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URL of the Week Archive  2009

December 21, 2009

California Oak Mortality Task Force

Phytophthora ramorum, which causes sudden oak death and has attacked oaks and other woodland plants in 14 counties in California and one in southern Oregon, is the subject of this site. It features a chronology and maps that track P. ramorum. You can also learn how to diagnose infestations and read about the pest’s impact on U.S. nurseries. A gallery of species felled by the pathogen includes an aerial photo of dying and dead tanoaks in California's Los Padres National Forest near Monterey.


December 14, 2009
At this site you can find out more about hundreds of other disorders affecting no more than one person out of 2000. You can search for information on a particular disease and pull up a description of the symptoms and underlying cause. Entries also record orphan drugs, treatments for rare diseases that are unprofitable to manufacture, and link to research projects and clinical trials around the world.

November 30, 2009


This site from paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago you to see which dinosaur names have survived and which have gone extinct as experts have refined taxonomies. The site focuses on taxonomic levels above the genus, and covers all archosaurs, the group that comprises dinosaurs and their kin (except for birds and crocodiles). You can view the listings to find out who first named a group, its official definition, and its chronological range. If a name has died out, you can learn why.


November 23, 2009

Carnivore Conservation

The latest news on bears, seals, weasels, and other mammalian carnivores is available at this site from French researcher Guillaume Chapron. It contains PDFs of reports, theses, and other documents on carnivore preservation and ecology. You can also learn about upcoming meetings and search through a bibliography with more than 5700 abstracts, including many from conferences and hard-to-find publications.


November 9, 2009

Schizophrenia Research Forum

You can find the conclusions of the latest study comparing different antipsychotic drugs, track down a potential collaborator in Italy, or discover what leading schizophrenia researchers have on their minds, and more at this site. Features include a news section and interviews with scientists such as Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who helped show that “obstetric events” such as premature birth boost the risk of schizophrenia.


November 2, 2009

The Microbe Project

This portal offers a synopsis of microbiological research, often providing links to projects, databases, and other resources. The site also furnishes news and an education section.


October 26, 2009


The French government sponsors the virtual multiplex displays entrants from the last four rounds of the Cinema of the Cell festival. Researchers and students present their educational Web films, which use techniques from traditional animation to stop-motion with Lego blocks. There are more than 30 shorts ranging from “A Day in the Life of a Social Amoeba” to the establishment of cell polarity in nematodes from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


October 19, 2009

Medicine in the Americas

This collection from the U.S. National Library of Medicine houses scanned versions of eight medical books published between the early 18th and early 20th centuries. Michael North plans to add 100 more titles on medicine throughout the Americas.


October 12, 2009


This new video-sharing site from the Public Library of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center allows posts of short videos, or pubcasts, in which latest papers are explicated. The site offers advice on video production and posting. So far it contains open-access papers in biology, but it will expand to include other subjects and types of publications.


October 5, 2009

Devonian Times

This site is about the “Age of Fishes” that witnessed major changes in aquatic animals, including the evolution of lobe-finned and ray-finned fishes and the definitive emergence of sharks. This newspaper-like site contains a basic background on the plants, animals, and geology of the period. There is also a “Who’s Who” of fossil organisms from Red Hill, an important Devonian site in Pennsylvania.


September 28, 2009

Snowball Earth
This site is sponsored by geologist and “snowball Earth” hypothesis advocate Paul Hoffman of Harvard University. The hypothesis holds that ice encased the planet for several million years starting about 2.2 billion years ago, again 710 million years ago, and then 640 million years ago. Background pages present supporting evidence and probe possible causes and consequences for life. The site also offers nearly 200 downloadable slides for classroom use, such as a map of “oases” where life might have endured the big freezes, and other resources.


September 21, 2009

Joseph Dalton Hooker Web Site

This site’s biography touches on Hooker’s early collecting expeditions, which took him from New Zealand to the Himalayas, and his struggle to find a permanent job. Visitors can also browse a selection of his writings, including his description of Darwin’s botanical specimens from the Galápagos Islands.


September 7, 2009

Flu Wiki

This site is a source of information about the H5N1 avian influenza virus and its potential to trigger a human pandemic. A primer dissects the influenza virus and follows it into the body to see how it damages the respiratory system. Other pages discuss the limitations of anti-flu drugs such as Tamiflu and theorize about what deadly traits the 1918 flu strain and H5N1 share. These viruses might unleash a flood of immune system messengers termed a cytokine storm. You can scan different countries’ pandemic influenza plans. The site also links to resources on the flu’s possible economic, legal, and ethical implications.


