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HIgh School Level

www.biotopics.co.uk Interactive biology - educational and entertaining

for GCSE, AS & A2 Biology

> www.microbes.info Microbiology news and information
> Medicine Through Time
> The Visible Human
> Molecular Biology: beginners guide to cells, chromosomes and DNA
> Eureka: introduction to DNA
> British Trees: includes infromation on habitats
> Endangered Species
> www.froguts.com online dissection of a frog, complete with squidgy noises!
> www.scienceisnthard.com hints and tips
> http://biology.bluhm-it.com


EuroTurtle:Roger Poland and the Biology Department at King's College, Taunton have  produced this excellent interactive website that contains a wealth of information on the conservation and biology of sea turtles.

Biology GCSE: GCSE Biology Revision is just one section of Nigel Purchon's wonderful Science website. Although initially produced for his students as Kingsbury High School, this comprehensive website is available to the whole Internet community.

A Level Biology: This site by Mark Rothery is aimed primarily at AS and A2 level biology students. It contains comprehensive notes that cover the whole specification that are well illustrated interactive past paper questions with answers , keypoint summaries, word documents of handouts,

The Ocean Planet: This website is managed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The Ocean Planet is a virtual reality tour of the successful exhibition held at the National Museum of Natural History in 1995-6. The original exhibition attracted nearly two million visitors and now it has been made available to the rest of the world. The design of the website lets you click the floor plan to navigate, or you can search the site by subject. Most of the educational materials available here were developed specifically for the Ocean Planet Exhibition. These are in electronic form and can be retrieved for use in the classroom. Other organisations such as the University of Kansas and the New England Aquarium have also developed materials that link with the exhibition and these are also available from this website. There are also nine free fact-sheets that relate to the exhibition. A splendid website that is well worth the visit.

St. Louis Science Centre: St. Louis Science Centre is a museum that is experimenting with new and more interactive ways of displaying their exhibits. Their first online gallery is 'Ecology and Environment Past'. This gallery enables the user to explore 300 pages of photographs, animation, videos, drawings and text. 'Ecology and Environment Past' includes Dinosaur animations, a robotic T-Rex, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian dioramas and a Triceratops excavation. There is also an exhibition on the St. Louis area that explains how the region has changed through geological time, which creatures have lived there in the past, and what its current earthquake and tornado risks are. 'Science Adventures' is another popular part of the site. St. Louis Science Centre describe their science adventures as "pre-visit treasure maps that lead your class to the excitement of learning". Titles include: 'Struggle in the Steamy Swamp', 'The Talking Rock', 'Marooned on the Moon', and 'Alien Report'.

Eden Project: The Eden Project in Cornwall houses thousands of the world's plants under special domes, and since opening in March 2001, has attracted more than a million visitors. The official website is disappointing but a team at Learn have produced an impressive educational micro-site for the project aimed at both children and teachers.

The Great Plant Escape: Schools Online is a web site packed full of imaginative curricula and teaching ideas from the
professionals at University of Illinois Extension. It's sites include The Great Plant Escape that teaches students the great mysteries of plant life. Case by case the students will check the clues, try experiments and solve problems as Bud and
Sprout journey into the world of plants. Students learn the basics of composting, germination, seeds and soils.

Exploring the Environment: This website places cooperatively grouped students into problem-solving roles requiring them to conduct research and generate a proposed solution. The problem sets, which deal with environmental issues, engage students in such matters as population growth, biodiversity, land use patterns, water pollution, and global warming. Online information provides students with problem-solving guides, problem-specific background material, links to other resources via the World Wide Web (WWW), and access to NASA's database of Earth Science satellite images. Teacher materials provide information concerning specific content, cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and assessment.

