Mammalogy Take Home Assignment #3: March Mammal Madness!

March Mammal Madness (MMM) is an outreach program designed by Prof. Katie Hinde to create public interest in mammalian ecology and conservation using social media (i.e., Twitter). Dr. Hinde created the competition in honor of (but in no way affiliated with) the NCAA college basketball tournament held annual each March. During MMM, 64 mammalian species engage in five rounds of (imaginary) battles, with half the species being eliminated each round until one species is crowned champion. Though the battles are fictitious, the ebb & flow of the fighting and the outcome of each battle is based on real traits of the species and of the environment where the battle takes place. To learn more about the competition (how it works, the history, resources etc.), visit The Arizona State University’s LibGuide here: Dr. Hinde’s personal website can be found here: To get the full 30 points, you must research the mammalian combatants and fill out your bracket (10pts), thereby choosing the winners of each of the four divisions and the ultimate #2019MMM champion. You will need to write at least 1 page but not more than 2 pages (doubled space) in which you summarize why your species will win its respective division, and why your champion will reign over all others (12pts). You will also need to provide 1 scientific article for EACH of your four divisional winners (8pts). These papers should be from a peer-reviewed journal and should highlight a specific trait (physiological, behavioral, genetic, etc.) of your winning species. An example bracket and one paragraph summary have been posted on Canvas under Files –> Take-home Assignments –> #2019MMM TO RECEIVE CREDIT: Electronically submit (1) a completed bracket, (2) your written summary of your winners, and (3) four PDFs that highlight a trait of each division winner to Canvas by 11:59pm on Friday, March 8th. -Filling out your bracket (10pts): Items to consider Research the species in each bracket, and determine which species would win should those two species actually meet in real life. Write the winner’s name in the blank square immediately to the right of the bracket (winners move on, losers are eliminated). Through these single elimination battles, you should end up with the “Final Roar”, or the final four combatants, who were the last mammals standing in each division. Continue determining the winner until you have a single champion. BE SURE to fill in all possible squares in the bracket! Nota bene (NB): Keep in mind that where the battle takes place can make a huge difference in the outcome. In the first 2 rounds, fighting takes place in the preferred habitat of the higher-ranked combatant. In round 3, the habitat is randomly selected from one of four very different habitat types (TBD). Last year, the habitats were the following: Urban Park, Cloud Forest, Tinajas (small pockets of water in bedrock), and Savanna Grassland. Make sure you are incorporating habitat into your predictions (in round 3, you may choose which habitat fighting takes place in). -Summarizing your winners (12pts): Items to cover Based on your research, write a few sentences explaining which species will win each of the four divisions and why. Reasons for which species wins must be based on solid morphologic or ecologic information that you came across in your research or that we’ve discussed in class (i.e., just saying the elephant will win because it’s bigger is not acceptable). Since there will be four winners, your summary should contain at least four distinct paragraphs with proper grammar, punctuation and spelling (i.e., topic sentences would be greatly appreciated, but run-on sentences are not). -PDFs of peer-reviewed articles (N=4, one article for the winner of each division) included on Canvas (2pts each, 8pts total) As you conduct your research, find peer-reviewed articles that provide specific information about your division winners. Specifically, these papers should highlight a trait of the species that would provide it an advantage over other species and could help explain why the species won so many battles/advanced so far in the competition. The ASU LibGuide website listed above has some GREAT resources for finding peer-reviewed articles about your champions. Be sure you submit FOUR papers, one paper for each division winner.

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