Learn more about how the Cal Poly Humboldt Library can help
support your research and learning needs.

Stay updated at Campus Ready.

Skip to Main Content

Wildlife Research Guide

Literature of Wildlife

journal of Wildlife Management
  • Introduction
  • Scientific Research/Publication Cycle
  • Wildlife Serials
    • Journals
    • Magazines and Newsletters
    • Monographic Series
  • Conferences Papers
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Monographs (Books)
  • Natural Resources Agency Government Documents and Reports



Wildlife literature is part of the larger scientific literature and is composed of applied research in wildlife and basic research in related disciplines. 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. This scientific knowledge base 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.

Scientific Research/Publication Cycle


The following chart illustrates common steps involved in the scientific research process and the publication sequence of "primary" and "secondary" literature.

Research/Publication Cycle


Field and Laboratory Research

Completion of Research

Presentation of Results at Scientific Conferences


Wildlife Serials


Wildlife 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 and Newsletters - contain popular reports on developments in the discipline
  • Monographic series - irregularly issued publications that, in most cases, contain the results of scholarly research

Copies of papers contained in serials that are not available in the  Library can be requested through the Library's Interlibrary Loan Service.

Since most wildlife indexes and "Reference Cited" lists abbreviate serial titles the following sources can help you find the unabbreviated serial title:

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

Journals. The research paper published in a scientific journal represents the most important "primary" source of information for the wildlife scientist and manager. Papers published in journals generally go through a "peer review" process before acceptance and publication. Presently there are over 25,000 peer reviewed scientific journals that being published. Seventy-five percent of the wildlife research literature is published in this format.

Databases listed in Articles and Databases: Wildlife can be used to find individual research papers by author, subject, taxonomic category, habitat, time period, chemical substance, or geographic area. In addition many journal publisher websites now maintain a searchable database of articles that have been published in their journals.

The following list contains many of the print and online fulltext journals available through the HSU Library which publish research of interest to wildlife scientists and managers. Check the Journal and Newspaper Finder for specific holdings and call number and for other titles that are not on this list.

Acta Oecologica
African Journal of Ecology
American Zoologist
American Midland Naturalist
Animal Behaviour
Animal Learning and Behavior
Auk (American Ornithologists' Union)
Australian Wildlife Research
Avian Diseases
Avicultural Magazine (Avicultural Society)
Behavioral Ecology
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Biological Conservation
Bird Study (British Trust for Ornithology)
Blue Jay (Nature Saskatchewan)
Bulletin of British Ornithologist's Club
California Fish and Game
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Canadian Field-Naturalist
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology
Condor (Cooper Ornithological Society)
Conservation Biology
Danish Review of Game Biology (continued by Wildlife Biology)
Ecological Applications
Ecological Monographs
Elepaio (Hawaii Audubon Society)
Emu (Royal Australian Ornithologists' Union)
Great Basin Naturalist (continued by Western North American Naturalist)
Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Human Wildlife Interactions
Ibis (British Ornithologists' Union)
Journal of Animal Ecology
Journal of Applied Ecology
Journal of Avian Biology
Journal of Ecology
Journal of Experimental Zoology
Journal of Field Ornithology (Northeastern Bird Banding Association)
Journal of Helminthology
Journal of Mammology
Journal of Parasitology
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Journal of Wildlife Management
Journal of Zoology - Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London
Koedoe (South Africa National Parks Board of Trustees)
Lammergeyer (South Africa. National Parks, Game and Fish Preservation Board)
Madoqua (Namibia. Divison of Nature Conservation and Tourism)
Mammal Review
Marine Mammal Science
New York Fish and Game Journal
North American Bird Bander (Eastern, Inland, and Western Bird Banding Associations)
Northwest Science
Northwestern Naturalist
Notornis (Ornithological Society of New Zealand)
Ornis Fennica (Finnish Ornithological Society)
Ostrich (South African Ornithological Society)
Pacific Seabirds
Physiological Zoology
Rangeland Ecology and Management (formerly Journal of Range Management) (Society for Range Management)
Raptor Research
Ringing and Migration (British Trust for Ornithology)
South Australian Ornitholgisy (South Australian Ornithological Association)
South African Journal of Wildlife Research
South African Journal of Zoology
Southwestern Naturalist
Suomen Riista (Suomen Riistanhoito - Saatio)
Systematic Zoology
Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Trends in Parasitology
Wader Study Group. Bulletin
Waterbirds (formerly Colonial Waterbirds)
Western Birds (California Field Ornithologists)
Western North American Naturalist
Wildlife Biology
Wildlife Biology in Practice
Wildlife Society Bulletin (incorporated into Journal of Wildlife Management)
Wilson Journal of Ornithology (formerly Wilson Bulletin) (Wilson Ornithological Society)
Zoo Biology

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.

