URL of the Week  2003
December 29, 2003 -- POPLINE - RESOURCES: Population Center
This site has the latest on demography, family-planning technologies and
policies, sexually transmitted diseases, the impact of human population
growth on ecosystems, contraceptive research, how urbanization has affected
health in poor nations, and additional information on population and
reproductive health. From Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland,
POPLINE is geared for policy-makers and health care workers. Almost 300,000
entries are updated twice monthly from technical papers and books,
dissertations, newspaper articles, government reports, court records, and
other sources.
http://db.jhuccp.org/popinform/basic.html http://db.jhuccp.org/popinform

December 23, 2003 -- Skeletal Gene Database
From the shape of your cheekbone to the kinks in your toes, genes shape your
skeleton. This Web site at the National Institutes of Health holds
information on some 200 genes involved in normal and abnormal bone and
cartilage formation in mice and humans. You can look up each gene's function
and role in disease in a table that also links to genomic databases and
PubMed. In a new section, you can search a catalog of 80,000 gene fragments,
known as ESTs, by gene symbol, chromosome location, or GenBank number. The
list ranges from the BMP genes that help bone and cartilage form to VDR that
plays a role in vitamin D metabolism and can contribute to rickets.

December 15, 2003 -- Motion Integration
To walk down a busy sidewalk without bumping into people left and right,
your visual system has to correctly chart a flurry of motion. It is no easy
proposition, according to this Web tutorial that uses a series of animations
to illustrate the challenges that the visual system faces to interpret
moving objects in a way that makes sense. The site, created by Fauzia Mosca
and Nicola Bruno at the University of Trieste, Italy, acquaints upper level
students with the problems of motion perception and includes Web animations
such as the breathing square that reveal how the brain's motion sensors use
information on time and space to overcome other limitations.

December 8, 2003 -- Vents Program Acoustic Monitoring
Studies that use and explore sound in the ocean can be found at this
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site. The Acoustic
Monitoring Project has performed continuous monitoring of ocean noise since
1991. It uses the Navy Sound Surveillance System and autonomous underwater
hydrophones. Just plug in a desired latitude and longitude to receive
hydrophone data from the East Pacific Rise, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, or North
Pacific. The Web site also describes projects, ranging from those using
sound to detect undersea earthquakes and monitor marine mammals to efforts
to study the effects of noise on ocean life. A spectrogram of the sounds
produced by a blue whale compared to repeated noise from an air gun fired in
Nova Scotia, but recorded more than 3500 kilometers away on the Mid-Atlantic
Ridge, is one interesting feature. The site also includes a detailed
underwater acoustics tutorial.
Ocean Explorer Explorations
A sister site has been developed as part of NOAA's Ocean Explorer Program.
It offers a similar tutorial geared toward a more general audience.

December 1, 2003 -- The Bugwood Network
This Web clearinghouse for information about forestry, entomology, forest
health, and invasive species, has grown a new wing. Last month, it added an
insect image archive packed with more than 5400 insect images. The
high-resolution digital pictures are freely available for educational or
nonprofit use. Each image includes taxonomic information, life history
stage, and a description of whether the insect is native, invasive, or used
for biological control. The insect archive joins existing forestry, invasive
species, and agricultural image libraries. The Bugwood Network is a
collaborative effort between the University of Georgia, Athens, and
government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
National Science Foundation.

November 24, 2003 -- NRCS Plants Database
The native habitat of the beach clustervine (Jacquemontia reclinata) is also
some of the most desirable real estate in Florida: the state's southeastern
barrier islands. Jeopardized by urbanization and invasive species, the
ground-hugging vine clings to existence at only 12 sites. To learn about
plants in trouble, check this database of U.S. protected species. Recently
revamped with state listings as well as federal ones, the database provides
a profile for each plant that includes habitat, range, and taxonomy as well
as links to more info. The listing is a branch of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's PLANTS Web site.

