Popular in Course
Meghan Cooper Mendes de Oliveira
verified elite notetaker
Popular in Biology
This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cameron Koss I on Friday September 18, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PCB 4044 at University of Florida taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see /class/206951/pcb-4044-university-of-florida in Biology at University of Florida.
Reviews for GENERAL ECOLOGY
Report this Material
What is Karma?
Karma is the currency of StudySoup.
You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!
Date Created: 09/18/15
Note The following set of hints was written by Carmine Lanciani Department of Zoology University of Florida Dr Lanciani has taught PCB 4044 as well as a scienti c writing class You will probably nd these suggestions very useful General Ecology Lab Writing Hints By Carmine Lanciani Use these writing hints and references to help prepare concise and clear lab reports Many of the examples used to illustrate writing problems actually come from papers published in the best ecological journals Use that and which correctly Commonly which is used incorrectly for that That is a defining or restrictive relative pronoun It introduces a restrictive clause Insects that lack wings cannot fly The clause introduced by that restricts the meaning of the antecedent insects Not all insects lack wings and as a result some insects can fly Thus think of quotrestrictivequot as quotessentialquot to your meaning Which is a nonrestrictive relative pronoun It introduces a nonrestrictive clause Insects which have exoskeletons are arthropods The clause introduced by which does not restrict the meaning of the antecedent insects All insects have exoskeletons The clause tells more about insects but doesn39t restrict our consideration of insects to some subgroup Thus think of quotnonrestrictivequot as quotnonessentialquot to your meaning Restrictive clauses are not separated by commas but nonrestrictive clauses are The distinction between thatand which is not trivial Improper use of thatand which is bad primarily because it leads to confusion The green morph which inhabits cornfields is resistant This sentence is unclear Does the sentence state more generally that the green morph is resistant and also happens to live in cornfields Or does the sentence state more specifically that the green morph living in cornfields is resistant These different meanings are conveyed in examples 1 and 2 listed below 1 The green morph which inhabits cornfields is resistant This sentence says that the green morph is resistant and also happens to live in cornfields Thus the nonrestrictive pronoun which is proper 2 The green morph that inhabits cornfields is resistant This sentence says that the green morph living in cornfields is resistant Other green morphs may or may not be resistant Thus the restrictive pronoun that is proper Express action with verbs not nouns Writing becomes clearer and more concise when the crucial action of a thought is expressed in verbs not in nouns Williams 1990 On those plots where removal of a species was performed The critical action is not in the verb was performed but in the noun removal By expressing action in the noun removal the author needs additional words of and was performed to complete the thought The result is wordy and awkward Placing action in nouns is called nominalization by Williams Denominalizing the above example strengthens and shortens it On those plots where I removed a species On those plots where a species was removed Another example shows the same problem Selection leading to niche differentiation would necessitate a reduction Again the critical action is not in the verb would necessitate but in the noun reduction Express the critical action in verb form to improve this example too Selection leading to niche differentiation would reduce Avoid dangling modifiers Introductory modifying phrases or clauses which often include a participle or an infinitive are assumed by the reader to refer to the noun that follows When placed next to the wrong noun these modifiers are called dangling Considering these peculiarities theories of a quotpeninsular effectquot on patterns of diversity have been developed The introductory phrase Considering these peculiarities modifies the noun theories But the noun or pronoun unstated by the writer that should be modified is one we researchers ecologists or some similar choice These not theories are the actors doing the considering Considering these peculiarities ecologists have theorized a quotpeninsula effectquot on patterns of diversity The next example also shows a dangler Using this criterion algal standing crops and Campostoma were significantly complementary The noun or pronoun again unstated by the writer that should be modified is one we etc Using this criterion we found algal standing crops and Campostoma significantly complementary Avoid excessive metadiscourse Metadiscourse according to Williams 1990 is quotthe