biolage

biolage

For your write-up of our class experiments, you are to write a short Discussion based on one of our sets of class data (Plant Competition or Quadrat Biodiversity). If you do Plant Competition, I would recommend focusing only on the Intraspecific (radishes) data, as the data came out better and shows a stronger trend than the Interspecific (Marigolds & Zinnia) data.

You are NOT to write a full report–Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, and References are not necessary (the handouts for the experiment are, essentially, the Intro and Materials & Methods, and I have provided the Results). The goal of this is twofold: One, to be able to express your thoughts & demonstrate an understanding of the experiment in writing, and two, to practice writing a report discussion. I will provide constructive feedback so that you will know what I am looking for when you are completing your independent projects.

This was a small experiment so it can be a small Discussion. About a page is likely an appropriate length, but some people may be able to write more concisely, while people with a lengthier writing style may need a little more space. A good discussion will be focused and will flow well. Usually you will have an introductory paragraph where you state what our results suggest (bearing in mind that our results were not statistically significant! We have not proved anything. However, we have demonstrated some interesting trends) and connect it back to the larger picture, such as what you know about competition and communities. Notes from class, handouts or the chapter on Community Ecology, can all be used as background for this. Then, the questions from class on 4/30 that we used to brainstorm with (the lecture slides with questions are available on Moodle) are a good guide for what types of things to write about in a discussion. (Feel free to use your notes as well! We essentially did a very basic report discussion on the spot). Not every question needs to be included if it disrupts the flow. For example, you could discuss the trend in decreased plant success with increased plant competition, discuss what you know about limiting resources and what the limiting resource may have been that caused that trend, and discuss ways we could modify or improve the experiment in the future.

It is all right if you are unfamiliar with this type of writing–again, the goal is to practice and to get feedback, so that you are prepared for how to talk about your own projects. I will take into account that this is a writing exercise.

You may enter this online, or may submit it as a file. If you submit as a file, please only use one of the following three file formats: Microsoft Word, Open Office, or PDF.

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