Evolution: This website has been written and designed by the staff of Berkeley University in California. There is information on twenty-five scientists involved in the development of the evolution theory. These scientists are listed under four different categories: 'Founders of Natural Science', 'Great Naturalists of the 18th Century', Preludes to Evolution' and 'Natural Selection and Beyond'. The subject is also looked at through three topics: 'Systematics: The Study of Phylogeny and Classification', 'Dinosaur Discoveries: Findings and Early Interpretations' and 'Vertebrate Flight: A Case Study in Convergent Evolution'.

Dictionary of Cell Biology: The Dictionary of Cell Biology was first published in 1989. The main objective was to provide access to easily-understood and cross-referenced definitions of terms frequently encountered when studying the subject. The second edition, published in 1995, plus enhancements planed for the third edition, is now available free on the Internet. The dictionary has 5450 entries and 5772 cross-references and covers organelles, the nucleus, membrane trafficking, the cytoskeleton, diseases, cell motility and the cell cycle.

Human Anatomy On-line: Informative Graphics Corporation is a commercial software company that has produced this website to show the public what it can do. Human Anatomy On-line contains over one hundred illustrations of the human body with animations and thousands of descriptive links. Using hot spots on the anatomy illustrations, the user can explore their chosen body system (skeleton, muscular, cardiovascular, etc.) through floating anatomy labels. Illustrated animations for specific body functions (heart pumping, lungs breathing, etc.) are also provided, as well as illustrated views of how a baby develops in the womb.

BioTech: The Biotech website is produced and maintained by the University of Texas. Designed for students of biology and chemistry, the website includes an Illustrated Dictionary of the Life Sciences, a Chemical Acronyms Database, Introduction to Glycolysis (an interactive textbook), Science Resources (an annotated list of biomedical websites) and Bioinformatics (an introduction to this hybrid of computer science and biology). The website also includes Cyberbotanica, a virtual chapter in medicinal botany that describes the various botanical compounds used in cancer treatment and the plants that produce them.

Biology Hypertextbook: The Biology Hypertextbook was originally produced for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Introductory Biology course. Organized by chapter, the material covers topics such as development, immunology, environmental science, cancer, etc. At the end of each chapter there is a practice problems section. This comprehensive guide to biology also has a searchable index the allows you to quickly find the material that you require.

Dynamic Great Lakes The Dynamic Great Lakes Website describes how the author researched her new book, The Dynamic Great Lakes. The book is about changes in the world’s greatest freshwater system: changes due to natural forces as well as changes caused by people. The information will allow people to make good decisions about these lakes. In addition to excerpts from the book, there are color photos from around the five Great Lakes and their connecting waters from the U.S.A., Canada and photos of the Great Lakes taken from satellites. Other photos and excerpts feature connecting rivers, cities, beaches, sand dunes, marshes, and international bridges. There is a link to the Great Lakes Daily News featuring newspaper and radio articles gleaned from numerous sources every day.

Trees Are Terrific: Schools Online is a web site packed full of imaginative curricula and teaching ideas from the
professionals at University of Illinois Extension. The site is constantly growing with new sites added regularly with the newest being Trees Are Terrific for 5 to 8 year olds. It teaches children the basics of trees and their importance to our lives.

Nature Grid: Canterbury Environmental Education Centre is located on the 23-acre Broad Oak Nature Reserve. The reserve is a fine example of how a former industrial site (gravel pit) has been reclaimed and enhanced to provide a variety of habitats including, large areas of open water, marginal reed beds and wetlands, woodland, scrub and grassland. Carefully constructed pathways, bridges, bird hides and other structures enable the visitor to enjoy the variety of life living here. It is possible also to view the reserve from the unique vantage point offered by the Water Trail. The centre's website includes teaching material on grasslands, woodlands, ponds, rivers, plants and biodiversity.


Polar Bears: Have you ever wondered how climate change is effecting polar bears? The WWF is funding research at the Norwegian Polar Institute to find out how species dependent on sea ice habitats are impacted by climate change. By tracking the movements of polar bears, we can learn more about how they use their habitat. Two bears, Gro and Louise, are tagged with radio collars, which beam their positions via a satellite to this website. By visiting the WWF's Polar Bear Tracker, students can follow the movements of the polar bears and find out how pollution, overhunting and the melting of arctic sea ice is effecting them.

