Biology Guide

Overview /News



Welcome to UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to Biology. The purpose of this guide is to help you find resources related to this discipline and enhance your learning. If you are taking a biology course at UNB Saint John, you may find you also have a specific course guide available.

How you want to begin your research depends on your topic and your knowledge. If your topic is brand new to you, you might want to start with book based material. The data and information in books, at least, in non-fiction, academic books, generally differs from that found in articles. It is presented at length but tends to be presented in less depth and with less specificity. Book content may be less "cutting edge" and more likely to present standard, and accepted information. Journal articles often present more controversial content and preliminary research results which require more testing before they are accepted.

For students, books are a logical starting point for research because they often introduce several relevant topics around a broader subject while articles often deal with a single, very specific topic with an assumed context -- that is, articles may assume an audience with a high level of subject knowledge.

Once you have some background on your topic which may help you think critically about related information and data, you will be ready to plunge into journal articles, grey literature, and beyond. Enjoy the search!

In this guide, you will find links leading you to reference materials (dictionaries, specialized encyclopedias, handbooks ...), books (both online and in print), databases (containing full-text journals, full-text articles, and linked material), and more. That said, not everything you will need will be here. Remember, you can always visit a library and ask a librarian for more help.

In addition to this subject guide in biology, you might also wish to explore:

UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to Nursing & Health Sciences


News and Views

Biology News, Science, AAAS

News: Biology, National Science Foundation

Biological Sciences, Nature

Biology, Guardian, UK


Reference / Statistics


More reference and statistical resources can also be found by checking UNB WorldCat, and the Reference Materials collection, or may be publicly accessible via the internet.


Dictionaries, Glossaries ...

Dictionary of Biology, licensed resource

Dictionary of Ecology, licensed resource

Glossary for Vascular Plants, New York Botanical Garden, public access


Encyclopedias, Yearbooks, Compendia, ...

Encyclopedia of Life, public access

Encyclopedia of DNA Elements at UCSC, public access


Handbooks, Manuals, Guides ...

NCBI Handbook, NIH, US, public access

NCBI Help Manual, NIH, US, public access

Wildland Fire Incident Management Field Guide, National Wildfire Coordinating Group, public access

Regional Field Guides, Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification, British Columbia, public access

Guide to North American Birds, Audubon, public access

Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases: General Field Procedures and Diseases of Birds, National Wildlife Health Center, USGS, public access

A Field Guide to Honey Bees and Their Maladies, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, public access

Field Guide to the Prairie, University of Minnesota, public access

Montana Field Guides, Natural Heritage Program, Montana, public access

Field Guide to the Southern PiedmontUniversity of South Carolina Upstate

Alaska Rare Plant Field Guide: The Taxonomy, Conservation Status, Distribution, Morphology, and Ecology of 80 Rare Vascular Plant Species of Alaska, University of Alaska Anchorage, public access

A Field Guide to Colorado’s Wetland Plants: Identification, Ecology, and Conservation, Colorado State University, public access

Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket, Maria Mitchell Association, public access

A Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts of Western U.S. Drylands: Common Lichens and Bryophytes, USGS, public access

Field Guide to the Grasses of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, public access

1987 US Army Corps Wetland Delineation Manual, Rutgers, public access

A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, public access

Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates, Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia, public access

Field Guide to Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida, USGS, public access

Recognising water weeds: Plant identification guide, Department of Primary Industries, New south Wales, Australia, public access

Biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains, Department of Education, Victoria, Australia, public access



Image Gallery, USDA, public access

NOAA Photo Library, public access

Image Library, American Society of Mammalogists, public access

Image Database, Virtual Field Herbarium, Oxford, public access


Maps, Atlases, Gazetteers...

