Earth and Environmental Sciences

Guide to resources for the Departments of Environmental Health and Engineering; and Earth & Planetary Science

Taxonomy

Below are some web sites organized by researchers that describe the relationships between organisms and their naming conventions.

About Identification

When you need to identify the plants and animals in an area, you need identification guides. Eisenhower Library has some guides that you can check out. Perform a keyword search in the catalog using the word 'identification' and the group you are interested in. An example search would be insects identification.

Bee on flower

To the right are listed some of the print guides that are available in the Science Reference Collection on C-level of the library, as well as some good web sites. Since the reference books can't be checked out, you may want to take pictures of the item you are trying to identify and bring them to the library. Some of these items aren't true 'keys' but do provide some identifying information.

Photo: Aunt Owwee

Finding Articles

Search databases that focus on information about organisms. AGRICOLA focuses on plants and agriculture. PsycINFO includes literature about animal behavior. The rest are fairly obvious.

Identification Guides - Plants

Trees
Trees of the Southeastern United States
SCI REF QK125.D791
Includes a key, range maps, and color photographs.

Complete Trees of North America: Field Guide and Natural History
SCI REF QK481.E381

Has keys for each group of tress. Includes range maps and drawings.

Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees by Dr. Jeff Kirwan and James Ward
This web site is meant for a 4-H project, but is very straight-forward and may be very helpful in identifying local trees.

What Tree Is That? from the National Arbor Day Foundation
This provides an online guide to some North American trees as well as a tutorial about identifying characteristics of trees.

Grasses
Field Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, and Rudges of the United States
SCI REF QK495.G74K7181
Includes a key with pencil drawings of the plants.

Mushrooms
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
SCI REF QK617.L524

Has color photographs with a silhouette guide.

Identification Guides - Animals

Harper and Row's Complete Field Guide to North American Wildlife, Eastern Edition
SCI REF QL151.C621

Guide to mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even fish. The color plates are separated from the descriptions.

Insects

Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America
SCI REF QL551.A75C681

Provides a key with illustrations.

Garden Insects of North America
SCI REF SB605.N7C73

This is not a true guide because it organizes the insects by the plants they associate with. It focuses on yard and garden insects, particularly those that injure plants.

Bug Identification from the Amateur Entomologists' Society
This site only identifies bugs to the Order level, but they may be very helpful.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America
SCI REF QL651.C65

Includes a key and photographs.

Birds

Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region
SCI REF QL681.B771

One of the oldest guide book series in the business.

All About Birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
This web site provides information on how to indentify birds and has pictures of many of the commons species in North America.

Field Guide to the Birds
SCI REF QL681.P4

From the Peterson series of guidebooks.


This is not a field guide; you should use it AFTER you have identified your bird. This series, produced by the American Ornithologists' Union and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, provides life history information about each species of bird found in North America. The online version provides images, audio and video clips, as well as text. In print, this is a series of pamphlets that you can check out of Eisenhower Library, so it isn't in Science Reference. The call number is Eisenhower Stacks QL681 B571 Quarto.