BI 151 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution

Library Research Lab - Invertebrates / Plants / Forest Habitat

Interesting Report: Camp Johnson VT National Guard Conservation Award -2014

Lewins, Hope, Swisher, Constantino

Instruction Librarian: Steven Burks
Office: Library 210
Phone: 802.654.2354 / Appointments

Library Research Coverage

Find published research that verifies and expands on questions derived from your sand plain forest field studies.  Find books and reference sources that give background information on forests and plant species and invertebrates.

 A. “Setting the stage” or context for this project - Are there similar studies done and reported on in the research literature?
    - Find background materials on Sand Plain Forests (Vermont and other regions)
    - Find research journal articles covering biodiversity in studies related to the ones you have done.

B. Main Question.- Read the journal articles and determine how the authors frame and relate their studies to the larger scientific context - Community Ecology
    For Example:
           Community Structure
    What other subsets might be addressed in their articles?

C. Predictions: How do the researchers frame and justify their predictions in the journal articles you found?  What background information or direct observations led to their predictions? 

D. Similar or complementary findings:  Do any articles have similar or complementary findings to the results you found and interpreted in your field studies?

Main Outcome of the Library Lab: 

By reviewing the research literature, students expand their knowledge of how their research in the field addresses the scientific principles covered in this course: succession, species diversity, community & population ecology, etc.  In addition, students gain an understanding of how predictions in the research literature are based on background information and observations made by scientists.

II: How to Find Resources

A. Example Search Statement

B. Journal Databases for Biology
     - Scopus: Citation Searching

C. Reference Sources

D. Books

E. Evaluating Sources

F. In-Lab Assignment - Find sources for your lab reports and poster sessions

G. Journal Finder - Find online and print journals by title or subject.

H. Zotero - Citation manager for your papers and research

 A. Example Search Statement 

The following simple search statement can be broken down to searchable terms. Identify main concepts brake them down to synonymous, broader, or narrower terms.

Sand Plain Forests and Biodiversity of Invertebrates/Plants

Search Terms can be combined to expand or narrow your resultsin database searching

Sand Plain Biodiversity Invertebrates Plants
Forests succession insect* shrub layer
sandplain diversity amphibian* fragmentation
forest* distribution larval host* water - tree size
woodland* species distribution beetle* moisture
shrubland* species composition carabids fire
pine barrens disturbance history Carabidae burning
scrub oak - (Quercus ilicifolia) microhabitat millipede* - (Class Diplopoda, Order Julidae) fragmentation
heathlands forest fragmentation buckmoth PH
pine-oak-heath fire taxa undergrowth
pitch pines habitat* salamander* red maple (acer rubrum)
rotting logs fire history ants

scrub oak (quercus ilicifolia)

dead wood vegetation dynamics moth* - (Ledidoptera) fagaceae (family)
litter land use arthropod* oak barrens
riparian forest buffer pitfall traps cursorial -"legs modified for running" rasberries
forest edge Epigeal ground dwelling


edge effects "species area curve" pitch pine
shade toleran* springtails
red maple - (acer rubrum)
canopy gap
canopy structure

Truncation symbols (?, *, !, #) will provide variant spelling after the root word. 
For Example: forest* = forest, forests, forestry

B. Discovery Search and Science Journal Databases

Discovery Search

Discovery is an interface that allows searching the books, journals and reference sources in one search - a good place to start!

Science Databases

Science Direct
JSTOR Plant Science
*Scopus - A citation index to science journals
Google Scholar

Example Searches in Discovery Search

sandplain forest*

"sand plain" forest*

Edge Effects

(ecotones or "edge effect*") and invertebrate*

(ecotones or "edge effect*") and (invertebrate* or beetle* or amphibian* or millipede*)

Soil PH/Acidity

(acer rubrum or "white pine*" or "red maple*") and (ph or acid* or soil) and (invertebrate* or millipede* or amphibian* or beetle*)

(forest* and (ph or acid*) and (invertebrate* or millipede* or amphibian* or beetle*)

Shade/light Search

invertebrate* or millipede* or amphibian* or beetle* or insect* or moth* or amphibian*) and (forest* or wood* or sand plain or sandplain) and (distribution or abundan* or microhabitiat*) and (shade or canop*)

Other Searches

"pine barren*"
"sand plain" and fire*
forest* and (beetles or millipedes) and fire
forest* and (beetles or millipedes) and succession
forest* and (beetles or millipedes) and microhabitat*
pine barrens and (invertebrate* or insect*) and microhabitat*
leaf litter and biodiversity and (insect* or inverterbrat*)
(leaf litter or forest*) and biodiversity and (insect* or inverterbrat* or moth* or salamander* or ants) and (fire or disturbance)
riparian and invertebrate* and biodiversity

(forest* or leave* or leaf*) and (invertebrat* or beetle* or millipede* or Diplopods) and (microhabitat* or habitat* or niche* or "edge effect?") and (biodiversity or diversity or distribution)  

C. Reference Sources

Reference Materials for the Sciences can be found in the section: Q.  Species can be found in QL.   Botany and Plant topics can be found in QK and SB-SD.

  • Species Reference -  QL section for print

    Grzimek's Animal Encyclopedia
    REF QL 3 .g7813

    American Beetles  Vol 1-2
    REF QL581 A43 2001

    American Insects
    REF QL474 .A76

    An inordinate fondness for beetles
    REF QL573 .E89 1996

  • Plants Reference

    Eastern Trees
    QK115 P46

    The Illustrated Book of Trees
    REF QK482 G73 1983

    Mushrooms of North America
    REF QK617 P552

    Flora of North America
    REF QK110 P55

    Dictionary of the Fungi
    REF QK600.35

    Lichens of North America
    REF QK586.5 B76

Electronic Reference Sources

Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia

AccessScience  - Excellent online science encyclopedia

Biology  (4 vol encyclopedia)

Beacham's Guide to the Endangered Species of North America

The Tree of Life
A distributed Internet project containing information about phylogeny and biodiversity. The Tree of Life Phylogenetic Navigator is a system designed to link biological information available on the Internet. It provides taxonomic and systematic information (diversity, phylogeny) of various groups of organisms. The display of these links is in the form of a phylogenetic tree linking the organisms

Encyclopedia of Life
A highly anticipated project starting in 2008

USDA Plant Database

D. Books

SMC Library Catalog  

Other Library Catalogs: UVM


New England Forests
Soil biology
Soil ecology

WorldCat The OCLC Online Union Catalog, containing over 50 million records of books, Web resources, and other material owned by libraries worldwide. You may get books delivered via Interlibrary Loan.

E. Evaluating Sources

  • Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
    Start identifying sources that either "primary" (the original peer reviewed research or secondary) See --Checklist: What are Peer Reviewed Research Journals
  • Internet Sources
    Remember to evaluate Internet information for bias or being backed by special interests.  Actually, information from any source should be evaluated by currency, authority, authorship, methodology, or bias. Be cautious of any source that can not provide that information. (Review Evaluating Information @

    Example sites to evaluate

    Crayfish Territoriality


F. In-Lab Assignment

Write out a simple search statement in sentence form in the box below. 



Circle the two or three main concepts in your search statement and break them down into synonymous, narrower, or broader terms:

Term 1






Term 2





Term 3





Combine terms in your database searches

Find published research that verifies and expands on questions derived from your sand plain forest field studies.  Find 1-2 books or reference sources that give background information on forests and plant species and invertebrates. Find 1-3 journal articles in this session that could be cited in your introduction.  These sources can be used as references for your Poster Session.*+AND+%26quot%3bshrub+coverage%26quot%3b+AND+forest+AND+burn*)&cli0=FT1&clv0=Y&type=0&site=eds-live&scope=site

Learn What Matters