Science Education Resources: The main objective of Shaun Allison's website is to provide science teachers everywhere, with a site where they can download resources which have been tried and tested in the classroom. This particular site concentrates mostly on word and excel documents, which can be downloaded by the user - adapted to fit their own purpose or used as they are. It is hoped that users will also send in their own resources, to be published on the site, in order to build up a thorough resource bank. This site is completely free. Resources are organised according to GCSE AQA modules and KS3 QCA modules.

Charles Darwin and Darwiniana: The heart of the C. Warren Irvin Jr. Collection, donated to Thomas Cooper Library, in 1996, is Darwin's own writings. The Irvin Collection was first exhibited at Thomas Cooper Library in 1992. This much-expanded web exhibit sets out both to chart Darwin's career and to illustrate his achievements and influence, setting Darwin's own books in the context of works by his scientific contemporaries.

Exploring Biodiversity. This website produced by the Natural History Museum provides an interactive introduction to biodiversity. It allows students to investigate what biodiversity means, explore different ways of measuring biodiversity, compare the floras of different British postal districts and consider factors influencing British species distributions. It also provides ideas for outdoor and classroom based biodiversity studies and links to other biodiversity related websites.

Bionet: This website that lets you explore and debate the latest discoveries in life sciences. Should we clone human embryos to cure disease? Would you choose your child's genes? Would you eat genetically modified food? Will new drugs keep you healthy and make you live forever? This website has been created by eight European science centres and museums, and is presented in nine different languages. You can explore the science, look at the ethical issues, compare the laws in different countries, play games and express your opinions.

Museum of Microscopy: Microscopes, first invented more than four centuries ago, have undergone many changes over the years. The Molecular Expressions Museum of Microscopy is a historic exploration of the beautiful and functional instruments. Examples range from rudimentary sixteenth century Dutch designs, to the ornate microscopes of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, to the latest microprocessor-powered models.

Green Choices: This website provides a guide to greener living which offers advice and encouragement to make environmentally friendly, ethical and sustainable lifestyle choices. It includes information on recycling, food and drink and the home. The schools section offers links to learning about green issues, teaching resources about sustainable development, and helping to manage schools in a more environmentally friendly way. There are games and activities for all age groups up to 16.

Virtual Skeletons Project: This project is funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation as part of the interagency Digital Libraries initiative. The purpose of this site is to enable you to view the bones of a human, gorilla, and baboon and to gather information about them from our osteology database. This site provides an interactive environment in which to examine and learn about skeletal anatomy. This includes: high-quality images of bones labels of all muscles, articulations, and morphological features high-resolution 3-D renderings of the skeletal elements in both animation (Quicktime) and interactive virtual reality (VRML) format.

Nutty Birdwatcher: This website offers information on birdwatching, backyard bird feeding, comprehensive bird feeder preference chart, suet receipes, what are the natural foods of birds which includes insects, mammals, etc., spring and fall bird migration timetables, the do's & dont's of building bird nestboxes, comprehensive guides to identifying birds with checklists. Other features include information about bird habitats and their breeding and nesting habits, galleries which include paintings and pictures of birds with species accounts, facts and hard-to-find information such as bird group names, predators to birds, feeder facts, etc.

Zoos: This website provides reviews of the world's zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums. British ones featured include Edinburgh Zoo, London Aquarium, Marwell Zoo and Paignton Zoo. The website also has links to a collection of webcams where you can view live pictures of chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, tigers, kangaroos, panthers, polar bears, giraffes, alligators, snow leopards, pandas, lions, sharks, cheetahs, rhinos, flamingos and zebras.