November 17, 2003 -- NOAA;s Coral Reef Information System 
Coral reefs are the rainforests of the ocean: diverse, showy, and abused.
Reef experts and curious visitors will find data about these rich ecosystems
and the threats they face at this site, a new portal for coral data amassed
by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Atmospheric
scientists studying climate change, for instance, can download measurements
of the ratio of oxygen-18 to oxygen-16 isotopes in coral samples, useful for
reconstructing past temperatures and rainfall. Marine biologists can get
coral growth rate measurements or fish censuses for reefs in Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands. There's also a guide to nearly 3300 coral-inhabiting
fishes from around the world. For nonspecialists, the site offers plenty of
background information. Essays explore reef-wrecking diseases such as
black-band disease, a bacterial slime that smothers the coral animals,
leaving behind a barren skeleton. To get eye to eye with some reef
inhabitants, plunge into the reef section of NOAA's photo library, which
features 800 images. 

November 10, 2003 -- The World Information Network on Biodiversity
The Internet has breathed new life into museum collections by allowing
specimen data to be shared online. The Mexican National Commission on
Biodiversity's (Conabio's) site is one such data store. This tool brings a
plant and animal databases of more than 6 million specimens from museums in
North and Central America and Spain. If you're seeking possible haunts of
the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), for example, you can map
where the bat has been found along with the cacti (Neobuxbaumia) that it
Conabio's main site is also packed with other information, although it's
mostly in Spanish. You can look up Mexican taxonomists, download software
for cataloging specimens, or study a guide to Mexico's endangered birds and
mammals. And a fires page keeps tab on wildfires in the southern United
States, Mexico, and Guatemala with daily satellite images and interactive

November 3, 2003 --European Pre-Art
The original old masters are the early European artists who began adorning
caves, stones, cliff faces, and other surfaces more than 30,000 years ago.
The researchers behind EuroPreArt plan to document the diversity of this
work from the Stone Age through the Iron Age. The collection includes
records (not always in English) for more than 800 works from seven
countries, including art-rich France and Spain. Each record provides
sketches or photos of the original creation, expert descriptions and
interpretations, a bibliography, and the latest information on site
conservation. The art runs the gamut from mysterious etchings and abstract
figures to representational paintings of elk and horses.

October 27, 2003 -- Dream Anatomy
Early anatomy texts often depicted smiling, cavorting bodies flaunting their
dangling innards and exposed muscles, as in an 1681 sketch by artist John
Browne featured at this site. Although it seems macabre today, the "cadaver
at play" convention was one step toward the modern scientific drawing. Find
out more about the evolution of anatomical illustration at the fascinating
Dream Anatomy Web site, an online version of an exhibition that at the
National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.  Featuring works from
ancient Egypt to the present day, the exhibit highlights the trend toward
greater realism and accuracy, led by scientists and artists such as the
Italian anatomist Andreas Vesalius. His meticulous 1543 text is considered
the first modern anatomy book. Although the physical exhibit ends next July,
the Web version will continue to grow, says curator-historian Michael

October 20, 2003 -- Toxic and Harmful Algal Blooms
You don't want the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis to join you for dinner. The
marine alga can contaminate fish and shellfish, and exudes a toxin that can
cause diarrhea and vomiting. Find out more about the five main kinds of
algal poisoning in U.S. waters at the Web site Toxic and Harmful Algal
Blooms, hosted by the nonprofit Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The site describes the algae behind deadly
blooms such as ciguatera fish poisoning and paralytic shellfish poisoning,
explains their effects on humans and other organisms, and uncovers the
chemical details of their poisons.

October 13, 2003 --Lightness Perception and Lightness Illusions
Researchers in the Perceptual Science Group at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology illuminate the workings of the visual system. The group's
online tutorials provide some clever examples of how we can learn from
deceptive appearances. Simple animations explore 11 tricks of light. Check
out the deceptions that involve shadows and oscillating ellipses. Or for the
nitty-gritty on perception, read papers by lab members that probe the
lightness illusions or present the basics of image processing. 

October 6, 2003 -- Conservation International's Biodiversity Hotspots
Evolution plays favorites. The evidence for this statement is that only 25
small areas, known as biodiversity hotspots, boast nearly half of the
world's plant species and more than one-third of its vertebrates.
Conservationists treasure biodiversity hotspots because each one nurtures an
abundance of unique species. Visit the hotspots with this new online atlas
that expands on an analysis published by Conservation International, based
in Washington, D.C. Each is packed with facts and figures, and the atlas
takes you to places like California, Madagascar, West Africa, and the
Atlantic coastal forests of South America that host some 20,000 plant
species. You can meet some of the novel organisms in places like New
Zealand, home to flightless nocturnal parrots, rare ferns, crickets the size
of mice, and velvet worms. People are rapidly destroying habitat in the
hotspots, and the site provides the latest on conservation measures and
continuing threats. For example, to protect some New Zealand natives from
ravenous invasive species, conservationists have transplanted all the
remaining individuals to predator-free islands. 