August 24, 2009

Ask a Scientist

Queries from teachers, students, and members of the public are answered by professors, postdocs, and grad students at this site. The questions are varied and answered within two weeks of posting.


August 17, 2009

The Triple Helix

This online journal allows students to study the interplay between science, society, and the law. The site offers student-written features and news updates on topics such as the recently proposed home HIV tests. You can also download a PDF of the first print issue of the journal, which included articles on the Vioxx recall and the ethics of xenotransplantation.


August 9, 2009

Virtual Cell Animation Collection

Students can follow the steps of translation or zoom in on other biological processes at this site from North Dakota State University in Fargo. There are eight narrated animations. Beginners who only need an overview of the action can click through the stills in the “First Look” sections. The “Advanced Look” options provide more details for higher level students.


August 2, 2009

Robert Boyle

This site from the University of London provides information about Robert Boyle’s contributions and some of his writings. Boyle was one of the first scientists to publish experimental details such as his deductions on blood circulation and that air contained something necessary to sustain fire. You can read selections from 11 volumes of Boyle’s papers and study a timeline of Boyle’s life and accomplishments in context with British history and intellectual developments.


July 27, 2009

The Human Gene Mutation Database

This site, hosted by Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, identifies the errors that contribute to a long list of genetic disorders. The clearinghouse lists more than 47,000 disease-linked mutations in human DNA. Users can search the database by gene or by disorder. The results, organized by type of mutation, connect to PubMed abstracts.


July 20, 2009


This new brain atlas can help you understand the brain’s geographical variability. Unlike previous atlases that relied on scans of one brain, this site maps the contours of the cerebral cortex by averaging the MRI scans of 12 people. You can see 17 views of the brain's surface. Controls let you rotate the images and view them from different angles.


July 13, 2009

Frog Calls

This site has video showing tangles of mating frogs and other amphibian footage, but focuses on Midwestern species, offering clips of a dozen kinds of frogs and toads singing their mating songs. In video interviews, herpetologists discuss topics such as the different calls males use to attract mates and rebuff rivals and the advantages of breeding early or late in the year. Researchers also touch on the problems of malformed and disappearing amphibians.


July 6, 2009


This site from Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, helps access and analyze birders’ tallies. It lets visitors submit their sightings to a database that already has entries from 15,000 people. Researchers can then study the records, plotting counts for a particular area or species.


June 29, 2009

Parasitic Plant Connection

For information on just about every parasitic plant, including photographs, this is the site for you. It’s easy for me to get lost in such a site as this one.


June 22, 2009

Native Plant Societies

This group of links sends the visitor to state and regional plant societies, as well as international ones. There is some excellent information on some of the links.


June 15, 2009

Science Cinémathèque

This site breaks the stereotypes of scientists and mathematicians as megalomaniacs or maladjusted superbrains. It explores complex portrayals of research and researchers in popular culture.


June 1, 2009

Microbe World

You can get find information about microbes from the American Society for Microbiology. The society has begun podcasting its MicrobeWorld Radio, a 90-second daily program of microbiology news. You can listen to the files on the computer or a digital audio player. Shows explore subjects such as methane on Mars, a possible indicator of life, and antimicrobial foods such as garlic and dried plum extract.


May 25, 2009

Everglades Digital Library

The (EDL) is a comprehensive portal to high-quality Internet resources relating to the south Florida environment. These resources include online texts, articles, reports, photographs, maps, datasets, educational materials, and historical records, as well as links to organizational web sites and agency home pages. These materials come from libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and more.


May 18, 2009

Hypertension Online

This site from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas offers information about atherosclerosis. You can peruse updates on the latest drug trials and screen an animation that illustrates how high blood pressure injures the heart.


May 11, 2009

Office of Dietary Supplements

This site contains a list of the some of the best papers in the field of dietary supplements selected by experts convened by the National Institutes of Health. You can download a PDF with abstracts from the papers and similar reports from previous years.


May 4, 2009

Jellies Zone

Information about jellyfish and their kin can be found out from this Web site by David Wrobel of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Readings about groups of gelatinous creatures that live along the U.S. Pacific Coast, a jellies FAQ, and galleries containing spectacular photos are to be found at the site.


