Grey Literature refers to work not formally published through scholarly or commercial channels such as journal articles or books. It is usually published through government agencies, universities, associations and societies, companies, research associations, and other professional organizations. Some examples grey literature are:
For species 5-year reviews, you will most likely be drawing on different types of material such as published research, conference proceedings, dissertations, data sets, and published government documents: bulletins, reports, reviews, newsletters. You also might draw on sources from unpublished works such as internal government reports, or even correspondence. The bulk of this type of material falls under Grey Literature.
Due to the very nature of grey literature, it can be one of the most challenging to search and find what you're looking for but it is literally everywhere! Luckily, a large portion of documents by government organizations can be easily found using Google Scholar. You can also take advantage of Google's source search which also works well for finding freely available data sets!
Google Scholar will bring back scholarly and grey literature in your searches such as government or university technical reports, bulletins, and sometimes newsletters. You can adjust the year of publication to bring forward only those that are current or within the timeframe you wish to explore.
Searching basic Google but adding the command site: will allow you to specify the source of your results
site: .gov will pull results from governmental websites,
site: .org will pull from organizations*,
site: .edu will pull from institutions of education.
For example, I might want a fact sheet on the endangered leatherback sea turtle in Georgia. I could search in Google "leatherback sea turtle georgia site:.gov" and expect to find listings from Fish and Wildlife, NOAA or even National Parks System.
These will often have individual state information for the topic you're looking for and usually are searchable within the website itself. Federal Agency Websites that may be helpful for your review writing:
Specific Websites to help with Species Five-Year Reviews:
**U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species - select state and search for whole listing, or select state and search for specific species. Has a wealth of information related to endangered species and 5-year reviews.
**U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ServCat: Service Catalog - This contains FWS National Datasets, land status maps, refuge comprehensive conservation plans, geospatial datasets, refuge annual narrative reports, refuge hydrogeomorphis analysis reports, sea-level affecting marshes model reports, management plans, wilderness character monitoring reports and environmental contaminants reports.
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Breeding Bird Survey- "This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions." currently reporting 1966-2017.
Below is a listing of library databases that can be helpful in finding published journal articles, and can also provide access to some grey literature such as conference proceedings, government bulletins, and legal cases. Some are more general in scope while others are more focused by discipline.
Covering all aspects of the management of marine and freshwater environments.
This database includes four subfiles: Biological Sciences & Living Resources; Ocean Technology Policy and Non-Living Resources; Aquatic Pollution & Environment Quality; and Oceanic Abstracts. It provides citations to worldwide literature on aquatic resources, limnology, ocean technology, and all aspects of the management of marine and freshwater environments.
Web of Science provides access to the Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Book Citation Index, and Conference Proceedings Citation Index. These databases may be searched separately, in any combination, or all at once.
These databases are unique in that the user can search to find which articles have cited a certain author or article. This technique of doing research, called pearl growing, allows researchers to find articles that are related to an earlier work. Often this technique turns up articles which are not found through traditional subject and keyword searches.
Index to articles covering all aspects of wildlife and wildlife management.
Wildlife and Ecology Studies Worldwide covers wild mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, including all aspects of wildlife and wildlife management. Taxonomic and geographic identifiers include broad regions and specific localities.
Index to research on agriculture, forestry and allied life sciences.
CAB Abstracts & CAB Archive provide bibliographic citations in the fields of agriculture, forestry and their allied life science disciplines. Specific topics include animal and crop husbandry, animal and plant breeding, plant protection, genetics, forestry engineering, economics, veterinary medicine, human nutrition, travel and rural development.
Below is a listing of various freely available databases of information pertaining to various types of organisms. These usually consist of information pertaining to taxa, species descriptions, geographic distribution, and habitats.
Birds of the World - Guide to the birds of North America including descriptions, geographic distribution information, systematic information, habitats, and more, complemented by images, sound files, and video clips.
Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles - Consists of accounts of taxa prepared by specialists, including synonymy, description, diagnosis, phylogenetic relationships, published descriptions, illustrations, distribution map, and comprehensive list of literature for each taxon. Over 900 accounts have been published since the initiation of the series in 1963.
Fishbase- FishBase is a global biodiversity information system on finfishes. Its initial goal to provide key facts on population dynamics for 200 major commercial species has now grown to having a wide range of information on all species currently known in the world: taxonomy, biology, trophic ecology, life history, and uses, as well as historical data reaching back to 250 years.
You might find some of the following journals helpful for finding research studies. These two have a broad scope within Wildlife Management and Ecology:
Journal of Applied Ecology - Journal of Applied Ecology publishes novel, broad-reaching and high-impact papers on the interface between ecological science and the management of biological resources. The journal includes all major themes in applied ecology, such as conservation biology, global change, environmental pollution, wildlife and habitat management, land use and management, aquatic resources, restoration ecology, and the management of pests, weeds and disease.
The Journal of Wildlife Management - The Journal of Wildlife Management publishes manuscripts containing information from original research that contributes to basic wildlife science. Suitable topics include investigations into the biology and ecology of wildlife and their habitats that has direct or indirect implications for wildlife management and conservation.