September 29, 2003 -- World Atlas of Biodiversity
At this site you can chart an assortment of variables, from freshwater fish
diversity to photosynthetic activity, as well as characteristics of the
human population that affect biodiversity, such as density and dietary
staples. The maps are an online complement to the U.N.'s World Atlas of
Biodiversity, a encyclopedia of life released in August.

September 22, 2003 --Marine Flatworms of the World
Molecular biologist and flatworm specialist Wolfgang Seifarth of Heidelberg
University in Germany has written an informative primer on the
platyhelminths of warm seas, some of which can grow to the size of a dinner
plate. Taxonomy pages give a genus-by-genus breakdown of the group. You can
also find out about the details of their anatomy, learn about their mating
habits (most are hermaphrodites), or determine their diet and how they avoid
becoming a meal. Because worms are a delectable mouthful for a fish, some
species have evolved to closely resemble poisonous sea slugs. Others contain
their own toxins, and their gaudy colors warn potential predators. The site
also has an excellent gallery packed with underwater photographs of

September 15, 2003 -- National Wildlife Health Center
This site is the wildlife biologists' version of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The U.S. Geological Survey facility in
Madison, Wisconsin, keeps tabs on diseases that strike wild animals, probes
their causes, and helps wildlife managers fight epidemics. The center's Web
site is a clearinghouse of information on animal illnesses. You can peruse
past years of wildlife mortality reports, which identify outbreaks in the
United States, or download The Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases, a guide to
scores of common causes of illness and death in birds, from avian cholera to
mercury poisoning. The site also offers backgrounders on the epidemiology of
chronic wasting disease, a lethal brain illness similar to mad cow disease
that has killed deer and elk in 10 states, as well as the West Nile virus.
West Nile rarely infects humans but has attacked more than 200 species of
birds and wild mammals since arriving in the United States 3 years ago.

September 8, 2003 -- Critical Thinking on the Web
Do you sometimes have the suspicion that there is very little critical
thinking among your students - and even your colleagues? This collection of
links to sites that promote and teach reasoning and that uncover sloppy and
dubious arguments might help. Gathered by Tim van Gelder of the University
of Melbourne in Australia, the links range from texts and tutorials on
critical thinking to catalogs of logical fallacies and quackery. 

September 1, 2003  -- Terrorism FAQs
The answers to hundreds of questions about terrorism distinguish this online
encyclopedia released by the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to
discussing subjects such as identities and agendas of terrorist groups, the
site evaluates scientific topics such as threats from biological weapons,
chemical agents, and nuclear bombs.

August 25, 2003 -- The Science of Spectroscopy
This site designed to teach about the use of light in chemical analysis. It
takes a down-to-earth approach to teaching. It begins with an introduction
to light and its properties, and builds toward applications of spectroscopy
in consumer products, medicine, and space science. The site allows
exploration of different techniques such as mass spectrometry, scanning
electron microscopy, NMR, and interferometry in greater detail, using
virtual instruments that create sample data sets.

August 18, 2003 -- Mitochondria Project
The mitochondria that fuel cellular activities maintain their own set of
genes, betraying their origins as bacterial interlopers. This genome
database, sponsored by four German universities and institutions, contains
data on hundreds of mitochondrial genes and their proteins. Human, mouse,
and other model organisms are sequenced for genes in the mitochondrial DNA
and for related genes in the cell's nuclear DNA. The site also catalogs
diseases triggered by mutations in these genes, and protein functions,
location within the cell, and other attributes. 

August 11,2003 -- Coral Bleaching Indices
Coral reefs worldwide are falling victim to bleaching, which places them in
jeopardy. Stressed by heat, pollution, disease, or ultraviolet light, the
animals whose skeletons form the reef lose their nourishing symbiotic algae.
This site from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses
satellite measurements of sea temperatures to help scientists pinpoint where
corals are at risk. Monitoring 24 reefs in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic
oceans, the site gives each a vulnerability score based on how long water
temperature stays above the average maximum for the time of year. Links to
global maps of bleaching hot spots and animations that chart their changing
locations are included.