April 27, 2009

Microbiological Garden

Microbes prosper in some pretty unlikely places. This site exhibits some microbes in exotic environments and in habitats closer to home. It features more than 20 photo essays on microbial topics. You can tag along on bug-hunting expeditions, learn how to isolate luminescent bacteria from herring, and observe the microbes that inhabit the scum on the surface of a stagnant pool.


April 20, 2009

The Cochlea

You can study the cochlea’s architecture and workings at this site from Italian researchers Renato Nobili of the University of Padua and Fabio Mammano of the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine. The anatomy section dissects the coiled structure down to the vibration-detecting inner hair cells. Illustrations and animations can help you grasp the complexities of translating waves in the cochlea’s fluid into nerve signals.


April 13, 2009

Introduction to Cardiothoracic Imaging

This site from Yale University School of Medicine is aimed at medical students, but the beautifully illustrated tutorial is a good resource for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of heart and lung anatomy. Other sections use x-rays, echocardiogram footage, and media to show how the structures change as a result of diseases, and information about various imaging techniques.


April 6, 2009

Biographical Sketches of Some Ecologists, Evolutionists, and Biogeographers

Brief biographies of more than 100 other early ecologists, evolutionists, and biogeographers are contained in this reference from Charles Smith, a science librarian at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, and colleagues. The site spans the 17th century to 1950 and describes each researcher’s significance, provides a chronology, and includes links to any online books or papers.


March 30, 2009

Understanding Genetics

This site from the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California contains interactive exhibits on such topics as eye color inheritance and whether the produce in your refrigerator could be genetically modified. The museum's on-call geneticist discusses issues in the news and answers questions from readers.


March 23, 2009


This site from the World Wildlife Fund is a database that allows you to map the distributions of 30,000 species of terrestrial amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. A search returns which of the world's 825 ecoregions the animal inhabits – areas with similar environments and species. The maps draw on information from field guides, online databases, scientific papers, and other sources. You can also scan the database geographically to retrieve a list of the vertebrates that live in a particular city or country. For a global view of species diversity, visit the Map Gallery, whose offerings include a chart of mammal species numbers.


March 16, 2009

Exotic Species of San Francisco Bay
Invasive organisms find the San Francisco Bay area congenial. More than 175 alien species have settled in the bay’s waters, making it one of the world’s hot spots for aquatic invaders. Meet many of these troublemakers at a new guide from the San Francisco Estuary Institute in Oakland.

The guide helps identify and monitor invasive species.


March 9, 2009

Molecular Logic

High school and beginning college students can study and manipulate these interactions among atoms and molecules at this site. A database has interactive activities that run with free software available from the site.


March 2, 2009


Anatomical illustration also blossomed as artists strove for greater accuracy, added color, and burnished their craft in other ways. This online exhibit from the University of Toronto Libraries in Canada has 4500 medical plates from 95 texts published between 1522 and 1867. Some illustrations are interactive.


February 23, 2009

The Evidence for Human Evolution

This site offers a clear take on human ancestry and debunks creationist views on the subject.


February 16, 2009

Miocene Mammal Mapping Project

This site allows a look at patterns in mammal evolution and distribution. It enables users to pinpoint mammal fossil localities from the Miocene and late Oligocene epochs. The database houses information on more than 3400 sites in the western United States gleaned from the literature and unpublished records. Users can map fossil finds by categories that include formation, species, and age. Clicking on a locality brings data such as the site’s time range, environment type, and mammal groups.


February 9, 2009

Geologic Time: A Changing Earth

This interactive timeline offers a handy reference on the different stages of Earth’s past. The site spotlights the geological and biological events of the different eons, eras, periods, and epochs. Photo albums display representative rocks and fossils from each time. The site also includes backgrounders on concepts such as radioactive dating and plate tectonics.


February 2, 2009

Children’s Hospital, Boston

Flash animations of the neuron, stem cells, proteomics, and more!


January 12, 2009

Harvard Outreach Program

Flash animations of regenerative (stem cell) biology, evolution, neurobiology, immunology and cancer that have been created by teachers.


2009 TABT URL of the Week
2008 TABT URL of the Week
2007 TABT URL of the Week
2006 TABT URL of the Week
2005 TABT URL of the Week
2004 TABT URL of the Week

2003 TABT URL of the Week
2002 TABT URL of the Week
2001 TABT URL of the Week