Biogeoclimatic Maps, British Columbia, public access

Air Atlas, National Park Service, US, public access

Heritage Landscape Atlas, Energy and Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts, public access

SCAR Map Catalogue, Australia Antarctic Data Centre, public access

Composite Antarctic Marine Gazetteer, public access

Biological Atlas of the Arctic Seas 2000, NOAA, public access


Statistics, Data, Data Sets

Global Diversity Information Facility, public access

Recommended Data Repositories, Scientific Data, Nature, significant public access

Open Data, Canada, public access

Open Data Sets, Open Data, Newfoundland and Labrador, public access

Open Data: Nature and Environment, Nova Scotia, public access

Wet Areas Mapping and Flow Accumulation Channel, Natural Resources, Nova Scotia, public access

Yukon Conservation Data Centre, Environment Yukon, public access, US, public access

Science Datasets, apply filter Biology and Ecosystems, for instance, USGS, public access

National GIS Data, US Fish and Wildlife Geospatial Services, public access

Data and Software, NCBI, NIH, US, public access

National Marine Mammal Data Portal, Department of the Environment, Australia, public access

National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ireland, public access

Habitat and Species Data, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ireland, public access

AQUASTAT, FAO, public access

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Marine Biodiversity Information Network, public access


Taxonomies, Nomenclature ...

Integrated Taxonomic Information System, public access

Catalogue of Life: Annual Checklist, public access

International Plant Names Index, public access

GRIN Taxonomy for Plants, U.S. National Plant Germplasm System, public access

Tropicos, Missouri Botanical Garden, public access

Birds of North and Middle America Checklist, American Ornithological Society, public access

A Classification of the Bird Species of South America, South American Classification Committee, American Ornithologists' Union, public access

Butterfly and Moth Taxonomy, Butterflies and Moths of North America, public access

WoRMS, World Register of Marine Species, public access

CaRMS, Canadian Register of Marine Species, public access

World Nemertea Database, public access

COPEPOD: The Global Plankton Database, NOAA, public access

FishBase, public access

Books, Studies, Reports


UNB WorldCat searches the WorldCat database and offers up-to-date availability information for material held by UNB Libraries. WorldCat contains more than 130,000,000 bibliographic records (including books, journals, videos, music ...) referring to the holdings of libraries world wide. WorldCat also includes selected journal articles and internet resources.

Mobile users should note that although UNB Libraries has moved to a responsive web design, mobile interfaces and apps may NOT yet provide all the functionality of other types of web-based access.

Search UNB WorldCat:     

Advanced Search | Locations Guide | Other Catalogues | Help/FAQ


Please note: While many of the following items allow unlimited simultaneous users, in some cases, the item may allow only a single user at any given time.

Members of the UNB/STU community of users may also use UNB WorldCat, to access individual electronic book / book-length titles such as:

Counting species: biodiversity in global environmental politics, Rafi Youatt

Understanding mammalian locomotion: concepts and applications, John Edward Arthur Bertram

Integrative organismal biology, Lynn Bloxom Martin; Cameron K Ghalambor; Harry Arthur Woods

Climate change and plant abiotic stress tolerance, Narendra Tuteja and Sarvajeet Singh Gill

Forest under story : creative inquiry in an old-growth forest, Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J Swanson


As well, the University community may access several collections of electronic books including:

ProQuest Ebook Central Collections (formerly ebrary)

EBSCO eBooks


Some internet sites offer full-text, public access books and book-length works either as collections or as individual linked titles. Examples of such sites of interest to biology include:

Biology and Life Sciences, National Academies Press, public access

Bookshelf, NCBI, NIH, US, public access

[Nature Publications], Environment and Climate Change Canada, public access

Ornithological Monographs, last 20 volumes, public access

Flora of North America, online volumes, public access


Article / Research Databases

For those interested in biology, there are both licensed bibliographic databases, listed in Key and Additional Resources below, as well as major public access databases such as PubMed, a US government database.

These databases will be especially useful when you are beginning a research project and looking for information on a topic.

For other licensed databases, please see the Article Databases page.

Key Resources

  • Biological Abstracts (now in BIOSIS Citation Index)
    Now fully incorporated into BIOSIS Citation Index. Biological Abstracts provides "indexes and abstracts for life science and biomedical research."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA)
    Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) "is a comprehensive database on the science, technology, and management of marine, brackishwater, and freshwater environments and resources."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • CAB Direct
    Combines CAB abstracts and CAB abstracts archive into a single database indexing literature in the fields of plant science; animal science; pathogen, pest, parasite, and weed management; natural resources and ecology; forestry, forest products, and agroforestry; soil science; rural development, tourism, and economics; food science and food products; biotechnology; and agricultural engineering. The database is grouped into the following categories: animal sciences, plant sciences, ecology & environmental sciences, agricultural economics & rural studies, human sciences, and leisure, recreation, and tourism.
    4 simultaneous users.

