsids, and giant horsetails, continuing with taxonomy, size, ecology & physiology, cultivation, notes, observations, ideas, citations, a bibliography, related papers, links and acknowledgements. The images taken in Chile and Panama are the best of the collection. This page by Chad Husby of Florida International University. (***1/2) -SR
February 9, 2005 - Chinese New Year / Chinese Calendar
Welcome to the New Year, 4702, in the year Yiyou, the year of the rooster! Today is the Chinese New Year. To find out more about the Chinese calendar, this site by ChinaPage.Com is a good choice. The calendar follows lunar cycles, so the exact date is about as predictible as Easter is! Last year had a full leap month, but not this year. Leap months sound like a good idea -- most people would like to get paid for an extra month! -SR
February 8, 2005 - IISR Spice Gallery
Part of the Indian Institute of Spices Research site, the Spice Gallery presents information on the plant, its history, characteristics, aroma & flavor, cultivation, culinary and ethnobotanical use for 50 of the more familiar spices. The narratives are interesting and succinct. Although there are few images accompanying the spice gallery, there is a photo gallery at URL The rest of the IISP site is devoted to bioinformatics, journals, and other activities of the Institute. This site is hosted in Calicut, India, so data connections change from moment-to-moment. ***1/2 -SR
February 7, 2005 - Amazing Plants Website
The Amazing Plants website includes three major parts: materials for beginning plant biology courses, Teachers Academy Workshop links and Botany as a Profession. Among the course materials are a nice summary of "Families of Flowering Plants" and "Study Tips for Plant Biology Students", but the most remarkable part is his "Botany in Cyberspace," which is a major links resource page. The care and completeness of the site reflect the outstanding leadership of the author in developing online resources for the BSA and others. Site is by David W. Kramer at Ohio State University-Mansfield. (***1/2) -SR
February 4, 2005 - Digital Book Index - Botany
This site provides links to online resources, books and documents, many of which are available free (especially those more than 50 years old). Content is housed off-site, so these pages are just links, but from a botanical point of view the list of the titles and links is useful. Links range from botanical herbals (oldest 1545) to 2004 (e.g., Flora of Missouri). Although the botany index is only 5 pages long, the behavior of the navigation buttons was capricious and browser-sensitive, but there are about 400 links (if you can get to them!). There are dozens of other plant-related index pages available through the site, as well, by Digital Book Index.
February 3, 2005 - Molecular Biology Tutorials
These Molecular Biology Tutorials, according to the website, were originally written by William Sofer to accompany "Modern Genetic Analysis", an introductory genetics text from WH Freeman and Company. The site covers DNA Structure, RNA Structure and Protein Structure using images and narrative, interspersed with questions and quizzes, making it well suited to review of basic material. It appears that more lessons are planned. This site is sponsored by the Waksman Student Scholars program at the Waksman Institute, Rutgers University, with support from Amersham. (***) -SR
February 2, 2005 - Gasteria Reference Collection is the Internet home of the Gasteria Reference Collection for North America. The purpose of both the Collection and the website is to provide detailed and comprehensive information on the genus Gasteria. Information is in the form of essays, field trip accounts, many many photographs, and a "Notes from the Collection". This site is a not-for-profit educational resource for all things gasteria. This site (and the write-up) is courtesy of Breck Breckenridge. This easy to navigate site provides tips on growing gasterias and other links as well ... a nice resource. (****) -SR
February 1, 2005 - Plant Anatomy Lab Support Materials
Dave Webb of the University of Hawaii has constructed a valuable set of resources for his Plant Anatomy course, BOT 410, which he shares online at this site. His course covers the usual topics, from plant cell biology (lite!) to tissues, vegetative & reproductive anatomy, ending with fruits & seeds. If you are involved with a general biology or anatomy course, the numerous well-selected small and mid-sized images could be a great resource. This site is terminology rich and the materials are reasonably complete and usually of good quality. (***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
Or search by: Subject Index