Biology 217 - Mammalogy

Annotated Bibliography

Instead of a term paper, an annotated bibliography will be required for the lecture segment of Biology 217 (Mammalogy). The purpose of the assignment is to familiarize students with the library, with techniques of conducting a literature search, and with bibliographic abstracting.

Step 1.
Select a topic of interest to you with some aspect of mammalian biology. Discuss this with the instructor (by Monday, February 14) and define a specific topic that you would like to know more about. Some examples might be: 1) Why is the Mammalian fauna of Madagascar so different from that of Africa? 2) Why is monogamy rare in mammals? 3) On the relationship of Pholidota to Edentata.

Step 2.
Go to the library and systematically search for the primary literature on this topic. The Zoological Record (Section Mammalia),Biological Abstracts, Wildlife Abstracts, Science Citation Index, or the Mammalian Species accounts published by the ASM* should be the first place to look. Once you find all the papers published on this topic in the last two to three years, you should be able to locate older literature by working backward through the literature cited in each paper.

Step 3.
Select the 10 - 15 papers that seem most important to you and use these for your annotated bibliography. Begin your bibliography with an introductory paragraph or two describing your topic in more detail than is possible in the title. Include in the introduction specifics regarding what aspect of your topic is of special interest to you, how narrowly or broadly your topic and literature search were defined, and other terms that you judge appropriate. Following the Introduction should be the bibliography itself, with each paper cited fully in the style used by the Journal of Mammalogy. An example follows:

Robinson, J. G., and J. F. Eisenberg. 1985. Group size and foraging habis of the collared peccary Tayassu tajacu. Journal of Mammalogy, 66:136-155.

Collared peccaries were studied under natural conditions in Panama and Venezuela. Herds of 14 to 25 individuals were observed. These frequently fragmented into smaller units, and individuals often foraged alone. Two or more herds coalesced on occasion, probably in response to locally abundant food under specific fruiting trees during the dry season when resource were otherwise scarce.

You may wish to subdivide the papers into such categores as, for example:

1) Historical perspective
2) Field studies
3) Laboratory studies
4) Review papers.

Step 4.
Write a final paragraph or two that summarizes what you learned about the subject you researched.

Step 5.
Turn in your completed paper to me by noon, Monday April 10.

* ASM = American Society of Mammalogists

Return to Main Page