language we use when in writing about some subject matter we incidentally refer to the act and to the context of writing about itquot Such expressions as it is obvious that it is important to realize and we think it useful to point out are examples of metadiscourse centering on the writer39s thinking and such expressions as notice that consider the situation and to aid one39s understanding are examples of metadiscourse centering on the reader39s act of reading Some metadiscourse is necessary for clarity and flow especially in teaching aids like this one and others produced for this class But metadiscourse should be minimized in scientific writing when it obscures meaning or produces wordy or indirect prose The following examples show unnecessary metadiscourse We consider this an interesting and topographically local effect and do not mention it further However we think that our methodology is adequate for a first study of this type We believe that rigid insistence on the quothypothesis testingquot formalism has the potential to distract sic from understanding in several ways It seems reasonable to suspect on observational grounds alone that Heiaster could exert a significant influence on the distribution and abundance of Perumytius It should be noted that Perumytius also increased subsequent to the removal in the highest level the J cirratus band Avoid redundancy A common cause of wordiness is redundancy The expression separate out in the next example is redundant because out is not necessary for separate to communicate the sense of the sentence The biological factors which may affect the fucoids39 lower limits herbivore pressure and competition with other algae were investigated in experiments designed to separate out the effects of each Some familiar redundancies to avoid are sand dune past history share in common free gift burning embers future plans initial preparation two equal halves true fact sudden crisis original source close proximity and hotwater heater See also double hedges below Avoid double hedges Science writers must be cautious and caution often leads to using conditional terms But one need not be redundant to convey uncertainty One conditional term usually suffices The next example shows a double hedge using two conditionals when one suffices Our results also do not rule out the possibility that the large difference in palatability between juvenile sprouts and large shoots may be partially attributable to the presence of feeding attractants in winterdormant twigs of adult shoots The first conditional is possibility the second may be Remove the double hedge by replacing may be with are or leave in the may be and delete Our results also do not rule out the possibility that Another double hedge is shown below This conclusion is tentative however and does not rule out the possibility that the worm may penetrate the gut on occasion resulting in peritonitis and death Schmidt 1964 Schmidt and Roberts 1977 Note possibility and may in the same clause Be sure antecedents are clear and correct In strict usage an antecedent is quota word phrase or clause referred to by a pronounquot Problems of clarity arise when the antecedent is not easily identified by the reader The next example has an elusive antecedent of the pronoun it On the other hand Perumytilus was incapable of maintaining its extended population in the presence of Heliaster therefore it was unstable in one sense suggesting that a persistent alternative stable point that is a state capable of both persistence through time and selfreplenishment in space is an unlikely possibility for this Chilean marine community Several possible antecedents for it exist Perumytilus its extended population or if you read on further in the sentence even this Chilean marine community Which is it A broader use of antecedent is quota word or group of words replaced and referred to by a substitutequot Is the substitute correct for the antecedent in the next example The distribution of species in peninsular biotas poses a problem to biogeographers because such landforms are intermediate between island and continental areas The antecedent is peninsular biotas and the substitute is landforms Because a landform cannot be a peninsular biota the substitution is wrong Use there is sparingly There is and its relatives are common and probably acceptable in speaking But they are wordy so use them sparingly in writing These examples do not require there is terms There has been much discussion of the importance of competition in the organization of different types of plant communities eg Odum 1969 Grime 1977 There is an impressive body of opinion that such experiments are unnecessary There is evidence that for some species there is an optimal territory size Removing the offending phrase and revising often result in more direct and concise writing The role of competition in the organization of different types of plant communities has been much discussed eg Odum1969 Grime 1977 Such experiments are thought