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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Freely Available STEM Resources Online: Life Sciences

Various government, educational and reputable sites with wide-ranging information on science and technology.

Resources Focused on the Life Sciences


ARKive is a database focused on highlighting biodiversity and conservation of endangered species around the world. Started in 2003 and funded by the charity Wildscreen, it organizes its site by species, location, species and topics. It has teaching resources for ages 5-18 and over 100,000 photos and videos.

Audubon's Birds of America at the University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh’s University Library presents a digitized collection of James Audobon’s Birds of America, and Ornithological Biography. This collection may be searched by keyword or browsed by plate names or plate thumbnails.

Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears

Funded by the NSF, this site helps elementary educators teach polar science with an eye to inquiry-based science and literacy instruction. There is a standards chart showing how the National Science Education Standards aligns with the content. There is also a “sister-site” focused on climate science, Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle.

Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL)

The BHL works with museums, academic institutions and other partners to digitize biodiversity literature and make it available worldwide. This digitized content is important for taxonomists in their research and is of interest to anyone with interest in this classic literature. The BHL maintains a Flickr stream of the beautiful illustrations located in these materials. University of Illinois is a member institution of the BHL.


Founded by Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Bugscope allows classrooms to submit bugs for scanning electronic microscope (SEM) images. Supporting grades K-16, Bugscope allows interactive access with the SEM during an appointed time. Previous scans are archived on the site.

Smithsonian Department of Entomology

This collection hosts an illustration archive with over 6000 images and a searchable specimen database.

The Encyclopedia of Life

The EOL’s goal is to provide global access to information about life on earth. It is supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and many institutional members. It has images, biodiversity literature-supplied by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, identification tools and educational resources.

Flora and Fauna of the Great Lakes Region

This collection created from 200-2002 at the University of Michigan feature flora and fauna of the great lakes region. There is a collection-based interface for images or full-text fungus monographs, a map-based interface, and a simple search.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

MBARI strives to provide information to the marine science community. Herein they provide links to current research, annual reports and press releases. They also have a data and image site, including mooring data, Bathymetric data, specimen data and software as well.

Smithsonian National Museum of National History, What does it mean to be human?

This extremely usable site contains information on human evolution. There are short answered questions, such as “How do we know humans are primates”, as well as more extensive articles on things like the affect climactic events have had on human evolution.

Strange Science

Michon Scotts’s fun-loving site highlights the history of the study of paleontology and biology, including such fun topics as sea monsters.

Sue at The Field Museum

The Field Museum’s online exhibit of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex: SUE is highly interactive. You can visit the exhibit online, explore galleries and an image database, or go behind the scenes. SUE even tweets!

Vegetable MD Online

Cornell University provides this plant pathology disease identification guide.  You can search Diseases by Crops or look at a photo gallery. There are also links to many articles current issues and management options.

Western Soundscape Archive

This website, housed at the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library, is a digital collection of the sounds of nature. Compiling thousands of recordings of Western animal species and the world they live in; you can search by name, keyword or browse all the sounds. This collection also contains an arctic collection, spectrograms and a species distribution maps.