Preproposal rubric

Each group should follow this specific protocol: see example below for an idea of what we want

Group Members: list the group members

Tentative project title

General question or questions:

Basis of the question: Indicate the theory, previous study or set of observations that have motivated your question.

Confirmation of observation general hypothesis: This is not always needed but often is to quantitatively validate the observation

Confirmation of observation specific hypothesis: The testable hypothesis

General Hypothesis 1: Write your first general hypothesis. This is not a directly testable hypothesis but can be used to motivate specific hypotheses

Specific Hypothesis 1A: Your first specific (testable) hypothesis

Specific Hypothesis 1B:

and so on

General Hypothesis 2: Write your second general hypothesis. This is not a directly testable hypothesis but can be used to motivate specific hypotheses

Specific Hypothesis 2A: Your second specific (testable) hypothesis

Specific Hypothesis 2B: and so on

More general and specific hypotheses as needed

 

 

EXAMPLE

Group Members: Giacomo Bernardi, Mark Carr, Alexis Jackson, Rodrigo Beas

Tentative project title: The relationship between water depth and epiphyte cover on sea grass Posidonia oceanica

General question or questions: What environmental or ecological mechanisms are associated with the pattern of decreasing epiphyte cover on Posidonia as a function of depth

Basis of the question: During our initial set of dives we noticed that epiphyte cover (specifically algal epiphytes) on Posidonia decreased as a function of water depth.  We propose to examine a series of mechanisms that could lead to this pattern.  Although Posidonia and the algal epiphytes are all plants the theoretical basis of our hypotheses is based on the idea that that one or more mechanism will have  a different level of impact on the epiphytes than on Posidonia.

Confirmation of observation hypothesis: Epiphyte cover on Posidonia decreases with increasing water depth.

                  Confirmation of observation specific hypothesis: Using replicate leaves sampled every 2 meters along replicate transects extending from 8 -20 meters, percent cover of algae epiphytic on Posidonia will decrease as a function of water depth.

General Hypothesis 1: The pattern is driven by decreasing light at depth, which has more of a negative impact on epiphytes than on Posidonia

Specific Hypothesis 1A: We predict that using PAR measurements taken every 2 meters along replicate transects extending from 8 -20 meters of water depth, light levels will decrease as a function of water depth.  (Note that affirmation of this is necessary for the general hypothesis to be true and if the specific hypothesis is false then so is the general hypothesis.  Not also that if the specific hypothesis is true it is not sufficient to prove the general hypothesis.

Specific Hypothesis 1B: In a lab experiment with multiple trials and using two light levels similar to those observed at 8 and 20 meters, we predict that photosynthetic rates will decrease more (difference between 8 and 20 meter light levels) in epiphytic algae than in Posidonia.

General Hypothesis 2: The pattern is driven by increasing herbivory on epiphytes as function of increasing water depth.

Specific Hypothesis 2A:  We predict that using belt transects for fish and quadrats for invertebrates, density of herbivores sampled every 5 meters along replicate transects extending from 8 -20 meters water depth will increase as a function of water depth.

General Hypothesis  3: The pattern is driven by decreasing nutrient levels as function of increasing water depth,  which has more of a negative impact on epiphytes than on Posidonia.

Specific Hypothesis 3A: We predict that nutrient levels (nitrate and phosphate) sampled every 2 meters along replicate transects extending from 8 -20 meters of water depth, will decrease as a function of water depth.

Specific Hypothesis 3A : In a lab experiment with multiple trials and using two nutrient levels similar to those observed at 8 and 20 meters, we predict that growth rates will decrease more (difference between 8 and 20 meter light levels) in epiphytic algae than in Posidonia.