by many to be unnecessary Some species may have an optimal territory size Punctuate a series for maximum clarity ln punctuating a series one traditionally places a comma after each element except the last We saw robins catbirds and mockingbirds on our field trip Recent laxity has led to the practice of omitting the last comma Omitting the comma causes no ambiguity in the above example We saw robins catbirds and mockingbirds on our field trip But it can in others We surveyed the tributaries of the Nashua River Fall Brook and Weke Peke Brook What does this sentence say Does it say that we surveyed the tributaries of each of the following bodies of water Nashua River Fall Brook and Weke Peke Brook Or does it say that we surveyed the tributaries of the Nashua River which are Fall Brook and Weke Peke Brook Use the traditional rule and you will then be able to distinguish between these two meanings We surveyed the tributaries of the Nashua River Fall Brook and Weke Peke Brook We surveyed the tributaries of the Nashua River Fall Brook and Weke Peke Brook Be sure your constructions are parallel Parallels are critical for clear correct writing In a series list comparison or linkage for example one must use units that are equal grammatically Nouns should be placed with nouns verbs with verbs and adjectives with adjectives Even articles and prepositions that organize elements in a series should be kept parallel The examples below violate rules of parallel construction Herbivorous fish are typically larger more mobile and have higher feeding rates than invertebrate grazers The first and third elements in the series include verbs are and have but the second element does not Records of stream stage were kept by noting stream level on staff gauges when these were available observation during floods and by inferring crests of floods from debris lines In the first and third elements the author uses the preposition by and the presentparticiple verb forms noting and inferring But in the second element the author omits the preposition and replaces the present participle with the nominalization observation Pools were selected on the basis of logistical requirements of manipulations including ease of observation of fish in pools barriers to fish emigration feasibility of capturing bass and the need for a straight bilaterally symmetric pool for a splitpool experiment The definite article the is used before only the last element in the series That is the observed pattern may simply result from a correlation between habitat characteristics and isolation near islands being more wooded favoring Blarina while distant islands tend to be more grassy favoring Microtus Violations can be more complex as in this example The verb forms being and tend are not parallel Being is the present participle and tend is the present tense Correct by making the verbs equivalent in form eg are and tend or are and are in place of tend to be This interval is the time lag between the initiation of a major disturbance and when the bed again becomes susceptible to disruption Finally this example sounds awkward because the noun initiation is not parallel with the subordinating conjunction when Minimize the number of words between subject and verb Clear writers know that readers expect the grammatical subject to be followed immediately bythe verb lntervening words cloud writing by interrupting and obscuring the connection between subject and verb Also intervening words are likely to be deemed of lesser importance by the reader no matter what the writer intended Avoid these problems by placing as few words as possible between subject and verb The next example has far too many words between the subordinateclause subject introductory ecology courses and its verb can have Biologists know that introductory ecology courses because they are taught not only in biology departments but also in departments of environmental science and natural resources departments with weak connections to the biological sciences and with modest commitments to biological points of view can have no standard biological science prerequisites This sentence can be made much clearer by simply placing the verb closer to the subject of the clause Biologists know that introductory ecology courses can have no standard biological science prerequisites because such courses are taught not only in biology departments but also in departments of environmental science and natural resources departments with weak connections to the biological sciences and with modest commitments to biological points of view Place old and new information in their best locations in a sentence To this point we have focused on isolated sentences with the aim of improving what Williams 1990 calls quotlocal clarityquot But a series of locally clear sentences may still be difficult to comprehend if each sentence is not linked to its neighbors in a manner that matches reader expectations A key reader expectation is the location of old and new information