SITE VISIT: Cyano Cache

Science  24 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5363, pp. 491a
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.491a

Researchers who study cyanobacteria are a diverse crowd, ranging from plant biologists probing photosynthesis to ecologists investigating toxic algal blooms. Pulling together resources for all these parties is Cyanosite (http://www-cyanosite.bio.purdue.edu/index.html), started in 1995 by University of Notre Dame microbiologist Mark A. Schneegurt. “It's aimed at everybody,” he says.

The centerpiece of Cyanosite is a bibliography of more than 5300 cyanobacteria references that one can freely download, sort, and search. That setup may seem cumbersome, but searchable online databases with the same breadth of coverage (such as BIOSIS) aren't free, notes Schneegurt, who put the bibliography online last summer with Jeff Elhai of the University of Richmond in Virginia. The growing site also offers experimental protocols; Elhai's CyanoNews, a biannual newsletter; taxonomy lists; cyanobacteria images, 100 and counting; announcements of books and meetings; and 135 outside links, from other researchers' home pages to a Japanese database with the entire DNA sequence of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis.

Boston University biologist Stjepko Golubic calls Cyanosite “very good,” although he thinks a useful addition would be critiques of the links, some of which are better than others, he says. Such a ranking might be welcomed by Cyanosite, which carries the message: “Please contribute.”

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