August 4, 2003 -- Greenhouse Gas Online
Dismayed by sites on heat-trapping greenhouse gases, Dave Reay, an
environmental scientist at the University of Edinburgh, U.K., decided to
amass his own comprehensive and up-to-date file of information. The site is
enlightening for researchers, students, and policy-makers debating how to
cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. There is a listing
of new papers gleaned from more than 100 journals, succinct backgrounders on
greenhouse gas topics, and links to news stories on pollution and climate
change, such as the recent discovery of a "brown cloud" of airborne gunk
hovering over Asia.

July 28,2003 -- Bacteria-Animal Symbiosis Site
When it emerges from hiding, the bobtailed squid quickly would become fish
food without help from some luminous bacteria, cousins of the gut-wrenching
microbe that causes cholera, that bed down inside the mollusk's body. On
moonlit nights, their glow helps obscure the squid's silhouette as it swims
near the surface. Close associations, or symbioses, between animals and
bacteria are common, and this site explores three additional examples. The
descriptions are full of details about these relationships. Each account
features a bibliography and links to labs studying the symbiosis.

July 21,2003 -- Jane Goodall Institute for Primate Studies
Meet the chimps inhabiting Gombe National Park in Tanzania and follow their
daily activities at this site from the Science Museum of Minnesota and the
University of Minnesota. The site tells the life stories of the Gombe chimps
through photos, comments from researchers, and video capturing the primates'
repertoire of behaviors. In more than 20 clips, chimps fish for termites
with a stick or play tag with a branch, and a mother tries to soothe a
youngster throwing a tantrum. 

July 14, 2003 -- Cycad Pages 
Cycads belong to an ancient, once-thriving lineage. Although far outnumbered today by flowering plants and limited to warm climates, cycads intrigue evolutionary biologists because they are the closest relatives of the group that includes all other seed-producing plants. All 250+ extant cycad species are discussed at this site, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia. Introductory pages describe their evolutionary history and taxonomy and explore their close partnership with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The site's World List of Cycads, a compendium of all named species, provides full descriptions, details of natural history, range maps, key references, and info on conservation status. 

July 7, 2003 -- Theban Mapping Project
For more than 500 years the ancient Egyptians enshrined their illustrious
dead in sumptuous tombs in the Valley of the Kings. You can tour the valley
with this multimedia atlas, an international effort to document the geology
and archaeological treasures of this part of Egypt, many of which are
crumbling due to pollution, floods, looters, heavy-footed tourists, and age.
Sixty-two tombs puncture the walls of the valley or lie nearby, including
King Tutankhamen's, one of the few not pillaged before archaeologists could
excavate. The Atlas lets you explore each burial by calling up and
manipulating floor plans and 3D reconstructions, browsing a photo gallery,
and watching a film narrated by Egyptologist Kent Weeks, director of the
project. Weeks also leads a tour into the depths of a rare double tomb,
built for the pharaoh Tausert around 3200 years ago but hastily refurbished
to hold the body of her successor Setnakht. Combining photographs with
computer reconstructions based on precise laser measurements, the
exploration reveals the tomb's grandeur and uncovers some shortcuts the
builders took during renovation. 

June 30, 2003  -- All Species Toolkit
This site can help you untwist the tangled taxonomy of some 874,000 species of animals, plants, and microbes. The search engine roots through 12 taxonomic storehouses, such as the World Spider Catalog, the Hymenoptera Name Server, and Species2000 (a growing database that aims to encompass all known organisms). Searches divulge information such as the species' classification, key references, distribution data, discarded synonyms, lists of subspecies, and sometimes photos. You can also retrieve DNA and protein sequences. Released this spring, the Toolkit is one of the first products of the All Species Foundation, a nonprofit organization that plans to compile a complete inventory of life on Earth within 25 years.