DNA Learning Center: The Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC) is the world's first science center devoted entirely to public genetics education and is an operating unit of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an important center for molecular genetics research. The DNA Learning Center website argues that the "social imperative of genetics research demands the development of educational resources to build a genetically literate public that supports basic biological research, understands elements of personal genetic health, and participates effectively in policy issues involving genetic technology and information".

Groundwater: In this module students develop understanding about groundwater resources and the impact that humans and the forces of nature have on groundwater depletion. Through a series of individual and cooperative group activities the students investigate the relevance of fresh, accessible groundwater to them. Groups then compare the water quality of different sources of drinking water by conducting water quality tests on drinking water.

Mammal Species of the World: This Department of Systematic Biology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History website contains details of the 4,629 currently recognized species of mammals, in a taxonomic hierarchy that includes Order, Family, Subfamily, and Genus. The list was compiled by an international team of contributors. It can be used as an online reference, or adapted as an authority file for collections management activities of mammal collections. The database may be searched using a number of different fields, including scientific and common names, original publication citation, type species or locality, distribution, etc.

Butterfly and Insect World: Based in Lasswade, Scotland, Butterfly and Insect World allows you to take an exciting journey through a tropical rainforest, experience the life and learn about the creatures. See exotic butterflies and tropical birds flying free, handle snakes and spiders, see poisonous frogs and scorpions, leaf cutter ants and much much more. At any one time, 30 to 40 species can be seen, from the brilliant blue of the South American Morpho butterfly, to the tiny transparent Glasswing butterfly, to the scarlet, yellow and black Postman butterfly. During the course of a year, it has over 300 species, so there is always a new species to see. At regular intervals throughout the day, handling sessions are held, an opportunity for visitors to get to grips with some of the larger animals. Regular stars appearing are Milly the millipede, Monty the royal python, Jemima the jungle nymph (a stick insect) and a cameo performance by Abby-Sue, a tarantula (or her stunt double!)

Natural History Museum: With over 70 million specimens and over 350 collections-based curators and researchers the NHM represents the national centre for the study of taxonomy and systematics. The material is organized under the headings: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology, Zoology and Biodiversity. There is also a lively and stimulating programme of exhibitions and events about nature. The Darwin Centre is a major new development at the Natural History Museum. It provides world-class storage facilities for precious collections, new laboratories, and access behind the scenes for visitors. Whereas the Life Galleries contain details of dinosaurs, insects, ecology, human biology, mammals, primates, minerals and origin of species.

Biology: This is a new multimedia and interactive website for A level biology. You can access selected services for free, or subscribe for the full range. A total of 218 different topics cover the entire curriculum of all UK A level boards. Topics come with a range of learning features, from text book data to videoclips. Each topic can be reached in three easy ways: via the topic contents list, through the A level specifications of the exam boards or using the search engine.

The Deep: Hull is home to Britain's leading aquarium and includes a huge tank containing 2.5m litres of water. The Deep is an environmental and educational charity dedicated to understanding and protecting the world's oceans. Its Learning Centre has a collection of teaching resources for Biology, Science, Maths, Design & Technology, Art & Design and English. The Discovery Zone includes games and a Fish Library.


Microbes: Although it adopts a gimmicky format, with microbiologist Sam Sleuth solving microbe mysteries, this website provides students with a comprehensive account of the subject. This includes information on what they are, where they live, there use in pollution control, medicine and industry. The material is organized in several different sections: Solving Microbe Mysteries, Microbes in the News and Experiments.

The Black Death: Professor Christopher Duncan and Dr Susan Scott of Liverpool University have argued that the Black Death, which killed 23m people in the middle ages, could be lying dormant and could strike again. Their claim is based on the theory that the pandemic was triggered not by bubonic plague but by another virus. "We believe this virus is merely lying in wait, ready to strike again," said Professor Duncan. The Black Death is thought to have caused the deaths of up to 200m people worldwide over the past 1,500 years. However, DR Michael Smith, a leading expert on plague, is not convinced: "For many years, there have been queries about whether the bubonic plague was responsible for the Black Death. However, much of the clinical descriptions certainly fit bubonic plague. A paper, published by French researchers recently, based on DNA tests on the remains of two people who died during this time also found evidence that it was bubonic plague."