Additional Resources

  • Wildlife & Ecology Studies Worldwide
    Wildlife & Ecology Studies Worldwide, produced by NISC, indexes published literature (journals, monographs, proceedings of conferences and symposia, government reports, grey literature, books, theses, and dissertations) on wild mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Major topic areas include studies of individual species, habitat types, hunting, economics, wildlife behavior, management techniques, diseases, ecotourism, and zoology.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Chemical Abstracts (SciFinder Web)
    Produced by the American Chemical Society, this is considered to be the most current and comprehensive information source for literature in chemistry and related sciences such as: proteomics, genomics, biochemistry, biochemical genetics, engineering and physics.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Scopus
    Scopus, a new multidisciplinary online resource, will be invaluable to students and faculty in various fields of study within the sciences, health sciences and the social sciences. Scopus offers full-text linking, abstracting-and-indexing information and provides access to over 66 million abstracts dating back to 1966.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.


Other databases and search engines include:

PubMed, public access

PubMed for handhelds, public access

PubMedCentral, searchable full-text periodical collection, public access

PubMedCentral Canada, public access

Europe PubMedCentral, public access

Biodiversity Heritage Library, public access

Index of Botanical Publications, Harvard University Herbaria and Libraries, public access

Index to American Botanical Literature, New York Botanical Gardens, public access

Agricola, National Agricultural Library Catalog, USDA, public access

National Agricultural Library Digital Collections, USDA, public access

AnimalBase, early zoological literature online, public access

Ornithological Worldwide Literature, American Ornithology, public access

Publications Database Search, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, public access

bioRxiv: preprint server for biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, public access


There is also access to a wide variety of periodical titles available including:

BioMedCentral Journals, significant public access

PMC Journals, significant public access

PLOS Publications, public access

Searchable Ornithological Research Archive, SORA, University of New Mexico Libraries, public access

AgReseach Magazine, 2004 forward, full-text, public access

The Auk, 1884-2001, full-text, public access

The Condor, 1899-2000, full-text, public access

Conservation Biology, licensed access

European Journal of Cell Biology, licensed access

Historical Biology, licensed access

Journal of Fish Biology, licensed access

Journal of Plant Biology, licensed access

Marine Ornithology, 1978 forward, full-text, public access


Internet / Multimedia


Collective Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine

Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan

Species 2000

BC Species & Ecosystems Explorer, British Columbia

Forest Watershed Research Center, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick

Significant Species and Habitats Database, Natural Resources, Nova Scotia

Biodiversity Collections, University of Texas at Austin

FAA Wildlife Strike Database, Federal Aviation Administration, US

ABRS Databases and Online Resources, Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of Environment and Energy, Australia

UK Biodiversity Framework, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, UK

Search for a UK species, Natural History Museum, UK

Scotland's Biodiversity, Scottish National Heritage

Species, Scottish National Heritage


Associations, Societies ...

American Fern Society

American Institute of Biological Sciences

American Society for Microbiology

American Society of Plant Taxonomists

Botanical Society of America

British Mycological Society

Canadian Botanical Association

Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences

Canadian Society of Plant Biologists

Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology

Marine Biological Association

Royal Society of Biology

Society for Marine Mammalogy


Government Departments, Agencies ...

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Natural Resources Canada

Parks Canada

Biology and Ecosystems, USGS

National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US

National Library of Medicine

Fisheries, NOAA

US Department of Agriculture

US National Park Service


Endangered / At Risk Species

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Aquatic Species at Risk, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Species at Risk, Fisheries and Land Resources, Newfoundland

Species at Risk, Parks Canada

Endangered Species, US Fish and Wildlife Service

ECOS: Environmental Conservation Online System, US Fish and Wildlife Service



Wildlife Habitat Research Reports, Forest Science Program, British Columbia

Search our database of bird species, Forests, Fish and Wildlife, Prince Edward Island

Yukon Conservation Data Centre

Canadian Atlas of Bird Banding, Environment and Climate Change, Canada

Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas, Bird Studies Canada

All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, public access

Birds of North America Online, licensed resource

Maritimes Butterfly Atlas, Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre

Maine Butterfly Survey, University of Maine

Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the World, Bucknell University

Division of Mammals Collections, Smithsonian

North American Mammals, Smithsonian

Aquatic Species, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Georgia Marine Mammal Stranding Database, Georgia Museum of Natural History

