Welcome to QNL’s Biology Subject Guide!

From cell and gene science to the study of living organisms structures, functions, growth and their distribution and classification, this guide provides an overview of recommended QNL collections on biology, such as databases, books, journals, reference and other resources, printed or digital, that are accessible through different websites and platforms..

Please search the QNL Catalog to find out which of the recommended resources can be accessed in a digital format on the QNL website. The catalog also indicates where these resources can be obtained if available only in a printed format.

For study or general reference questions and further assistance on how to find relevant materials for your information needs, please feel free to contact us through the Ask QNL Librarians service.



You can use these databases to search for articles, books, e-books and more. For a comprehensive list of the Library’s databases, please visit QNL Online Resources

ProQuest Biology Journals
The biology journals in ProQuest Central include 410 titles, with more than 360 available in full text. They cover a wide range of biology-related topics, such as biological chemistry, biophysics, botany, cytology, histology, environmental studies, microbiology, microscopy and zoology.

The Merck Index Online
These are multiple databases that offer online access to more than 11,500 monographs and historical records covering chemical substances, including human and veterinary drugs, and biological and natural products. QNL members have access to issues published from 2014–2017.

Web of Science
Web of Science is a large, interdisciplinary abstract and citation online database providing references to peer-reviewed research literature from journals, books, book chapters and conference proceedings in the sciences, engineering, medicine, social sciences, arts and humanities. Access is available from 2008 to present.

ProQuest Natural Sciences Collection
ProQuest’s Natural Science Collection includes discipline-oriented bibliographic abstracts databases and full-text scholarly and trade journals, magazines, reports, books, conference proceedings and news relevant to the field of natural sciences.

Science Direct is a full-text database of scientific ebooks covering physical sciences, engineering, life sciences, health, social sciences and humanities. The Library’s current subscription provides full-text access to about 20,000 book chapters and more than 2,500 journals.

Print Books

Below is a list of recommended books related to biology. For more books, search the QNL Catalog.

Clymo, R. S. (2014). Reporting Research: A Biologist's Guide to Articles, Talks and Posters. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Call Number: QH304 .C685 2014
Clymo offers a practical, step-by-step guide on how to write and publish a scientific paper. Topics covered include how to write a scientific paper, speaking about the research, making a scientific poster, scientific authorship, writing style, and citing and referencing.

Craighead, L. & Convis, C. L. (Eds.). (2013). Conservation Planning: Shaping the Future. Redlands, CA: Esri Press.
Call Number: QH75 .C68146 2013
A collection of papers by different authors showing how scientists develop conservation strategies for land management and planning using scientific methods, data and technology, including Geographical Information System (GIS) and mathematical models, in order to preserve the natural environment.

Freeman, S., et al (2014). Biological Science (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Pearson.
Call Number: QH308.2 .F73 2014
This is an introductory book that discusses biology and the tree of life, the origin and early evolution of life, cell functions, gene structure and expression, developmental biology, evolutionary patterns and processes, diversification of life, and ecology. It has practice exercises to encourage students to engage with the content.

Henderson, A. (2009). Palms of Southern Asia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Call Number: QK495.P17 H445 2009eb
A clearly written, non-technical, illustrated field guide to the 43 genera and 352 species of palms and rattans that occur mainly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Starr, C., Taggart, R. & Evers, C. (2013). Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life.
Call Number: QH308.2 .S72 2013
This introductory biology textbook covers methods and concepts in biology, chemical foundations for cells, carbon compounds in cells, cell structure and energy-acquiring pathways, cell division, and mitosis, among many other topics. It also provides questions and answers in each chapter to assist in the learning process.


Below is a list of recommended ebooks related to biology. For more ebooks, search the QNL Catalog.

Heimann, K. & Katsaros, C. (2013). Advances in Algal Cell Biology. Berlin, De Gruyter.
This book is part of a series that discusses current research on algae. It provides an overview of recent research on algae and how the knowledge gained has impacted developments in food technology and the pharmaceutical industry.

Klimley, P.A. & Oerding, S. (2013). The Biology of Sharks and Rays. Chicago: Chicago Scholarship.
The biological and physiological characteristics of sharks, rays and chimaeras are the focus of this guide. It covers taxonomy, morphology, ecology, physiology and conservation.

Mohammed, E. Y. (Ed.). (2013). Economic Incentives for Marine and Coastal Conservation: Prospects, Challenges and Policy Implications. Abingdon, Oxon: Rutledge.
This volume provides an introduction to marine policy, with discussions about environmental protection policies, fisheries, transportation, energy, mining and climate change.

Thompson, R.B. & Thompson, B.F. (2012). Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture. Sebastopol, CA: Maker Media.
With this practical guide to simple biology experiments, students can learn how to use a microscope; how to extract and isolate DNA; explores photosynthesis, osmosis, and nitrogen fixation; observe cell cycles; and perform hands-on microbiology.

Zacharias, M. (2014). Marine Policy: An Introduction to Governance and International Law of the Oceans. London, Routledge.  
This book presents case studies from marine ecosystems, resource conservation, and coastal zone management systems around the world. It emphasizes the need for more research to protect both people’s livelihoods and marine ecosystems.

Print Journals

Biology Digest
The monthly periodical index carries biological science research and summaries of articles and reports indexed from all over the world on the latest scientific developments.


Below is a list of e-journals with articles relating to biology:

Marine Biology
A monthly online journal covering life in the oceans and coastal waters. Its scope includes plankton research, theoretical biology, and underwater exploration and experimentation.

BMC Bioinformatics
An irregularly published, open-access journal with a focus on new applications of computational and statistical methods for the analysis of biological data and computational biology.

Biological Invasions
A monthly journal publishing research papers on patterns and processes of biological invasions in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Conservation Biology
A bi-monthly scholarly journal publishing papers on the study and preservation of species and habitats worldwide.

Journal of Insect Science
An international, open-access journal that publishes papers on the biology of insects and other arthropods, as well as their agricultural and medical impact.

Journal of Theoretical Biology
A bi-monthly, peer-reviewed journal that provides a platform for sharing research in all branches of theoretical biology.

Marine Mammal Science
A quarterly academic journal publishing original scientific articles on the evolution, function, health, populations and ecological relationships of marine mammals.

Nature is an online scientific journal that publishes peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology. Archive access dates back to January 2011.

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
A monthly scholarly journal carrying articles on all branches of zoology, including the diversity, interrelationships and habits of living and extinct animals.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

BioEd Online
BioEd Online is a source of free and interactive course material on a wide range of topics, such as genetics, genomics, environmental health and water.

Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare
MIT’s OpenCourseWare provides the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT’s subjects for free.

The Biology Corner
A free website carrying information on biology lesson plans, worksheets, tutorials and resources for teachers and students. The website content is freely available under the legal terms of Creative Commons.


“One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
Charles Darwin

“I like to define biology as the history of the earth and all its life — past, present, and future.”
Rachel Carson

“The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is, in fact, to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.”
Francis Crick