to BioTechniques free email alert service to receive content updates.
WebWatch

Long on Song

For some of us, music is the sound coming out of brass, string, and reed-based instruments, or human voices. But a true nature lover has a decidedly different perspective. Lang Elliott's Music of Nature site resonates with this viewpoint and we can all revel in its leanings. On the pages, visitors will discover over 70 audio/video combinations that show nature at its most melodious. Experience the calls of 47 different birds as you watch them sing in high-quality videos. If your tastes are more in line with action nature shots, check out the amazing video of the preying mantis consuming a katydid (accompanied by Bach, no less). [www.musicofnature.org/home/blog]



Science Faction

Tired of lame, stereotypical depictions of science and scientists in pop culture? Perhaps you're a scientist looking for an outlet for your creative writing efforts. Well, at LabLit.com, you'll discover a clever web site that simply combines them. Jennifer Rohn created the site with an editorial focus that is “dedicated to real laboratory culture and the portrayal and perceptions of that culture,” LabLit.com is nothing if not novel (no pun intended) in its coverage of science. Catering to the science writer and the scientific or non-scientific reader, LabLit.com breaks new ground in its portrayal of science and scientists. Start your trek through it with “Dear Hollywood, From Science,” to get a taste of the offerings, and then branch out in dozens of directions driven only by your tastes. What you'll experience is a refreshing look at the people and the philosophy that shapes our world.

[www.lablit.com]

Choose News

It has been said that the most important step to being a good scientist is learning to ask the right questions. It may also be that the best way to be an advocate for science is to read the right answers. At Biology-blog, you can do both, thanks to “newsy” articles in the forefront of science. Always topical and fun to read, articles at Biology-blog are split into three categories: plant science, animal science, and biology. The articles make for great reading and, interestingly, rarely overlap with science articles at other popular news sites, thus readily expanding visitors’ information pools. If you've ever wondered, for example, about the multiple defenses plants use against insects, the answer is as near as the URL below.

[www.biology-blog.com]

Gen-ed Genetics

Let there be no mistake: if you enter the URL below into your browser, you will get a lesson in modern genetics, whether you are a person who knows nothing about the subject, a student hoping to “flesh out” information on a class matter, or an instructor searching for teaching materials. Most impressively, each of these visitors will benefit equally, due to the multiple knowledge levels at which the Learn Genetics web site is aimed. Hosted at the University of Utah, Learn Genetics excels in its online learning modules cutting a wide swath through modern molecular biology. From the basics to the genetic disorders library, Learn Genetics hammers home an important lesson: modern molecular biology instruction doesn't have to be ‘techie’ to be effective. Instead, excellent design, clear graphics, and a great implementation work wonders.

[http://learn.genetics.utah.edu]

Home of the Microbiome

There are ten times more bacterial cells in the human body than there are human ones. That rather startling statistic is enough to make one seriously rethink what it means to be human. Indeed, without our diverse collection of hitchhiking microbes (including in some of us, amazingly enough, archaeans), we would probably not be here. Facilitating understanding of this interspecies detente is the Microbiome project, which is actively probing our “other side.” Using modern genome sequencing techniques and phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNAs, researchers plan to fully characterize over 1000 species and post their results on Microbiome, thus providing a better understanding of our microbial fingerprint.

[www.hmpdacc.org]

Chemosynthesis

If you're looking for a chemical synthesis database, you can certainly find some excellent ones that charge for access, but if you're on a tight budget, the ChemSynthesis Chemical Database may be the solution to your problem. Information from 12 major journals provides the site's content, which is not easy to ignore. With over 45,000 synthesis references on tap and up to 50,000 more planned for summer, ChemSynthesis likely has the scope and the price to meet most needs.

[www.chemsynthesis.com]