African Wildlife 
Alaska Fish & Game 
American Birds 
Arctic Birds: Newsletter of International Breeding Conditions Survey 
Arizona Wildlife Views 
Birdscapes: News from the International Habitat Conservation Partnerships (US Fish & Wildlife Service) (print copy also available in Docs I 49:100/4) 
Black Lechwe 
British Birds 
California Biodiversity News 
Colorado Outdoors 
Endangered Species Bulletin (US Fish & Wildlife Service) (see also Issues and Articles Online
Field and Stream 
Fish & Wildlife News (US Fish & Wildlife Service) 
Game Bird Breeders and Conservationists Gazette 
High Country News
Illahee: Journal for the Northwest Environment 
International Wildlife 
Living Bird 
Louisiana Conservationist 
Missouri Conservationist 
Montana Outdoors 
Natural History 
Nature Conservancy Magazine 
New Mexico Wildlife 
Outdoor News Bulletin (print copy available in SK 351.08) 
Oregon Wildlife 
Outdoor California 
Outdoor Life 
Outdoor News Bulletin 
Washington Wildlife 
Wyoming Wildlife 

Monographic Series. While the results of most wildlife research are published in journals, perhaps 10% of the research is published in 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 BulletinSpecial ReportSpecial PaperTechnical 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:

Wheeler, W.E., R.C. Gatti, & G.A. Bartlett.(a) 1984. Duck Breeding, Ecology and Harvest Characteristics on Grand River Marsh Wildlife Area.(b) Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources(c) Technical Bulletin(d) No. 145(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 sources:

  1. For federal and California State agency series use the catalogs and indexes listed in Natural Resources Agency Government Documents and Reports. They are are physically located in the Documents Collection.
  2. For all other monographic series use the 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 "Wheeler..."" or the title "Duck Breeding..." since these are the author and title of the individual issue. The catalog entry will note each number held by the Library in a particular series, e.g., #1-25, 26-30, 35-

As with individual journal papers databases included in Articles and Databases: Wildlife also can be used to identify research published in this format.

The following monographic series of interest to wildlife are found in the regular bookstacks of the Library.

  • American Ornithologists' Union. Ornithological Monographs
  • Arizona Game and Fish Department
    • Special Report
    • Technical Report
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
    • Occasional Paper
    • Progress Notes
    • Report Series
  • Colorado Division of Wildlife
    • Division Report
    • Outdoor Facts: Game Information Leaflet
    • Special Report
    • Technical Publication
  • Field Museum of Natural History. Fieldiana. Zoology
  • Finnish Game & Fisheries Research Institute. Game Division. Finnish Game Research
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Wildlife Bulletin
  • Idaho Forest Wildlife and Range Experiment Station
    • Bulletin
    • Technical Report
  • Illinois Natural History Survey
    • Biological Notes
    • Bulletin
  • U.S. Pacific Flyway Study Committee. Pacific Flyway Waterfowl Report
  • University of Alaska. Biological Papers
  • University of California. University of California Publications in Zoology
  • University of Kansas. Museum of Natural History
    • Miscellaneous Publications
    • Occasional Publications
  • University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology
  • Miscellaneous Publications
    • Occasional Papers
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Publications
  • Wildlife Society. Wildlife Monographs
  • Wildlife Tust. Wildfowl
  • Wisconsin. Department of Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin

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.

You can find and acquire 1) CPH 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 wildlife:

  • Bibliography of Wildlife Theses (SK 353 M66) Lists U.S. and Canadian theses and dissertations completed between 1900 and 1968.
  • Wildlife and Ecology Studies Worldwide (HSU users only) Iindexes U.S. dissertations and theses in wildlife.

Conference Papers


Papers presented at national and international conferences, symposia, and workshops are another source of "primary" scientific information in wildlife. For many conferences the presented papers are eventually published in a "proceedings" or "transactions" volume. Papers with no published proceedings may be refined and reworked for formal publication in a journal. Proceedings available are listed in the library catalog under both author (generally the name of the conference, individual editor or sponsoring organization) and title.

Some databases included in Articles and Databases: Wildlife provide subject, taxonomic, geographic, and author access to individual conference papers.

Following are some of the regularly recurring wildlife conferences received by the Library. Check the library catalog for call numbers and specific holdings. In addition there are many other one-time specialty conferences listed in the catalog.

  • Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation. Proceedings
  • Desert Bighorn Council. Transactions
  • Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conference. Proceedings
  • Federal-Provincial Wildlife Conference. Transactions
  • International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • International Conference on Wildlife Biotelemetry. Proceedings
  • International Conference on Bear Research & Management. Bears: Their Biology & Management
  • International Congress of Game Biologists. Transactions
  • International Ornithological Congress. Proceedings
  • International Symposium on Biotelemetry. Proceedings
  • International Waterfowl Symposium. Proceedings
  • Interstate Antelope Conference. Transactions
  • National Quail Symposium. Proceedings
  • National Wild Turkey Symposium. Proceedings
  • North American Prairie Conference. Proceedings
  • North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Transactions
  • Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council. Proceedings
  • Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • Vertebrate Pest Conference. Proceedings
  • Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Proceedings
  • Western Black Bear Workshop. Proceedings
  • Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Proceedings
  • Western States and Provinces Elk Workshop. Proceedings
  • Wildlife Society. Western Section. Transactions (continues Cal-Neva Wildlife)
  • World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls. Proceedings

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.