Biology 100 Research Paper Guidelines Spring 2013
Ecological Community or Ecosystem. Choose a community or ecosystem (e.g. tropical rain forest, Mohave Desert) of interest to you. You must then research this community/ecosystem — discover all of the interesting things about it you can. It will be easier to focus your research and address the requirements if you choose a specific system as opposed to a broad category (e.g. Mohave Desert as opposed to deserts in general). The following information MUST be included:
1. A general description of the community/ecosystem. Include information about where it is located (geographically), the type of climate it has (e.g. is it wet, dry, hot, cold, highly seasonal, very little seasonality), and what the dominant species is/are that live there.
2. Describe the major interactions among the organisms that live there. You must include a description of each of the following relationships: 1) predator-prey (one organism eats another); 2) competition (2 different species trying to use the same resource); 3) symbiosis (parasite & host, mutualism [e.g. plant & pollinator], or commensalism). Each description must include the names of the organisms involved and the role each organism plays in the interaction (e.g. is it the predator or the prey?).
3. Discuss the future outlook for this community/ecosystem. Is it stable? Is it endangered? Describe the factors that contribute to its outlook.
4. Why you chose to research this particular ecosystem.
Favorite Organism. Choose your favorite organism. This can be any organism on the planet, whatever you find interesting. You must then research this organism — discover all of the interesting things about it you can. The following information about your organism MUST be included:
1. The complete taxonomic classification of the organism. You must include: domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species (spelled correctly, genus and species names italicized or underlined!)
2. Adescriptionoftheorganism.Includeinformationaboutitsappearance(e.g.size,color), where it lives/type of habitat, what it eats and how it obtains its food, its reproductive process (e.g. time of year it reproduces, how often, etc.).
3. The status of the organism – is it listed as threatened or endangered? If so, state what factors have led to its status. If it is not threatened or endangered, you need to explain why it isn’t.
4. Discuss and describe at least one additional unique or interesting behavioral or physiological characteristic of the organism, i.e. what makes this organism special or different from others. This discussion needs to include the adaptive value of the characteristic (e.g. how it helps the organism to survive and/or reproduce).
5. Why you chose to research this particular organism.
Note: Use your best judgment when choosing a topic. If the topic you choose is too complex for you to understand you may have trouble clearly addressing and explaining it. An inability to clearly describe and explain the required information will likely result in you receiving a low grade on this project.