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Cambridge LibGuides

Ecology: Ecology Collections

Undergraduate recommended reading

Undergraduate Ecology courses are taught by lecturers belonging to different Departments - this may seem confusing, but usually they belong to either the Department of Plant Sciences, or the Department of Zoology.

Any book on a reading list should at the very least be in the library of the lecturer's 'home' department, and is probably in others as well.

Books recommended by Plant Sciences lecturers are thus in the Plant Sciences Library. They are shelved in the 'Reserve' collection, opposite the Part II computer bay, and have yellow stickers on their spines. The bad news : There is usually only one copy and it is strictly Reference only. The good news : That means you can always get hold of the book and read it in the library.

Books recommended by Zoology lecturers will be held in the Zoology Library. Here the books on reading lists are available for overnight loan during term. These books are shelved separately, near the 'dome'. You can borrow two of these at any one time, after 4.00 pm Monday-Thursday, and after 3.30 on Fridays for weekend loan. They must be returned by 11.00 am the next day. Extra copies of many of these books are also available on the open shelves and can be borrowed for two weeks.  A list of these titles, alphabetical by author, is on top of the overnight loan shelves. Undergraduates can borrow a total of four books at any one time. There is vacation borrowing at Christmas and Easter which applies to all books.

Recommended journal papers may or may not be loaded on to Moodle, depending on the lecturer. Even if they aren't on Moodle, they are generally easy to find online, most conveniently via Google Scholar.

Don't forget that your College Library should have copies of recommended course textbooks.

Information about collections for Ecology

Although most Ecologists now rely on up-to-date information obtained online, you may find you occasionally need older material, or even items only available in paper [yes, not 'everything' is online!]

Which library holds a special collection often depends on past Department members. Both the Plant Sciences Library and the Zoology library hold a wide range of specialist material, some of which is unique. Books and journals are likely to appear on the catalogue, but other collections, such as of reprints, may not.

Examples of specialist items of possible interest to Ecologists in the Plant Sciences Library:

  • We still receive a considerable number of journals, not available online, as paper copies [appear on catalogue]
  • Many older journals, some of which are rare [appear on catalogue]
  • Background data for early surveys, eg Wicken Fen [Godwin] [not on catalogue]

Specialist items in the Herbarium Library:

  • The Simpson Collection of UK floras : Based on the collection of Norman Douglas Simpson [early 19th century > 1970s], but still being added to
  • Other UK floras, and floras for other countries, including rare pamphlets and reprints
  • Journals recording flora of areas, some early
  • Monographs on particular plants or types of plants

Many rare early books once held in the Department of Plant Sciences have been transferred for safe keeping to the University Library Rare Books Department - these items are identified on the online catalogue. Some unique items have been sent to the Manuscripts Department of the UL, but these can be difficult to identify on the [separate] catalogue - please contact them directly.

Examples of specialist items of possible interest to Ecologists in the Zoology Library:

  • Eltringham African collection: Stuart 'Keith' Eltringham's books, theses and reports (many unpublished) on African ecology, wildlife management and conservation [books and theses appear on catalogue] See website for further details.
  • Ornithological journals, many not available online and a small number of titles still taken currently [appear on catalogue]


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