The major goal of this course is to teach you how to conduct marine ecological research. Lectures and exams have limited ability to teach and assess how to conduct marine ecological research. For this reason, you will be required to (1) conduct the basic tasks of observing and recording patterns in nature, (2) developing hypotheses to explain your observed patterns, and (3) developing observational and manipulative tests of your hypotheses.
The description of patterns is a fundamental component of ecological studies and science in general. Patterns motivate the questions and hypotheses that ecologists propose and the studies/experiments they design to address them. The goal here is to learn how ecologists describe patterns. The pattern should be either spatial (e.g., vertical zonation of organisms in the intertidal), or temporal (e.g., changes in the density or abundance of a species over time).
For your journal of ecological patterns, each student must keep their own book of pattern descriptions. You must use a gridded composition book for this…..no loose leaf pattern descriptions. This compilation of pattern descriptions will be periodically turned in for evaluation (see schedule for due dates).
1. Pattern Descriptions: students must keep a journal in which you document, in graphical, pictoral, and written form, patterns that you observe in nature. Guidance for pattern descriptions is available at the links below. Individuals are expected to document two to three (see schedule) patterns, and pattern journals will be turned in at the beginning of class. Your pattern descriptions (illustrations, graphs and written) will be reviewed weekly and returned with the expectation that you will incorporate recommended edits into sequential descriptions the following week. This is meant to be an iterative process, and your grade will include how well your descriptions evolve in response to our feedback over the quarter.
2. Pattern and Hypotheses: When you are required to have hypotheses with your patterns, here is what is required:
4 general hypotheses (two per pattern)
4 specific hypotheses (one for each general hypothesis)
3. Pattern, Hypotheses, and Test of Hypotheses (Observational and Experimental): Follow the same rubric above, but with a new MARINE pattern. You are required to have a test, which can be manipulative or observational, for each specific hypothesis. Refer to the schedule to see how many patterns are needed.
Refer to the same Pattern and Hypothesis Guide link above
Each of these submissions MUST be no less than 3 pages.
You are strongly recommended to read thoroughly the EEB Writing Guidelines to help you prepare your pattern journal!!! Use this link to download a pdf of the guidelines.