in a sentence readers expect an orientation at the beginning of a sentence and an emphasis at the end Accordingly the beginning of a sentence has been termed the topic position and the end the stress position Structure your sentences so that linkage and context old already introduced information are provided in the topic position and material to be emphasized new information is provided in the stress position If this process is repeated in consecutive sentences of a paragraph new information placed in the stress position of sentence x can become old information placed in the topic position of sentence x1 In this way you will organize your writing to maximize reader comprehension An example from Booth et al 1995 shows the value of this advice The biosphere could be permanently damaged if rain forests continue to be stripped to serve these shortterm interests National policies that deal with local problems and ignore the global impact will not halt this damage Onlythe efforts ofthe industrialized countries of the world will achieve this goal If rain forests continue to be stripped to serve these shortterm interests the biosphere could be permanently damaged This damage will not be halted by national policies that deal with local problems and ignore global impact That goal will be achieved only by efforts of the industrialized countries of the world Most readers find the second passage easier to read Why In the first passage most sentences begin with unfamiliar information national problems that deal with local problems an effort of the industrialized countries But in the second passage sentences begin with familiar information this damage a nominalization that repeats something from the previous sentence that goal words that link to the previous sentence39s implied goal of halting this damage Thus readers can follow the second version more easily because each sentence begins with a familiar character or ideasomething already mentioned or something they expect The next example from Williams 1990 shows how writing is improved when the stress position is properly handled By moving the unimportant for the most part from the end of the sentence we appropriately stress the important do not make us believers and strengthen the sentence The data that are offered to establish the existence of ESP do not make believers of us for the most part For the most part the data that are offered to establish the existence of ESP do not make us believers The concept of the stress position has a surprising application Remember how emphatically English teachers once taught us not to end sentences with a preposition Well we now have a rational basis for the rule sentences ending with a preposition often sound weak because a preposition one of the lightest parts of speech usually cannot support the weight ofthe stress position Williams 1990 The best words to place at the end of a sentence are the heavy ones ie verbs and nouns Williams 1990 Punctuate compound descriptors correctly Sometimes words modifying a noun are meant to act as a unit To convey the sense that words act together in modifying a noun you should join these words with a hyphen Consider the different meanings communicated by the following very similar sentences We reviewed old field experiments We reviewed oldfield experiments The first sentence says that we reviewed field experiments that were also old The second says that we reviewed experiments done in old fields The hyphenated construction is desirable because it makes such a distinction possible and also because it streamlines writing Unfortunately the rules governing hyphenation of compound descriptors are somewhat subjective Some references state that compound descriptors that are well established are usually not hyphenated eg amino acid sequence stem rust control and chinch bug damage But how much usage qualifies a descriptor as well established Are compound descriptors like home range life history and least squares established enough not to be hyphenated In fact these and many other common compound descriptors are treated differently by different authorities Finally realize that hyphenation is required when the modifying words precede but not when they follow the noun This policy is probably based on the need for a hyphen only when it clarifies a potentially ambiguous word sequence ie when the modifiers precede the noun Thus the following sentence could be misinterpreted without the hyphen We reviewed oldfield experiments But an alternate form with trailing modifiers could not be We reviewed experiments done in old fields Avoid comma splices Independent clauses word groups that can stand alone as sentences must be joined correctly if they are to be joined at all Join independent clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction and but or nor for so and yet or with a semicolon Ecologists continue to generate mathematical models of increasing complexity and the teaching of ecology must reflect this quantitative orientation