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Reference Resources

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Online reference sources - including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases - are designed to help you get started on your research or to serve as a quick look up tool.

Subject encyclopedias especially can be a good starting point. They not only can give a good summary of your topic area, but also can help identify search terms to use for database searching. They also include useful resources in the brief bibliography often included at the end of the overview article.  

Princeton Guide to Ecology

Contains articles on major ecology topics broken down into autecology, population ecology, communities and ecosystems, landscapes and the biosphere, conservation biology, ecosystem services, and biosphere management.


A Dictionary of Ecology

Authoritative and wide-ranging dictionary contains entries on all aspects of ecology and related environmental scientific disciplines such as biogeography, genetics, soil science, geomorphology, atmospheric science, and oceanography.


The Encyclopedia of Ecology and Environmental Management

Addresses core definitions and issues in pure and applied ecology. Mixture of short entry definitions and long entry essays gives a comprehensive and up-to-date alphabetical guide to over 3000 topics. Definitions cover the entire spectrum of pure and applied ecological research.


Encyclopedia of Environment and Society

Includes 1,200 entries written by experts on a diverse range of socio-environmental issues.


Atlas of Climate Change

Contains articles on the major topics within the field; key concepts are broken down into autecology, population ecology, communities and ecosystems, landscapes and the biosphere, conservation biology, ecosystem services, and biosphere management.



Finding Articles

Journal Article Best Bets

These are the best databases for finding journal articles when doing ecology and environmental studies related literature searching.

PLOS Publications
Non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. Provides original published reports of ideas, discoveries, and research results in the life biological sciences and medicine.


JSTOR Biological Sciences Collection
Archival collection of more than 260 core scholarly journals in the biological sciences, particularly strong in ecology and evolutionary biology, plant and animal sciences, and conservation. Provides full text back to the date of first publication for each journal title up to within the current 2-5 years (most years not available).


Provides full-text coverage of more than 200 high-impact biological, ecological, and environmental science research journals. Most are published by small societies and non-commercial publishers, and, until now, have been available only in printed form. Journal titles can be browsed individually or you can search across the entire collection.

Covers topics related to geography, ecology, and the earth sciences. Includes journal articles, reports, monographs, and conference proceedings from 1973 to the present. Updated weekly.

Covers all aspects of human impact on the environment. Includes governmental, scholarly and general titles and content related to the ecological and environmental effects of corporations, nations and governments. Includes some open-access full-text.

​​Google Scholar
Tool which searches for scholarly literature on the web. It's a good starting place but not comprehensive enough to be the only place to do in-depth research. It does often uncover good stuff that other databases don't, so use this in ADDITION to the various library-subscribed resources such as BioOne, GeoBase and Web of Science.


Other Databases

In addition to the Ecology 'best bets', these article databases (including related discipline databases and multidisciplinary databases) might also be helpful when doing ecology related literature searching.

Web of Science
Web of Science is a multidisciplinary database and a terrific place to begin searching for literature on any topic in the sciences. It includes the Science Citation Index, the leading citation database in the sciences, containing records of articles from more than 5,900 of the highest impact science journals across all science disciplines including ecology.

The Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (GREENR) database provides comprehensive overviews of global environmental issues. Articles, news items, data & statistics, conference proceedings, videos, and more are included to provide context and background information for each issue.


Database created by the National Agricultural Library of the USDA which indexes journals, magazines, conference reports, theses and dissertations, books and book chapters from 1970 to the present. Includes citations, most with abstracts, for publications in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, ecology, biotechnology, and botany.



      Journal covers overlapping


Selected major ecology journals are available in full-text online using the links below:

For a more comprehensive listing of the online journals that are available through our library, use the links provided below: