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Fisheries Biology Research Guide


Fisheries literature is part of the larger scientific literature and is derived from basic research in related disciplines and applied research in fisheries. Scientific literature is the principal medium for communicating the results of scientific research and represents a permanent record of the collective achievements of the scientific community. It is composed of the individual "end products" of scientific research and continues to expand as new research builds on earlier research.

Scientific literature is divided into two basic categories - "primary" and "secondary". Publications that report the results of original scientific research constitute the "primary" literature and include journal papers, conference papers, monographic series, technical reports, theses, and dissertations. The "primary" literature is eventually compacted into "secondary" sources which synthesize and condense what is known on specific topics. These include reviews, monographs, textbooks, treatises, handbooks, and manuals.

Availability of scientific literature varies depending upon its publication format. Some formats are widely available, e.g., journal papers, while others have limited distribution and are difficult to identify and acquire. This "gray literature" commonly includes technical reports, theses, and dissertations.

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Scientific Research/Publication Cycle

The following chart illustrates common steps involved in the scientific research process (inner circle), the dissemination of research results through the primary and secondary literature (outer circle), and the personal assimilation of this information resulting in new ideas and research (inner circle):

Scientific Research/Publication Cycle

Fisheries Serials: Journals, Magazines, Monograhic Series

Fisheries serials can be grouped into the following three categories:

  • Journals - regularly issued publications that contain papers reporting the results of scholarly research in the discipline
  • Magazines & Newsletters - contain popular reports on developments in the discipline
  • Monographic Series - irregularly issued publications that in most cases contain the results of scholarly research

For a more expanded distinction between journals and magazines see Journals - Scholarly or Popular?

Databases and cited literature typically abbreviate journal titles. To assist you in deciphering abbreviations the following sources are available to help you find complete titles:

  1. Periodical Title Abbreviations (HSU Library) lists both general sources and sources by broad discipline
  2. Abbreviation lists associated with databases listed in Articles and Databases: Fisheries.

Copies of papers from fisheries serials that are not available at HSU can be requested through the Library'sInterlibrary Loan Service.


The research paper published in a scientific journal represents the most important "primary" source of information for the fisheries scientist and manager. Papers published in journals generally go through a "peer review" process before acceptance and publication. Seventy-five percent of the fisheries research literature is published in this format.

Databases listed in Articles and Databases: Fisheries can be used to find individual research papers by author, subject, taxonomic category, habitat, time period, chemical compound, or geographic area. In addition many journal publisher websites now maintain a searchable database of articles that have been published in their journals. Most HSU databases include links from each record to matching records in the Journal and Newspaper Finder. If not available locally copies can be requested through the Library's efficient Interlibrary Loan Service.

To find fisheries journals ranked by impact see Journals Ranked by ImpactSCImago Journal & Country Rank orEigenfactor.org - Ranking and Mapping Scientific Knowledge.

The following list contains many of the print and online fulltext journals available in the HSU Library which publish research of interest to fisheries scientists and managers. Check the Journal and Newspaper Finder for specific holdings and call numbers.

Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin
American Midland Naturalist
Aquacultural Engineering
Aquaculture International
Aquarium Sciences and Conservation
Aquaculture Nutrition
Aquaculture Research
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Aquatic Ecology
Aquatic Living Resources
Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries
Aquatic Toxicology
Biological Bulletin
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology
Bulletin of the Japanese Society of Scientific Fisheries (Nippon Suisan Gakkaishi)
California Fish and Game
Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology
Ecology of Freshwater Fish
Ecological Applications
Ecological Monographs
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Environmental Biology of Fishes
Environmental Toxicology and Water Quality
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Fish and Shellfish Immunology
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry
Fisheries Management and Ecology
Fisheries Oceanography
Fisheries Research
Fisheries Science
Fishery Bulletin
Fishery Technology
Freshwater Biology
Hydrobiological Journal (translation of Gidrobiologicheskiy Zharnal)
ICES Journal of Marine Science (formerly Journal du Conseil)
Ichthyological Research (formerly Japanese Journal of Ichthyology)
Journal of Animal Ecology
Journal of Applied Ichthyology (Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Ichthyologie)
Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery (Formerly Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Health)
Journal of Experimental Zoology
Journal of Fish Biology
Journal of Fish Diseases
Journal of Freshwater Ecology
Journal of Ichthyology (translation of Voprosy Ikhtiologii)
Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science
Journal of Shellfish Research
Journal of the North American Benthological Society
Journal of the World Aquculture Society (formerly Journal of the World Mariculture Society)
Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Limnology & Oceanography
Marine and Freshwater Research (formerly Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research
Marine Fisheries Review
New York Fish & Game Journal
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research
North American Journal of Aquaculture (formerly Progressive Fish Culturist)
North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Physiological Zoology
Regulated Rivers: Research & Management
Reviews in Fish Biology and Ecology
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Magazines and Newsletters

Articles appearing in these publications tend to be popular in format and scope. They may contain news and perspectives of professional societies and environmental organizations, report on research published in scholarly journals, report on environmental problems and new political initiatives, or contain articles aimed at the layperson.

Acid News (Swedish NGO Secretariat on Acid Rain)
Alaska Fish & Game
Aquaculture Magazine (print copy available in Periodical SH 1 C66)
Atlantic Salmon Journal
Australian Fisheries
Coastlines (US EPA Office of Water)
Colorado Outdoors
Currents (US Forest Service Fish Ecology Unit)
FAO Aquaculture Newsletter
Field and Stream
Fish Matters (Northwest Fisheries Science Center)
Fish & Wildlife News (US Fish & Wildlife Service) (print copy available in Docs I 49.88)
Fishermen's News
Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe (European Commission. Directorate-General for Fisheries)
Fishing News International
High Country News (print copy available in Periodical S 900 H5)
Missouri Conservationist
National Fisherman
New Mexico Wildlife
NW Fishletter (Energy Newsdata)
Outdoor California
Outdoor News Bulletin (print copy available in Periodical SK 351.08)
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen Associations. PCFFA Friday
Pacific Council News (Pacific Fishery Management Council)
Pacific Fishing
Restoration: A quarterly newsletter about salmon, coastal watersheds and people in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest (Oregon Sea Grant)
Stream Notes (US Forest Service Stream Systems Technology Center)
Washington Wildlife
Wyoming Wildlife

Monographic Series

While most fisheries research is published in journals, perhaps 10% is published as individual issues of monographic series. Longer contributions resulting from scientific research are often published in this format. Monographic series typically have the following characteristics:

  1. They are published by government agencies, major universities or professional organizations.
  2. Individual issues are collectively published in a continuing series which has a distinctive name. Typical names include Bulletin, Special Report, Special Paper, Technical Report, and Technical Paper.
  3. Individual issues in the series are consecutively numbered, e.g. Technical Paper No. 36.
  4. Each issue has a distinctive author and title.
  5. There is no regular publication schedule in contrast to a journal.
  6. Individual issues contain the completed results of a single research project.
  7. Individual issues range from several pages to several hundred pages.

A typical example is:

Serns, S.L.(a) 1984. An 8-Inch Length Limit on Smallmouth Bass: Effects on the Sport Fisheries and Populations of Smallmouth Bass and Yellow Perch in Nebish Lake, Wisconsin(b). Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources(c) Technical Bulletin(d) No. 148(e). 
where a=individual author; b=individual title; c=series author; d=series title; e=series number

To locate monographic series in the HSU Library you need to consult the following two sources:

  1. For federal and California State agency series use the catalogs and indexes listed in Natural Resources Agency Government Documents and Reports.
  2. For all other monographic series use the HSU Library Catalog or the Journal and Newspaper Finder. The key is to look for the series of which an individual issue is a part. You must look under either the series title (Technical Bulletin in the above example) or the sponsoring organization (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the above example). In the above example there is no listing under the author "Serns" or the title "An 8-Inch..." since these are the author and title of the individual issue.

As with individual journal papers the Finding Aticles tab in the Fisheries Guide can be used to identify research published in this format.

The following monographic series of interest to fisheries are found in the regular bookstacks of the HSU Library. Those published by federal and California state agencies are listed in Natural Resources Agency Government Documents and Reports and are physically located in the separate Documents Collection.


      • Special Report


      • Technical Publication
    • European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission.
      • EIFAC Technical Paper
    • Florida Marine Research Laboratory.
      • Special Scientific Report
    • Folia Limnologica Scandinavica
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (The FAO Corporate Document Repository collects and makes available the fulltext of FAO documents)
      • FAO Fisheries Circular
      • FAO Fisheries Reports
      • FAO Fisheries Technical Paper
      • FAO Fisheries Synopsis
    • Great Britain. Department of Agriculture & Fisheries for Scotland.
      • Scotland Fisheries Research Report
    • Great Britain. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, & Food.
      • Fishery Investigations
    • Illinois Natural History Survey
      • Bulletin
      • Biological Notes
    • Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
    • International Center for Aquaculture.
      • Research & Development Series
    • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Conseil International Pour L'Exploration de la Mer).
    • International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (Continued by North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission)
      • Bulletin
    • International Pacific Halibut Commission
    • International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (Continued by Pacific Salmon Commission)
      • Bulletin
      • Progress Report
    • Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
      • Technical Bulletin
    • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
    • New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
      • Fisheries Research Bulletin


    • Fisheries Technical Report
  • Nordic Journal of Freshwater Research (formerly Swedish Board of Fisheries (Drottningholm). Institute of Freshwater Research. Report)
  • North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
  • Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
  • Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Fish Division
    • Information Reports
  • Pacific Salmon Commission
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    • Bulletin
  • University of Washington. Fisheries Research Institute
    • Circular
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
    • Publication
  • Washington Department of Fisheries
    • Technical Report
    • Progress Report
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    • Technical Bulletin


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Theses and Dissertations

The outcome of graduate study conducted at universities is commonly a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. In addition to the formal thesis or dissertation, research results are often communicated in other "primary" literature formats, such as the journal paper.

See Theses and Dissertations for how to find and acquire 1) HSU masters theses; and 2) theses and dissertations produced at other universities that are available in other libraries and on the Internet. In addition the following are specialized directories and databases to theses and dissertations in fisheries:


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Conferences Papers

Papers presented at national and international conferences, symposia, and workshops are another source of "primary" scientific information in fisheries. For many of these meetings the presented papers are eventually published in a "proceedings" or "transactions" volume. Those available in the HSU Library are listed in the HSU Library Catalog under author (generally the name of the conference, individual editor or sponsoring organization) and title.

Subject, taxonomic, geographic, and author access to individual conference papers also is provided by databases listed in the Finding Articles tab of the Fisheries Guide.

Following are some of the regularly recurring fisheries conferences received by the HSU Library. In addition there are many other one-time speciality conferences listed in the catalog.


  • American Fisheries Society, Bonneville Chapter. Proceedings
  • California Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Conference. Reports
  • Canada Department of Fisheries & Oceans. Annual Aquatic Toxicology Workshop Proceedings (appear in issues of Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences)
  • Desert Fishes Council. Proceedings
  • Federal-Provincial Wildlife Conference. Transactions
  • Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council. Proceedings
  • International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • International Association of Theoretical & Applied Limnology (Internationale Vereiniguing Fur Theoretische und Augewandte Limnologie). Proceedings (Verhandlungen)
  • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Conseil International Pour L'Exploration de la Mer).ICES Marine Science Symposia (formerly Rapports et Proces-Verbaux des Reunion)
  • International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Collection Volume of Scientific Papers
  • International Congress on the Biology of Fish
  • International Symposium on Regulated Rivers
  • Marine Recreational Fisheries Symposium. Marine Recreational Fisheries
  • National Shellfisheries Association. Proceedings (now Journal of Shellfish Research)
  • North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. Transactions
  • Northwest Fish Culture Conference. Proceedings
  • Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • Symposium on Aquatic Toxicology. Aquatic Toxicology
  • Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • Wildlife Society. Western Division. Transactions (formerly Cal-Neva Wildlife)
  • World Mariculture Society. Proceedings (now Journal of the World Aquaculture Society)


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Monographs (Books)

Monographs generally are not part of the "primary" literature of science, but rather are "secondary" sources of information. They may be either scholarly contributions or popularizations on specific topics. Through scholarly monographs the "primary" literature on specific topics is condensed, summarized or reviewed. Most include references back to the "primary" literature. They may take the format of textbooks, treatises, taxonomic works, or a multitude of reference works, such as encyclopedias or handbooks. Monographs are listed in the HSU Library Catalog. For guidance in use of the HSU Library Catalog and other library catalogs see Finding Books on Fish and Fisheries.


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Content Attribution

Some of the content of this page was created in another format by Robert Sathrum, HSU Librarian, retired 06/2013.