Ecologists continue to generate mathematical models of increasing complexity the teaching of ecology must reflect this quantitative orientation Independent clauses are often incorrectlyjoined with a comma and a joining word or phrase that is not a coordinating conjunction Ecologists continue to generate mathematical models of increasing complexity therefore the teaching of ecology must reflect this quantitative orientation This mistake is called a comma splice a type of runon sentence The word therefore is a conjunctive adverb not a coordinating conjunction and requires a semicolon not a comma Ecologists continue to generate mathematical models of increasing complexity therefore the teaching of ecology must reflect this quantitative orientation When you use the words also besides consequenty nally furthermore hence however indeed meanwhile moreover nevertheless next now othenvise similary still then therefore and thus to join independent clauses you are using conjunctive adverbs which require semicolons When you use phrases like as a result for example in addition in other words and on the other hand to join independent clauses you are using transitional phrases which also require semicolons The next example shows a comma splice The conjunctive adverb othenvise is incorrectly used as a coordinating conjunction The least square method was used to find the best fit in determining rm otherwise K was estimated as in Gause 1934 This illogical sentence can be made at least grammatically correct by replacing the comma with a semicolon The least square method was used to find the best fit in determining rm otherwise K was estimated as in Gause 1934 A more complete revision replaces the misused conjunctive adverb othenvise with the appropriate coordinating conjunction and Useful references Booth W C G G Colomb and J M Williams The craft of research The University of Chicago Press Chicago Council of Biology Editors CBE Style Manual Committee 1994 Scientific style and format The CBE manual for authors editors and publishers 6th ed Cambridge University Press New York Day R A 1994 How to write and publish a scientific paper 4th ed Oryx Phoenix Gopen G D and J A Swan 1990 The science of scientific writing American Scientist 78 550558 Hacker D 1995 Awriter39s reference 3rd ed St Martin39s New York Strunk W Jr and E B White 1979 The elements of style 3rd ed Macmillan New York Williams J M 1990 Style toward clarity and grace University of Chicago Press Chicago Biogeography and introduced species an example with redear andpumpkinseed sunfish This wnrk is based upnn research cnndu ed hy Casey Huckins Michigan Technical Llnivelsilyj and cnllezguvs Huckhs ci r 1997 inkzgvs zmnng mnrhhnlnuweedihg herinrmance and campelilive ahimy nimhnuscivnms suni39sh Ecnlngym mum Huckins cir cw Osenherg 66 Mmeihach Cnnsequences Minlrndu she es heynndlhe nmiverznge an example whh sunhshes Ecnlngiczl Applicminm 1n 612525 Huckhs cir 66 Mineihach cw Osenherg and s w in eview Energetics eveiwimerMhnamy zndlhe Dislr hi Pumpkimeed Lepomb gibbosusj and Redezr 5quot sh L microlophusj aIsh nns m i A m m i mun h at I Lepomi39s microlophus marks Dr Hmkirsivmedrgmoshmmem ww guesmaimlges Lepomis gibbosus Alternative Hypotheses Lanrentirle Ice Sheet s an of Alternative Hypotheses competition with northern native molluscivores differential overwinter survival ability differential postglacial dispersal Possible experimenm or other tests of the hypotheses Results Redear and pumpkinseed compete for snails Results Redear and pumpkinseed compete for snails BUT What do results of shortterm pond experiment tell us Mchgnncansemhm 1964 a7 r 3 i FlSH FOR i WRFISNlNG Alternative Hypotheses 0 competition with northern native molluscivores differential overwinter smvival ability differential postglacial dispersal REDEAR CPUEf15htrap YEARS S1NCE REDEAR1NTRODUCT1ON REDEAR CPUE OE MOLLUSCWORES 00 0 10 20 30 40 YEARS S1NCE REDEAR1NTRODUCT1ON srANDAwszD cAmH m uwmnwrmmz aPUMPK1NSEEDMmedeav s vPuMPmNsEED Mhautvedeav g m thh redear W1thuut redear 1 a g m n W E n 1 1 2 g E a 2 E El 1 A 1D 4 12 YEARS SWCE YEARS SWCE 1NTRODUCT1ON F1RST SURVEY 200 PUMPK NSEED CPUE of or1g1na1 8 G o 0 JV 0 7310Wer than expected REDEAR ABSENT REDEAR PRESENT F a I REDEAR in E PUMPKlNSEED a an gt7 Z w L a 3 an E 2 4 1 z w 9 E 2n 3 l l a z n m it 5 I F El n in an an 1 n FlNAL SNAlL ElOMASS mgm2 Alternative Hypotheses Effects on Snails Snail biomass reduced 70 in lakes with redear competition with nonhem native molluscivores differential overwinter survival ability di erentialpostglada dispersal Overwinter Mortality overwinter starvation 7 low prewinter energy stores enigh overwinter energy use low tolerance ofreduced oxygen during ice pswcswsmruwsn am I an mew cLAsSmm Alternative Hypotheses compeuum with northern nauve mallusmvares differential averwmter survival abxhty differential pnslrglncinl dispersal
Are you sure you want to buy this material for
You're already Subscribed!
Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'