Influenza Pandemic of 1918: The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War (1914-18), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster. In the fall of 1918 the Great War in Europe was winding down and peace was on the horizon. The Americans had joined in the fight, bringing the Allies closer to victory against the Germans. Deep within the trenches these men lived through some of the most brutal conditions of life, which it seemed could not be any worse. Then, in pockets across the globe, something erupted that seemed as benign as the common cold. The influenza of that season, however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children.

The Evolutionary Tales: A rhymed-verse parody of The Canterbury Tales, this site produced by Ronald L. Ecker, deals engagingly with the overwhelming evidence for evolution and the pseudoscientific nature of "creation science” or “intelligent design theory." Ten experts (eight scientists, a philosopher, and a Bible scholar), on their way to a creationist "Back to Genesis" seminar, tell ten "tales" - lively verse essays in their fields of specialization - about evolutionary theory and the fallacies of creationism. The Bible scholar, who has the last word, makes the point that evolution and creation - shorn of fundamentalist biblical literalism - need not be incompatible concepts. With extensive notes, bibliography, and index, the site is continuously updated to include the latest discoveries and perspectives.

Bubonic Plague: Throughout the 20th century it was universally believed that bubonic plague – a bacterial disease spread by rodents – was responsible for the plagues that ravaged Europe for over 300 years after the Black Death appeared in 1347. Yet the evidence, from witness accounts and records of preventative measures, suggests outbreaks of an infectious disease spread person-to-person, which could be checked by an effective quarantine period. This was, in fact, the orthodox medical view up to around 1900. Now, two researchers at the Liverpool University have shown, by applying modern techniques of epidemiology, molecular biology and computer modelling to the detailed analysis of historical records, that the causative agent was not a bacterium at all, but a virus with unusual epidemiological characteristics.


BBC Health: An excellent website that includes a great deal of information on health. Every week day, Dr Trisha Macnair and DR Rob Hicks answer one question exclusively for BBC Health. The extensive archive includes all topics the doctors have covered so far. It's continuously growing as a fresh topic is added on a daily basis. The A-Z Illnesses and Conditions section contains information about the vital facts about a plethora of illnesses and conditions from around BBC Health whereas Healthy Living looks at nutrition, weight, fitness and complementary medicine.

Net Doctor: As well as an extensive encyclopedia covering diseases, medicines and examinations, there's a forum for discussing medical issues. There are articles on lifestyle subjects including fitness, parenthood and giving up smoking. You can also take interactive tests for certain conditions such as addictions and depression. You can also email questions directly to the doctor. There is also a database of previously asked questions.



Doctor Over Time: It didn't really matter what ailed you. If you were sick in 1900, your doctor couldn't do much more than provide comfort until your body defeated the illness, or until the illness defeated you. The doctor had a few goodies in his little black bag, though: morphine and aspirin to ease pain, quinine to fight off malaria, smallpox vaccine, and digitalis for heart failure. How that black bag has grown in the past century! There are medicines and treatments for almost every illness known to man. This activity shows how doctors over this century would have handled the same afflictions. All you have to do is complain to the doctor, then see how he or she responds.

KidsHealth: Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, the award-winning KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use. KidsHealth has been on the Web since 1995 - and has been accessed by over 100,000,000 visitors. KidsHealth has separate areas for kids, teens, and parents - each with its own design, age-appropriate content, and tone. There are literally thousands of in-depth features, articles, animations, games, and resources - all original and all developed by experts in the health of children and teens.

On the Edge: This PBS website looks at the stories of the Aids researcher Dr David Ho; the developers of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin; the work of the astronomer Jocelyn Bell, and the discovers of the early tranquilliser chlooropromazine, Henri Laborit and Pierre Deniker. There are two versions of this material. This includes a series of colourful cartoons.