Beaked Whale Identification Guide, Smithsonian

Pacific Walrus Research, USGS Alaska Science Centre

National Aquatic Animal Health Program, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries Information Summary System, Environment, British Columbia

National Wild Fish Health Survey Database, US Fish and Wildlife Service

FishTraits Database, Virginia Tech, public access

Fauna databases and online resources, Department of Environment and Energy, Australia



Index of Botanists, Harvard University Herbaria and Libraries


Woody Plants Database, Cornell University

Harvard University Herbaria and Libraries

Index of Botanical Specimens, Harvard University Herbaria and Libraries

Flora of Missouri, Missouri Botanical Gardens

New York Botanical Garden

Index Herbariorum, New York Botanical Garden

Duke Herbarium, Duke University

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin

Flora databases and online resources, Department of Environment and Energy, Australia

Botanical Databases, Australian National Botanic Gardens

Australian Pollen and Spore Atlas, Australian National University

National Botanic Gardens of Ireland


Fungi, Lichens, ...

U.S. National Fungus Collections, USDA

Fungal Databases, U.S. National Fungus Collections, USDA

JGI Fungal Portal: MycoCosm, the Fungal Genomics Resource, DOE, US

Nomenclature Fact Sheets, U.S. National Fungus Collections, USDA

Fungi of Australia Glossary, compiled by C.A.Grgurinovic, Department of Environment and Energy, Australia

Fungi databases and online resources, Department of Environment and Energy, Australia

Fungi: Australian Plant Information, Australian National Botanic Gardens

Fungal Records Database of the British Isles, British Mycological Society

Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria

Consortium of North American Bryophyte Herbaria

List of Elements in Alberta - Lichens, Open Data, Alberta

Lichens of British Columbia: Illustrated Keys, Part 1: Foliose and Squamulose Species, Special Report Series, 8, Ministry of Forests, 1994

The Lichens of British Columbia: Illustrated Keys, Part 2: Fruticose Species, Special Report Series, 9, Ministry of Forests, 1999

Identifying Lichens of Nova Scotia: a reference guide book, Environment, Nova Scotia


History of Biology

Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

Collections, Biodiversity Heritage Library

Biographical Memoir of Edward D. Cope 1840-1897, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Biographical Memoirs, vol. XIII - Third Memoir, National Academy of Sciences, 1929

Charles Darwin's Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library

Darwin Correspondence Project, University of Cambridge

Linnaean Correspondence

John Muir Correspondence, Journals ..., University of the Pacific

Correspondence of O. C. Marsh, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History



Multimedia Gallery, USGS

Youtube Channel: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, wildlife media since 1929

Citing / Writing


Citations are a natural by-product of a good literature or bibliographic search -- they come from the results your search produces. They may be found, collectively, in bibliographic databases and citation indexes. They may be derived from statistical databases and other data collections. They may make reference to individual books, periodicals (journals, magazines and newspapers), working papers, and technical reports. They may be gathered from compilations such as bibliographies or appear in lists of works cited and references. Citations may also be produced in reference to material you read or heard, to images you discover, and to all kinds of electronic files which are displayed, read, played, or otherwise accessed.

To structure citations appropriately it helps to have a good guide. There are several standard guides from which you may choose. In university, choosing the "best" one will depend on the requirements of the assignment, the nature of the contents and the preferences of the individual professor. Some guides emphasize a particular discipline, some are cross-discipline and some may emphasize a particular form of material.


Style Guides and Guidelines

COPE Guidelines, including the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers, Committee on Publication Ethics

Council of Science Editors Documentation Style, Writing Center, University of Wisconsin

CSE Quick Citation Guide, Pennsylvania State University Libraries

Scientific Style and Format Citation Quick Guide, University of Chicago Press

A Student's guide to writing in the biological sciences, Harvard University


Abbreviations and Acronymns

Journal Title Abbreviations, Web of Science

NLM Catalog: Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases, National Library of Medicine

MEDLINE Journal Title Abbreviations, PubMed


Citation Management Software


UNB Libraries' Guide to Zotero


Data Management / Curation

Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan, ICPSR, University of Michigan

Create and Manage Data, UK Data Archive

Data Management Plans, Digital Curation Centre, UK

Data Management Checklist, Digital Curation Centre, UK

Mendeley Datasets

Creative Commons