Biology / Taxonomy

Jump to: NCBI Taxonomy Browser | Dictionaries & Encyclopedias | Biology & Taxonomy Resources

As a guideline to create these resource pages, we used the "Classification Of Life" in Appendix Three from the 4th edition of Biology by Neil A. Campbell. The textbook states "This appendix presents the taxonomic classification used for the major groups of organisms discussed in this text; not all phyla are included. Plant and fungal divisions are the taxonomic equivalents of phyla. The classification reviewed here is based on the five-kingdom system..."

Use the dictionary and encyclopedia links to help define and, in some cases, provide the scientific name for your chosen organism(s).

NCBI Taxonomy Browser -- Find your organism lineage, fast!
Do a search at NCBI to retrieve the complete lineage of your species. This database does allow searches by common name and is very complete. If you do not find your species, try a variation on the name, ex: crayfish instead of crawfish or mangroves vs. mangrove. If you need guidance, use the online help sheet.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias:
Define your terms - why are both spiders and lobsters called arthropods?

  • NatureServe: an online encyclopedia of life
    "Welcome to NatureServe, a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities of the United States and Canada. NatureServe provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe is a product of the Association for Biodiversity Information in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network."
  • The On-line Medical Dictionary (OMD)
    Contains cross-referenced definitions of more than 65,000 words related to medicine, biology, chemistry and other branches of science. This resource may also be used to define the characteristics of most classification terms, i.e. kingdoms, phylums, orders. It helps to already have the scientific terms or names to use this search tool. For an introduction to this resource, try a search for the term "Taxonomy."
Biology & Taxonomy Resources
  • Journey into the World of Cladistics
    This series of Web pages focuses on phylogeny- how organisms are classified. By examining fossils, organism distribution, and shared characteristics, for example, it is possible to pull together the relationships that connect all living organisms to each other.
  • Introduction to Phylogenetic Biology
    From the Tree of Life web project. This is another explanation of how and why scientists try to determine relationships between organisms.
  • BiologyBrowser
    A index of useful internet resources regarding organisms are provided in this interactive portal designed by Thomphson Reuters for the life science community.
  • Classification of Living Things: Principles of Classification
    Great information plus an exceptionally attractive web site with sound and lots of quality graphics. "An introduction to the Principle of Taxonomy" from Dennis O'Neil, at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. Click on the link to access "Principles of Classification."
  • A Plant and Animal Phylogeny Exercise
    An excellent explanation and lesson on phylogeny from the Department of Biology at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
  • Taxonomy Lab: The "Nuts & Bolts" of Taxonomy and Classification
    "This exercise illustrates the creativity involved in taxonomy and the roles form and function, ancestral traits and derived characters play in generating classification schemes." An excellent and thorough overview of taxonomic classification. Compiled by R. Hay Cummins, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University, OH.
  • Living Things: Families
    A bit "elementary" but still a website worth seeing and hearing! Simple explanations and links to websites within each Kingdom.
  • Glossary of Phylogenetic Systematics
    "This text is a revised translation of my stenciled handout-manuscript for different courses on metazoan morphology, systematics and phylogeny at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen / Germany, under the supervision of Dr Gerhard Mickoleit. The definitions and comments refer to Phylogenetic Systematics sensu."
  • Taxacom List Serve Archives
    Discussion group for taxonomic classification issues. The TAXACOM Listserv list is managed by Peter Rauch, Berkeley, California and Jim Beach, University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, Lawrence, Kansas
  • TreeBase: A Database of Phylogenetic Knowledge
    "TreeBASE is a relational database of phylogenetic information sponsored by Harvard University Herbaria, Leiden University EEW, and the University of California, Davis. TreeBASE stores phylogenetic trees and the data matrices used to generate them from published research papers."
  • Systematic Biology Home Page
    From the University of Texas, a publication of the Society of Systematic Biologists.
  • The Electronic Zoo
    Immerse yourself in the world of animals. Well-maintained, exhaustive guide with link to the NetVet veterinary site.

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