June 23, 2003 -- Bristol Biomedical Archive
If you are looking for photos of schistosomes lodged in a blood vessel or
images of the plaques that riddle the brains of Alzheimer's patients, the
Bristol Biomedical Image Archive, hosted by the University of Bristol, U.K.
could be the site for you. All 8500+ medical, veterinary, and dental images
are free for academic and educational use. The collection includes
everything from pictures of diseased tissue and pathogens to close-ups of
cellular structures to x-rays that illustrate joint structure. Downloading
high-resolution images from the site requires free registration. 

June 16, 2003 -- Duke University Primate Center
I like lemurs, so I'm indulging myself with this second URL. This less
technical site includes plenty of candid photos of the lemurs. 

June 9, 2003 -- Lemurs of Madagascar
The name "lemur," which comes from the Latin word meaning "nocturnal
spirit," is ironic. Many species of these primates are in danger of becoming
extinct because of habitat destruction and hunting. This site allows you to
explore the lives of these close kin of the earliest primates, which inhabit
only Madagascar and the neighboring Comoros Islands. It includes detailed
information on biology and conservation from the Expert Center for Taxonomic
Identification in Amsterdam.

June 2, 2003 -- Engineering Statistics Handbook
If you break out in a cold sweat when colleagues mention of statistical
tests, you can use this crash course. Beef up your stats IQ with this primer
this summer. Eight chapters guide you through topics such as measurement,
selecting statistical models, and data analysis, using samples and in-depth
case studies that emphasize engineering problems. 

May 26, 2003 -- Arthropods & Flowers Projects
Dichotomous keys, links to information about arthropods and flowers, and
assignments may be found on a page created by Anthony Bosworth, a TABT
member. He would like for you to check out his pages to see if they would be
helpful to you.

May 19, 2003 -- Yellow Fever
SARS is bad, but does it hold a candle to yellow fever, a viral illness
transmitted by a mosquito? Investigate the history of yellow fever with the
Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, an online exhibit of
over 5000 original documents from the University of Virginia,
Charlottesville. Biographies introduce the major figures in the century-old
story, including pioneering U.S. epidemiologist Walter Reed and Carlos
Finlay, the Cuban doctor whose contention that mosquitoes transmitted yellow
fever drew ridicule from most scientists of the day.

May 13, 2003 -- Robber Flies (Asilidae) Home Page
Robber flies swoop down on unwary insects or spiders, carting off their meal
and sucking it dry. Compiled by Fritz Geller-Grimm, a curator at the Museum
Wiesbaden in Germany, and Cornell grad student Torsten Dikow, this site
contains information on the biology of the world's nearly 7000 species of
robber flies. A primer, labeled drawings, electron micrographs, guide to
terminology, and 20 keys make up the content.

May 02, 2003 -- Wellcome Trust
This site from Britain offers a primer on genome research and its possible
impact on medicine and society. The site's Genome Browser profiles each
chromosome and highlights its important genes. You can read news updates and
features on topics ranging from gene therapy to the origin of red hair.
Helpful backgrounders explore the ethical implications of genome research.

April 28, 2003 -- World View of Global Warming
Expressed in average temperature increase per decade, global warming sounds
remote and unthreatening. This online gallery makes climate change real and
immediate by documenting effects seen and measured today. Examples of
environmental shifts that range from disappearing toads to melting
permafrost in Alaska to surging sea levels in Siberia to swiftly melting ice
come from peer-reviewed published studies.

April 21, 2003 --National Grid for Learning
This site from the National Grid for Learning provides written information,
pictures, animations, quick questions and a glossary on a variety of topics
ranging from health, to atoms. There are frequent interactive quizzes. The
audience is middle school and up.

April 15, 2003 -- Water Resource Network
The Water Research Network, run by the University of Bergen in Norway, lists
freshwater research projects from around the world. Organized by keyword and
location, the studies range from estimating flood volumes to limiting
non-point source pollution in Minnesota's Red River to the social impact of
the Three Gorges dam in China. Each entry, contributed by the researchers
themselves, summarizes the work and provides contact information. There's
also a bibliography that lists literature on the same subjects. 
April 7, 2003 -- Forest Biology and Dendrology Educational Sites
More than 450 species of trees are at this site on dendrology, the study of
trees. John Seiler, a tree physiologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University in Blacksburg, says that the site draws a broad
audience, from college botany students to curious hikers. Illustrated fact
sheets covering the most common species of North America provide
distinguishing details of leaf shape, flower structure, and growth form.
Find out which trees sprout in your state or use the interactive keys to
identify species by their leaves and twigs. 

