Dr. Stuart Reichler’s Summer 2008 Bio 301M Bonus #1
Must be emailed to Stuart by 5pm
on 13 June 2008

This assignment is optional and can be worth a maximum of 2 points added to your final grade.

    As I mentioned in class, we will be using articles from scientific journals to learn about evolution, ecology, and environmentalism.  So I would like you to pick an article that you would like to study in class.  The article should relate to one of the topics listed on the syllabus.  Your source should be from a scientific journal and have been published no earlier than 2004.  You can certainly use a mainstream news source to get ideas, but I want you to find an article of original research not a report by a journalist.  If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your choice, please ask.

    To help us grade this assignment, please follow this format:

Class (Bio 301M)

Your name

Article title, author’s name(s), journal title, volume, page number(s), and the date of publication

Include a short description of the question(s) posed in the article, how this article relates to one or more of the topics listed on the syllabus, and the reason that this article would make for an interesting class.

    I will present some of these articles in class, so please include enough information so that I can make an informed decision on what articles we want to use for class.  Make certain that your citation is correct.  Also, for class presentation, it would be helpful if the article has sufficient figures to make a visually compelling presentation.
    This assignment should not exceed 800 words.  This bonus will be graded on a scale of 0-2 points that will be added to your final grade.  This is an optional bonus assignment.  Your grade will be determined on your ability to find an appropriate article, your identification of the question(s) being asked, and your rationale for choosing the article. 
The assignment should be emailed in the body of the email (DO NOT send it as an attachment) to Stuart (sreichler @ mail.utexas.edu) by 5pm on June 13, 2008I will subtract 0.5 points for each day late.

Finding an article:  There are several search engines that exclusively search scientific journals.  The one I most commonly use is the "Web of Science".  It can be found via the UT library website at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.html?let=W.  If this link does not work, go to the UT library website and look under "Databases & Indexes to Articles".  Most of the articles found via the "Web of Science" should be acceptable for this assignment.  The main criteria are: does the article pertain to
evolution, ecology, or environmentalism; is it from 2004 or later; and is it written by the actual researcher(s)?
    You may not understand everything in the article, and that is ok.  Most articles are broken down into these sections:  The 'abstract' contains a summary of the article  It can be helpful, but other times the summary is very dense.  The 'introduction' has background information and the rationale for the research.  This is probably where you can find most of the information for the assignment and enough background to comprehend the basic concepts.  The 'results' will include the actual data and may be more detail that you need.  The 'discussion' will recap the results and give some context for what it means.  The 'material and methods' covers the actual manner in which the experiment was done, and will probably not have much useful information for this assignment.  You do not need to understand everything in the article, but just enough to decide whether the subject matter is appropriate for class and if it is interesting.  If you have questions, please ask.