Flockhart et al. 2015. Unravelling the annual cycle in a migratory animal: breeding season habitat loss drives population declines of monarch butterflies

General Ecology Lecture

Assignment 1: Literature summary
Reading peer-reviewed primary literature is a mainstay of research and teaching in any scientific field. You will select 1 of 5 peer-reviewed population ecology papers and write a summary of the paper. Your options (pick 1) are the following:

  1. Flockhart et al. 2015. Unravelling the annual cycle in a migratory animal: breedingseason habitat loss drives population declines of monarch butterflies. Journal of Animal
    Ecology 84: 155-165
  2. Paradis et al. 1998. Patterns of natal and breeding dispersal in birds. Journal of Animal
    Ecology 67: 518-536.
  3. Rosenberg et al. 2019. Decline of the North American avifauna. Science.
    10.1126/science.aaw1313 (2019).
  4. Augspurger, C. 1984. Seedling survival of tropical tree species: interactions of dispersal
    distance, light-gaps and pathogens. Ecology 65:1705-1712.
  5. Zanette et al. 2011. Perceived predation risk reduces the number of offspring songbirds
    produce per year. Science. 334:1398 – 1401.
    The summary should be (also see the rubric for point breakdown):
  6. Clearly state which paper you selected
  7. In your own words. Any plagiarism will result in a 0 on this assignment and academic
    review with potential to fail the course. Your assignment will be uploaded to Bb via Safe
  8. Concise and to the point (no more than ½ – ¾ page).
    a. Make sure to address the following:
    i. Big picture (background)
    ii. Question
    iii. General methodology
    iv. Main finding
    v. Main conclusion
    vi. Any future directions or questions
  9. Please upload to blackboard as either a pdf or word document by the due date
    (Monday, September 30th 11:59pm)
    As some of you have not yet read very many peer-reviewed, primary literature articles – here
    are some hints:
  10. I usually start with the abstract so I get a brief overview of the entire paper.
    General Ecology Lecture
    BIO 3409-01, 3409-02
    Assignment 1: Literature summary
  11. Then, I go through the figures to see what information and main take-home I can gleam
    from them.
  12. Next, I read the introduction as that introduces the background information and what we
    know of that subject and what we don’t know (which leads to the scientific question that
    will be addressed in the paper).
  13. I then usually skim over the results (methods if I want to know any detail on the subject)
  14. And then I dive into the discussion as this brings together the results and the
    interpretation of those results. Also, within the discussion – the authors should lay out
    the implications of the results and any potential drawbacks or weakness regarding the
    work presented in the manuscript.
  15. Then I will go through the methods and results more carefully if there was anything I
    missed in the discussion.
    Most papers will have the structure of 1. Abstract 2. Introduction, 3. Methods, 4. Results, 5.
    Discussion. If the paper is a letter format, then the results and discussion are often combined,
    and the methods may come last.
    Here are some other hints and helpful suggestions as well:
find the cost of your paper

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