March 31, 2003 -- Global Fire Monitoring Center
Whether accidental or intentional, fires have a global impact, accounting
for up to 40% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. Track the
progress of current fires, get updates on the prospects for future blazes,
or obtain statistics on past burns at this site, a clearinghouse of wildfire
data sponsored by the United Nations and hosted by the University of
Freiburg in Germany. Discover where forests and grasslands are going up in
flames with pictures snapped by NASA's Terra satellite, whose MODIS
instrument keeps an eye on fires around the globe. The site also links to
daily summaries of burns in Mexico, Southeast Asia, Brazil, and North
America, along with global, regional, and national predictions of fire
danger. The risk maps for the United States, which are updated daily, show
that this year, swaths of the western states are almost as flammable as a
cheap cigar. 

March 24, 2003 -- United Nations Atlas of the Oceans
Promoting sustainable use of the oceans is the mission of this site, a new online encyclopedia. It provides up-to-date data on human uses of the ocean and environmental issues, such as pollution, food security, and global climate change. The atlas should attract a broad audience, from schoolchildren to ecologists and policy-makers, says project manager John Everett. Sections offer overviews in fields such as fisheries, as well as documents and reports from UN agencies and organizations. The atlas is new, but some of the content is already taking shape. Visit the energy section, for example, to find a report on the feasibility of offshore wind farms and backgrounders on generating power from the tides and from waves. An image gallery is also in the works. The atlas depends on contributions from oceanographers and other specialists and needs more input, says Everett, who envisions participation from hundreds of scientists. "We're looking for collaborators to help us fill the closets in this big house we've built." 

March 17, 2003 -- WhaleNet
This sprawling educational site aimed at secondary school students,
teachers, and the general public was founded 9 years ago by marine scientist
Michael Williamson of Wheelock College in Boston to spark interest in
science and the environment as well as in whales.
The activities let students work with real data and try out some of the
tasks cetacean biologists have to master, such as identifying individual
humpback whales from pigmentation and notches on the tail fin. Students can
also follow the travels of more than 50 satellite-tagged marine mammals and
analyze 25 years' worth of sighting records for humpbacks in the Gulf of
Maine. Links explore the biology of whales, including their sonar system for
navigating and communicating. There are also more research-oriented links,
as well as population estimates from the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

March 10, 2003 -- Electronic Journal Miner
Find out where your favorite journals are located online at this site, a directory hosted by 11 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. More than 7000 titles include electronic versions of print journals and Internet-only publications. The selection features scientific offerings, from Academic Medicine to Zoomorphology. Each journal's listing provides the URL along with a brief description and whether it's free.

March 3, 2003 -- Crayfish Home Page
Crayfish, crawdads, crawfish, or mud bugs - whatever you call them - this site proves that there's more to these kin of lobsters than just providing the key ingredient for jambalaya. Keith Crandall of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, created the site in 1994 to answer the questions of inquisitive amateurs and crustacean researchers hungry for technical details. Crayfish are ancient creatures; fossils from nearly 300 million years ago have been found in Antarctica. The site reviews the taxonomy of the three known families and provides species checklists for all 50 states and for the more than 30 other countries with native forms. More than half of crayfish are in trouble, and the site includes a list of the endangered and threatened species in the United States. Crandall plans to update the taxonomic accounts to cover the diversity, including all known species (600+). http://zoology.byu.edu/crandall_lab/crayfish/crayhome.htm

February 24, 2003 -- Demography Databases
If you need to know how infant mortality rates have changed in Asia over the
last 2 decades, or the projected population of Zimbabwe in 2050 try tapping
these two demography sources. POPIN is a clearinghouse of population data
from the United Nations, including an online database that provides current
values and projections for 28 key population variables, including size,
growth rate, and density. You can break down the figures by country, region,
and continent and look out as far as 2050. You can also access a wealth of
other stats gathered by UN agencies, such as country-by-country estimates of
numbers of HIV-infected people. Another source of demographic information is
the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. Along
with articles on topics such as the parlous state of U.S. health care for
the elderly and population displacements due to strife in Colombia, the site
serves up plenty of raw data. Published annually, the handy World Population
Data Sheet collates midyear estimates of population size, birth and death
rates, and other vital stats for every country.

