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Introduction to resources at the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library for students of biology.

About this guide

This research guide serves as a starting point for students in the biological sciences. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but contains information on selected resources in the NSU Library, as well as links to materials that are available elsewhere. The guide provides information on both print and electronic resources. 

If you can't find exactly what you are looking for or need assistance focusing your topic, please contact a reference librarian or stop by the Information Desk on the first floor of the library for more help.

If you need help with writing your assignment and editing assistance, please visit the NSU Writing Center, which is conveniently located on the first floor of the library. 

Various Branches of Biology

Biology is the science of life. There are a wide variety of specializations within the field of Biology.
Agriculture – the science and practice of producing  trees, crops, and livestock from the natural resources of the Earth   
Anatomy – the identification and description of the body structures of living things.
Astrobiology – also called exobiology or xenobiology,  a multidisciplinary field dealing with the nature, existence, and search for extraterrestrial life
Biochemistry – the study of the chemical substances and processes that occur in plantsanimals, and microorganisms and of the changes they undergo during development and life.   
Biogeography – the study of the geographic distribution of plants, animals, and other forms of life.    
Bioinformatics –a hybrid science that links biological data with techniques for information storage, distribution, and analysis to support multiple areas of scientific research, including biomedicine.   
Biomechanics – the study of the mechanics of living beings.    
Biophysics – the application of the principles and methods of physics and the other physical sciences to the solution of biological problems.
Botany – the study of plants, including their structure, properties, and biochemical processes. 
Conservation biology – the study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife    
Cytology – the study of cells as fundamental units of living things.
Developmental biology – the study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure.   
    Embryology – the study of the development of the embryo (from fecundation to birth)
    Gerontology – the study of ageing processes
    Teratology – the study of the causes, development, description, and classification of congenital malformations in plants and animals.
Ecology – the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment.
Genetics – the study of heredity in general and of genes in particular.
    Genomics – the study of genomes
    Epigenetics – the study of the chemical modification of specific genes or gene-associated proteins of an organism. 
    Molecular genetics – the study of how differences in the structures or expression of DNA manifest as variations among organisms
Immunology – the study of the body's resistance to invasion by other organisms.    
Marine biology – the study of ocean ecosystems, plants, and animals.  
Microbiology – the study of microorganisms, or microbes, a diverse group of generally minute simple life-forms that include bacteria, archaea, algae, fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
    Bacteriology – the study of bacteria
    Parasitology – the study of parasites and parasitism
    Virology – the study of viruses and some other virus-like agents
Molecular biology – the study of the chemical structures and processes of biological phenomena that involve the basic units of life, molecules.     
Mycology – the study of fungi.    
Nanobiology – the application of nanotechnology in biological research, and the study of living organisms and parts on the nanoscale level of organization    
Neuroscience – the study of the nervous system.    
Paleontology – the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossils.   
Pathology – the study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease.    
Pharmacology – the branch of medicine that deals with the interaction of drugs with the systems and processes of living animals, in particular, the mechanisms of drug action as well as the therapeutic and other uses of the drug. 
Phycology – the study of seaweeds and other algae.    
Physiology – the study of the functioning of living organisms, animal or plant, and of the functioning of their constituent tissues or cells.   
Sociobiology – the the systematic study of the biological basis of social behavior.   
Systems biology – the study of the interactions and behavior of the components of biological entities, including molecules, cells, organs, and organisms.
Taxonomy – the classification of living and extinct organisms.
Toxicology – the study of poisons and their effects, particularly on living systems
Zoology – the study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, evolution and behavior, including:    
    Carcinology – the study of crustaceans
    Entomology – the study of insects and other arthropods
    Herpetology – the study of reptiles and amphibians
    Ichthyology – the study of fish
    Malacology – the study of mollusks
    Mammalogy – the study of mammals
    Ornithology – the study of birds

    From Britannica Academic

Academic Honesty at NSU


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In keeping with its mission, the University seeks to prepare its students to be knowledgeable, forthright, and honest. It expects and requires academic honesty from all members of the University community. Academic honesty includes adherence to guidelines established by the University for the use of its libraries, computers, and other facilities.

“Academic or academically related misconduct” includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized collaboration or use of external information during examinations, plagiarizing or representing another’s ideas as one’s own, furnishing false academic information to the University, falsely obtaining, distributing, using, or receiving test materials, obtaining or gaining unauthorized access to examinations or academic research materials, soliciting or offering unauthorized academic information or materials, improperly altering or inducing another to alter improperly any academic record, or engaging in any conduct which is intended or reasonably likely to confer upon one’s self or another an unfair advantage or unfair benefit respecting an academic matter.

Additional information regarding academic or academically related misconduct, and disciplinary procedures and sanctions regarding such misconduct, may be obtained by consulting the current edition of the Norfolk State University Student Handbook.

Isaac Needell, Reference & Instruction Librarian

Headshot of Isaac Needell, wearing glass, has a beard and mustashIsaac Needell


Lyman Beecher Brooks Library
700 Park Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23504


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