SFU Library Biological Sciences collections policy


The Department of Biological Sciences is a modern multidisciplinary department that offers graduate programs leading to the MSc. and PhD. degrees. In addition, the Department participates in the Master of Resource Management (MRM) program and offers the professional degrees of Master of Pest Management (MPM) and Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET).
Undergraduate and post baccalaureate programs are offered in Biological Sciences and Environmental Toxicology.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the biological sciences the collections of the Departments of Biological Sciences, Kinesiology and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry overlap and are interdependent.  In addition, the Departments of Biological Science and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry will be jointly responsible for certain courses.

Research in the Department of Biological Sciences ranges from basic studies at the molecular level to applied research in environmental biology. There are concentrations of faculty expertise in molecular biology and biochemistry, behavioural ecology, animal and plant physiology, and marine biology. These basic research areas are complemented by applied areas such as agricultural and forest pest management, and environmental toxicology.

Individual faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences have organized themselves into various groups, listed below:

  • Behavioural Ecology Research Group (BERG): Evolutionary and behavioural ecology in a variety of organisms. Research spans behavioural, molecular, physiological and mathematical approaches.
  • Chemical Ecology Research Group: Chemical ecology and semiochemicals.
  • Centre for Environmental Biology: Pest management and environmental toxicology.
  • CWS/NSERC Wildlife Ecology Chair: Wildlife ecology, with special emphasis on behavioural, population and physiological ecology.

Course and research areas

Faculty research:

Animal behaviour
Aquatic toxicology
Behavioural ecology
Biochemical toxicology
Biological control
Biology of seaweeds
Cardiorespiratory physiology of fish
Cardiovascular physiology
Cephalopod biology
Chemical ecology
Contaminants - fate & effect
Developmental biology
Developmental genetics
Drosophila developmental genetics
Drosophila - signalling
Ecosystem biogeochemistry
Embryonic Development
Environmental risk assessment
Environmental toxicology
Evolution of social behaviour
Evolutionary ecology
Field ecology
Fish diseases
Forest entomology
Fungal pathogenesis
Insect behavioural ecology
Insect parasitology
Insect physiology
Insect taxonomy
Land-water interactions
Marine invertebrate ecology
Marine microbiology
Marine phycology
Mating system evolution
Modulation by ABA
Molecular biology
Molecular development
Molecular evolution
Osmotic stress
Pest management
Pesticide biochemistry
Physiological ecology
Plant biotechnology
Plant evolutionary ecology
Plant-insect interactions
Plant molecular biology
Plant physiology
Plant stress physiology
Population biology
Population dynamics
Population genetics
Quantitative genetics
Root specific gene expression
Seed specific gene expression
Social insects
Wildlife biology

Graduate courses

Animal physiology
Animal disease vectors - management
Aquatic ecology
Behavioural ecology
Biochemical toxicology
Biological controls
Cell biology
Comparative endocrinology
Conservation ecology
Drug toxicology
Ecological physiology
Environmental risk assessment - human and ecological
Environmental toxicology
Environmental toxicology - testing
Evolution of social behaviour
Evolutionary ecology
Evolutionary physiology
Evolutionary theory
Eyes and vision
Farm and speciality crop pest management
Food toxicology
Forest insects - biology and management
Forest pest management
Industrial biotechnology
Industrial microbiology
Insect development and reproduction
Insecticide chemistry and toxicology
Marine and aquatic biology
Medical and veterinary entomology
Molecular biology
Orchard crop pest management
Pest ecology and management
Plant biology
Plant disease development and control
Plant ecology
Plant physiology
Population biology
Reproductive strategies
Survival strategies
Urban and industrial pest management
Vertebrate pests
Weed biology and control

Undergraduate courses:

Animal ecology
Animal physiology
Biology of non-vascular plants
Cell biochemistry
Cell biology
Cell physiology
Chemical pesticides and the environment
Developmental biology
Environmental physiology of animals
Environmental toxicology
Ethology (animal behaviour)
Experimental techniques
Fish biology
Genetic analysis
Insect biology
Invertebrate biology
Marine biology and oceanography
Molecular biology
Molecular biochemistry
Molecular biotechnology
Molecular genetics
Molecular physiology
Natural history of British Columbia
Pest management
Plant biology
Plant development
Plant ecology
Plant molecular biology
Plant pathology
Plant physiology
Population dynamics
Population genetics
Research design, reporting and technique
Separation techniques
Vertebrate biology
Wildlife biology

The Department has chosen to not cover these areas:

Human biology is not covered except for physiology, senses and genetics. Medicine is not covered except for toxicology and environmental health.  Agriculture is not covered except for botany, soil microbiology, weed control, pathology, pesticides and entomology.  Animal husbandry is not covered except for beekeeping and wild bird husbandry.  Veterinary medicine is not covered except for animal toxicology and parasitology and diseases of fish, birds and wild animals.

Collection Development Responsibility

Collection development is the responsibility of the Biological Sciences Liaison Librarian.  Liaison with the Department of Biological Sciences is maintained through the Departmental Representative as well as with other faculty members when required.  Regular contact with other liaison librarians and teaching departments is nurtured through the sharing of relevant review material.

SFU Resources

The WAC Bennett is the major location of the University’s Biological Sciences collection. 

Regional Resources

UBC has botanical, zoological and applied biological science materials.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network, Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries, Canadian Association of Research Libraries).  Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia which allow delivery of journal articles and books from these libraries in a timely manner.  Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the Interlibrary Loan web page and from many databases.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: the emphasis is on the acquisition of materials in English.
Chronological: not applicable.
Geographic: North American and European publications, generally not Asian.  Focus on BC flora and fauna, but interested in fish world-wide.
Treatment of subject: generally no proceedings, lower undergraduate textbooks or popular material.
Types of materials: split between books, journals and databases.  No more than 90% of the budget is to be spent on serials (print or electronic).  Increased emphasis on e-journals and other web resources.
Date of Publication: emphasis is on current publications.  Retrospective acquisitions are normally only for the replacement of important titles.
Coordination and cooperation with other library collecting areas: Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the biological sciences the collections of the Departments of Biological Sciences, Kinesiology and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry overlap and are interdependent.   Some courses are offered jointly by the departments of  Biological Sciences and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  Biological Sciences and the School of Kinesiology share areas of research in the medical and neurosciences.
Other factors for consideration:  None.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

Definitions of collection levels are derived from the American Library Association’s Guide for Developing Collection Policy Statements, 1989.

1. Outside the scope of the university curricula and research
Animal husbandry, except for beekeeping and wild bird husbandry.
Medicine, except for toxicology and environmental health.
Veterinary medicine, except for toxicology and parasitology and diseases of birds, fish and wild animals.
See below for details.

2. Peripheral to the university curricula and research
Agriculture, except for botany, soil microbiology, weed control, pathology, pesticides and entomology.
Experimental pharmacology, except for drugs for the cardiovascular, nervous and respiratory systems.
Forestry, except for protection and entomology.
Human biology, except for physiology, senses and genetics.
See below for details.

3. Supports undergraduate courses
See below.

4. Supports masters programmes
See below.

5. Supports Ph.D. programmes and faculty research
See below.

The acquisition of library materials is based on subject specific polices. Please see the Levels of Collecting table for details.