February 17, 2003 -- The Frequency of Inherited Disorders Database
For Japanese people, the odds of having the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) are 1 in 119,000, but the chances are 26 times higher for someone from Ireland. Knowing how the frequency of inherited diseases varies from place to place is essential for doctors and health care planners. The information can even reveal patterns of human evolution and past migrations. This new database from the University of Wales gathers figures on the prevalence of more than 280 inherited disorders, including cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and Fanconi anemia. The entries draw from more than 1000 studies, providing frequency data and links to the original abstracts in PubMed.

February 10, 2003 -- DNA Detective
Virginia Malone, a previous TABT President, sends us a site from the American Museum of Natural History. Virginia points out that students can explore the world of genetics as a DNA detective. This is one way to get students to engage more easily, especially when you connect the site with such popular television programs as CSI and your regular genetics content.

February 2, 2003 -- Antbase
If you or your students are looking for information on ant habits, taxonomy, anatomy, distribution, or conservation, you or they should visit Antbase, a portal maintained by myrmecologist Donat Agosti of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Among the eight databases accessible from the site is a gallery with more than 800 images. The bibliography stretches back to 1758. The link to FORMIS is a broader collection highlighting over 30,000 references. The Hymenoptera Name Server lists more than 100,000 scientific names and superseded synonyms. There's also a roster of 152 threatened species compiled by the World Conservation Union. Features from the museum itself include an anatomical primer, a gallery of panoramic images from lush ant habitats in Brazil, and a slide show on honey pot ants and the humans who eat them. http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects

January 27, 2003 -- Microbial Information
If you've ever wanted to find out information about a particular microbe, or
wanted to make an Internet assignment about microbes for your students,
Microbes.info may be the place to begin. This Internet web portal is
designed to bring useful and interesting microbiology informational
resources to all interested parties.  Al Chan, webmaster for this site, has
divided the information into four categories: Resources, Feature Articles,
Spotlight, and Feature FAQs. Each category is loaded with well-documented

January 20, 2003 -- Frequency of Inherited Disorders Database
The Frequency of Inherited Disorders Database (FIDD) has been established for use in a clinical context, in medical research, for epidemiological studies and in planning for genetic services. The database has been loosely structured into 14 groups of inherited disorders according to the main body system or function affected viz., neurological and neuromuscular, metabolic, hematological, skeletal and craniofacial, skin, renal, endocrine, eye, gastrointestinal, mental handicap, cardiac and circulatory, respiratory, psychiatric and a group of miscellaneous disorders. Information on 280 conditions is currently available in FIDD comprising 109 autosomal dominant disorders, 136 autosomal recessive, 35 X-linked. There are also 19 groups of less well-defined conditions such as "inherited neuromuscular disorders" or "hemophilias". The present the database contains 1580 incidence or prevalence entries extracted from 969 articles gathered from 215 journals.

January 13, 2003 -- Three for the Price of One!
Gail Dickinson says that the BBC has put out some neat simulations for biology related concepts. You can live the life of a newborn dinosaur and see how long you last. Play the Big Al game at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/. On the life of mammals interactive challenges page, you can build mammal skeletons from parts, play a fox in a variety of habitats, and explore animal diets. Do this at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/mammals/challenges/. Or, you might be interested in a page of Marine related simulations at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/blueplanet/games.shtml.

January 6, 2003 -- Aerobiological Engineering
Pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi are often airborne, especially inside closed buildings. Aerobiological engineering, a site from Pennsylvania State University, seeks to design buildings and ventilation systems that thwart these pathogens. Studies show that only 1% of colds come from that contact with strangers, as opposed to nearly half that come from family and co-workers. Discussions of topics in aerobiological engineering, epidemiology, sampling and identifying microbes, and sick building syndrome make up one section. Another section investigates the spread and control of Legionnaire's disease. You can also peruse a gallery of the most common airborne microbes or study antipathogen technologies such as ultraviolet irradiation, filtration, and even indoor plants that may reduce the numbers of nasties in the air.

2002 URL of the Week

2001 URL of the Week